Mindfulness-based stress reduction

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Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a cognitive and behavioral therapy program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn that uses a combination of meditation, "body scanning," and Yoga to help people become more mindful, reduce stress and to be more at ease, as well as promoting greater health.[1][2][3][4] Controlled clinical research suggests it may have some beneficial effects. While MBSR has its roots in spiritual teachings, the program itself is secular.[5]


MBSR has been described as "a group program that focuses upon the progressive acquisition of mindful awareness, of mindfulness".[6] The MBSR program is an eight-week workshop taught by certified trainers that entails weekly group meetings, homework, and instruction in mindfulness meditation and simple yoga postures.[4] As of early 2014, there were nearly 1,000 certified MBSR instructors in 30 countries.[4]

According to Kabat-Zinn, the basis of MBSR is mindfulness, which he defined as "moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness."[7]

Extent of practice[edit]

According to a 2014 article in Time magazine, mindfulness meditation has received wide popular acceptance. The curriculum started by Kabat-Zinn at University of Massachusetts Medical Center has produced nearly 1,000 certified MBSR instructors who are in nearly every state in the US and more than 30 countries. Corporations such as General Mills have made it available to their employees or set aside rooms for meditation. Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan published a book in 2012 titled A Mindful Nation and he has helped organize regular group meditation periods on Capitol Hill.[4][8]

Evaluation of effectiveness[edit]

Mindfulness meditation has been the subject of increasing research interest: 52 papers were published in 2003, rising to 477 by 2012.[4] Nearly 100 randomized controlled trials were published between 2005 and early 2014.[9]

Some research has suggested that therapy incorporating mindfulness meditation might help people with anxiety, depression, and stress; however, the poor quality of the research casts doubt on these claims.[10][11]

Mindfulness meditation is effective in reducing negative personality traits and improving attention and mindfulness.[12]

Mindfulness meditation does not help treat substance abuse disorders.[13]

MSBR might be beneficial for people with fibromyalgia: there is no evidence of long-term benefit but low-quality evidence of a small short-term benefit.[14]

MBSR can have a small beneficial effect helping with the depression and psychological distress associated with chronic illness.[15]


  1. ^ Ospina MB, Bond K, Karkhaneh M, et al. (June 2007). "Meditation practices for health: state of the research". Evid Rep Technol Assess (Full Rep) (155): 35–37. PMID 17764203. 
  2. ^ "What is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction?". Mindful Living Programs. Retrieved April 15, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Meditation". Cancer Research UK. Retrieved April 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Pickert, Kate (February 3, 2014). "The Art of Being Mindful: Finding Peace in a Stressed-Out, Digitally Dependent Culture May Be Just a Matter of Thinking Differently". Time. 
  5. ^ Greeson, Jeffrey M.; Webber, Daniel M.; Smoski, Moria J.; Brantley, Jeffrey G.; Ekblad, Andrew G.; Suarez, Edward C.; Wolever, Ruth Quillian (2011). "Changes in spirituality partly explain health-related quality of life outcomes after Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction". Journal of Behavioral Medicine 34 (6): 508–18. doi:10.1007/s10865-011-9332-x. PMC 3151546. PMID 21360283. 
  6. ^ Grossman, P; Niemann, L; Schmidt, S; Walach, H (2010). "Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: A meta-analysis". Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies 8 (4): 500. doi:10.1111/j.2042-7166.2003.tb04008.x. 
  7. ^ Mindfulness Stress Reduction And Healing on YouTube
  8. ^ Rojas, Warren (January 8, 2014). "A Meditation on the Quiet Time Caucus". Roll Call. Retrieved April 4. 
  9. ^ Hurley, Dan (January 14, 2014). "Breathing In vs. Spacing Out". New York Times Magazine. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  10. ^ Khoury, Bassam; Lecomte, Tania; Fortin, Guillaume; Masse, Marjolaine; Therien, Phillip; Bouchard, Vanessa; Chapleau, Marie-Andrée; Paquin, Karine; Hofmann, Stefan G. (2013). "Mindfulness-based therapy: A comprehensive meta-analysis". Clinical Psychology Review 33 (6): 763–71. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2013.05.005. PMID 23796855. 
  11. ^ "Mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials", Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects (Centre for Reviews and Dissemination), 15 May 2013 
  12. ^ Sedlmeier, Peter; Eberth, Juliane; Schwarz, Marcus; Zimmermann, Doreen; Haarig, Frederik; Jaeger, Sonia; Kunze, Sonja (May 2012). "The Psychological Effects of Meditation: A Meta-Analysis". Psychological Bulletin. doi:10.1037/a0028168. 
  13. ^ Zgierska A, Rabago D, Chawla N, Kushner K, Koehler R, Marlatt A (2009). "Mindfulness meditation for substance use disorders: a systematic review". Subst Abus (Systematic review) 30 (4): 266–94. doi:10.1080/08897070903250019. PMC 2800788. PMID 19904664. 
  14. ^ Lauche R, Cramer H, Dobos G, Langhorst J, Schmidt S (December 2013). "A systematic review and meta-analysis of mindfulness-based stress reduction for the fibromyalgia syndrome". J Psychosom Res (Systematic review) 75 (6): 500–10. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2013.10.010. PMID 24290038. 
  15. ^ Bohlmeijer, Ernst; Prenger, Rilana; Taal, Erik; Cuijpers, Pim (2010). "The effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction therapy on mental health of adults with a chronic medical disease: A meta-analysis". Journal of Psychosomatic Research 68 (6): 539–44. doi:10.1016/j.jpsychores.2009.10.005. PMID 20488270. 

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