MBSR is proven to reduce stress and pain in eight weeks
Decades of science, thousands of participant surveys, and direct observation in stress reduction clinics worldwide show reductions in medical symptoms and psychological distress, and significant improvements in overall health and well-being after completion of a single 8-week MBSR program. Bibliography
Center for Mindfulness post-program results
The following outcomes reflect medical checklist surveys of over 10,000 patients at the Stress Reduction Clinic founded by Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachussets Medical Center (now known as the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society, or CFM). These outcomes are confirmed by StressCare surveys and continuing observation. More than 2000 people have completed the StressCare program since 1996.
Published CFM reports show dramatic results:
- An average 34.5% reduction in medical symptoms
- 39.7% reduction in psychological distress – including sharp reductions in anxiety, depression, and hostility
- Two thirds of chronic pain patients cite “moderate to great improvement”, averaging 50% reductions in symptoms on a pain rating index
- 50% decrease in anxiety and 40% decrease in depression
- 44% of pain patients reduced their drug dosages
- Heart patients reported 45% reduction in medical symptoms and 55% reduction in psychological distress
- Follow-up studies conducted at the CFM show that improvements were sustained four years later for a majority of participants
More MBSR results
MBSR research is widely established and growing. MBSR and mindfulness-related research centers exist in major universities throughout the US and abroad. These include the CFM, the Oxford (UK) Mindfulness Center, the University of California San Diego Center for Mindfulness, San Francisco Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center (MARC), and many others. [Get a list of research centers here.]
The following research outcomes are specific to MBSR participants: [link to CFM MBSR research summary pdf].
- Nearly four-fold increase in the healing rate of psoriasis in patients trained in MBSR
- 40% reduced risk of recurrence or death in patients with coronary artery disease
- Greater blood pressure reductions in MBSR participants compared to the effects of medication, exercise and diet changes
- 65% decreased mood disturbance and intestinal disturbance in cancer patients
- Reduced pain and its limiting effects on patients’ everyday life four years after MBSR course completion compared to no change in patients attending traditional pain clinics
- Improvements in quality of life and physical condition in fibromyalgia patients
- Lowered glucose levels in poorly controlled Type I Diabetes patients
- Improvements in patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Decreased headache activity
- Reduction in frequency of asthma attacks
- Improvement in MS patients over a broad range of symptoms
- Significantly reduced recurrence of major depressive episodes in patients who have been treated for depression
- Overall improvements in health-related quality of life, including functional status, reduced physical symptoms and reduced psychological distress
Post-program behavioral results
The following research outcomes are specific to MBSR participants:
- Healthier life style behaviors and improved coping skills [link]
- Reduced emotional reactivity and enhanced emotion regulation [link]
- Overall more positive mood “set point” [link]
- Improved eating behavior [link]
- Improved sleep and sleep behaviors [link]
- Improved smoking abstinence [link]
- Lowered perceived stress and greater self-compassion in heath care providers [link]
Cutting edge post-program results
Recent research shows healing of the body’s genes, chromosomes and cells, as well as significant positive changes in functioning of the brain and nervous system. For example:
- Completion of a single 8-week MBSR program results in DNA repair and immune system support that underlies overall bodily healing. [link]
- MBSR training results in significant brain changes linked to mental clarity, decision making, and integrated brain function. [link]
Beyond results and studies
Modern medicine affirms that mind and body are completely integrated and interconnected. Good physical health depends on mental balance, and good mental health depends on balanced functioning and care of the body. MBSR gives participants a method for living in balance and returning to balance more quickly when it has been lost.
The method is based on deep awareness of and insight into present-moment experiencing that includes participatory awareness of the body, emotions and mind. MBSR as participatory medicine has been proven to promote healing at the deepest level of our cells and bodily systems, up to our perceptions and behaviors in the world. The function of mindfulness is to integrate body, mind and behavior — making all more efficient, resilient, and healthy.
The 8-Week Course is an intensive training in non-judging, present-moment-oriented attention. It is based on the understanding that we have deep inner resources for healing that can be accessed and nurtured in the service of living a more optimal life on every level.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., is a pioneer in this field of participatory medicine. Our work at StressCare sustains and shares this work in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The challenge is in how we are to live. Given the many sources of stress [in the world], and our own fears and pain – how will we conduct ourselves today? Can we live in harmony with our own minds and bodies right now?”
—Jon Kabat Zinn, Full Catastrophe Living.