In 1979, a young doctor by the name of Jon Kabat-Zinn proposed a new alternative program at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Kabat-Zinn called it the Stress Reduction Clinic in opposition to using the word “meditation” for fear of not being taken seriously enough. The program gained popularity and soon expanded, ending up being called The Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare and Society.
By fusing mindfulness, meditation, a mixture of martial arts and yoga, MBSR teaches you to work through your own demons such as stress, pain, illness, or emotional challenges that can plague your life, MBSR uses spirituality to create awareness. Patients going through the program are able to take hold of their own life using affirmations to ensure a positive outlook. With tens of thousands of patients having graduated from the MBSR program, there are now hundreds of hospitals across the United States that have enacted similar programs.
MBSR has been used to treat minor pains and chronic illnesses and new research is being done all the time. One study in particular set to end this year is sponsored by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and is being conducted at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California San Francisco. Professor and co-director Susan Folkman and her team are conducting a threefold rigorous study in order to show the effects of MBSR in patients with HIV diagnosed in an early stage. Hoping to slow the progression of HIV when patients need to start the antiretroviral treatment (ART)—the process of helping to stop or slow the disease—by using MBSR to decrease T-cells is their first goal. Secondly, the team of scientists will use MBSR to combat stress and biological stress arousal that could be affecting the immune functions. The third project is to test the immunity pathways and functions which are affected by MBSR and stress against HIV cell replication.
It seems that Dr. Kabat-Zinn was onto something in the 1970s when he came up with the idea for Mindful Based Stress Reduction and the trend has stuck. More than just meditation and yoga, MBSR has been shown to help many patients struggling to cope with outside forces because he or she is not at peace with what is inside. Who knows, the foundations of MBSR and the act of taking a look inside of you may just be the answer to hundreds of dollars worth of therapy sessions, acupuncture treatments, or the overused rubber stress ball.
See www.LearnMindfulness.co.uk for distance learning courses, or courses in London, UK