mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation improved quality of life in adolescents with cancer

wildmind meditation newsChristine A. Zawistowski, MD, HemOnc Today: A diagnosis of cancer is accompanied by a high degree of emotional stress.

Consequently, psychological interventions have become a vital and integral component of cancer care.

One example is mindfulness meditation, a form of meditation derived from the Buddhist practice of insight meditation. It is designed to develop the skill of paying attention to both inner and outer experiences with acceptance, patience and compassion. It focuses on experiencing life in a nonjudgmental way, in the moment.

The practice strives to help patients develop stability, inner calmness and non-reactivity of the mind. In essence, it tries to train …

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Breathe away pain

wildmind meditation newsFerris Jabr, Psychology Today: While resisting pain only makes suffering worse, mindfulness meditation can help chronic pain sufferers.

Pain is necessary. It alerts us to threats, teaches us to avoid future risks, and makes sure we don’t forget to help ourselves heal. Our bodies have evolved instinctive reactions to pain and injury—accidentally brush your hand against a boiling kettle and your arm will retract reflexively before you even realize why. Our minds, too, respond to pain in a characteristic manner: ever notice how even a minor wound can dominate your thoughts?
But what if you could manipulate your natural response to pain in …

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Meditation induces gene expression changes

Jill Sakai, Medical Xpress: With evidence growing that meditation can have beneficial health effects, scientists have sought to understand how these practices physically affect the body.

A new study by researchers in Wisconsin, Spain, and France reports the first evidence of specific molecular changes in the body following a period of mindfulness meditation.

The study investigated the effects of a day of intensive mindfulness practice in a group of experienced meditators, compared to a group of untrained control subjects who engaged in quiet non-meditative activities. After eight hours of mindfulness practice, the meditators showed a range of genetic and molecular differences, including altered levels…

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Mindfulness meditation can ease stress

Sara Rae Lancaster, Kenosha News: Donna Mosca had practiced yoga for several years and taught it for five. But it wasn’t until she took a mindfulness-based stress reduction course that she realized how much deeper her own yoga practice and teaching could become.

“We’re constantly pulled away by the stuff going on in our lives,” said Mosca, owner and teacher at Peace Tree Yoga in Burlington. “Adding in elements of mindfulness meditation made me look more closely at my choices, from the books I read and movies I watched to the people surrounding me and the foods I ate.”

Like yoga, mindfulness meditation…

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Expert introduces mindfulness meditation to Montgomery Co. students, parents

Rachel Nania, WTOP, Washington: Tara Brach has been teaching meditation for more than 30 years, and on Oct. 7 she will bring her expertise and insight on the practice to students, parents and teachers in Montgomery County, Md.

“The benefit of mindfulness is so clear that it enables people to reduce stress and make decisions from a much more rational mindset,” says Brach, who is also an author and holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

Brach defines mindfulness meditation as “the capacity to notice what is happening in the present moment without judgment,” and she says the practice is proven to increase concentration and reduce…

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Mindfulness meditation can help smokers kick the butt

ANI News: Washington, Aug 6 (ANI): Researchers have found that smokers trained with a form of mindfulness meditation known as Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT) curtailed their smoking by 60 percent.

However, subjects in a control group that received a relaxation regimen showed no reduction.

Studies of smoking usually recruit those desiring to quit or reduce their smoking. Researchers approached this study differently.

They sought volunteers interested in reducing stress and improving their performance.

In actuality, the experiment was designed to explore how IBMT-previously shown to improve the self-control pathway related to addiction-would impact smoking behavior.

Among the volunteers were 27 smokers, mean age 21…

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Mindfulness meditation may relieve chronic inflammation

eople suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and asthma — in which psychological stress plays a major role — may benefit from mindfulness meditation techniques, according to a study by University of Wisconsin-Madison neuroscientists with the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction, originally designed for patients with chronic pain, consists of continuously focusing attention on the breath, bodily sensations and mental content while seated, walking or practicing yoga.

While interest in meditation as a means of reducing stress has grown over the years, there has been little evidence to support benefits specific to mindfulness meditation practice. This was the first study designed to control for other therapeutic mechanisms, such as supportive social interaction, expert instruction, or learning new skills.

A class in stress reduction can be beneficial in many ways, some of which have little to do with mindfulness, according to Melissa Rosenkranz, assistant scientist at the center and lead author on the paper, which was published recently in the journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity. For example, learning to manage stress by engaging in regular physical activity may be therapeutic.

“We wanted to develop an intervention that was meant to produce positive change and compare the mindfulness approach to an intervention that was structurally equivalent,” Rosenkranz says.

The study compared two methods of reducing stress: a mindfulness meditation-based approach, and a program designed to enhance health in ways unrelated to mindfulness.

The comparison group participated in the Health Enhancement Program, which consisted of nutritional education; physical activity, such as walking; balance, agility and core strengthening; and music therapy. The content of the program was meant to match aspects of the mindfulness instruction in some way. For example, physical exercise was meant to match walking meditation, without the mindfulness component. Both groups had the same amount of training, the same level of expertise in the instructors, and the same amount of home practice required by participants.

“In this setting, we could see if there were changes that we could detect that were specific to mindfulness,” Rosenkranz explains.

Using a tool called the Trier Social Stress Test to induce psychological stress, and a capsaicin cream to produce inflammation on the skin, immune and endocrine measures were collected before and after training in the two methods. While both techniques were proven effective in reducing stress, the mindfulness-based stress reduction approach was more effective at reducing stress-induced inflammation.

The results show that behavioral interventions designed to reduce emotional reactivity are beneficial to people suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions.

The study also suggests that mindfulness techniques may be more effective in relieving inflammatory symptoms than other activities that promote well-being.

Rosenkranz emphasizes that the mindfulness-based approach is not a magic bullet.

“This is not a cure-all, but our study does show that there are specific ways that mindfulness can be beneficial, and that there are specific people who may be more likely to benefit from this approach than other interventions.”

Significant portions of the population do not benefit from available pharmaceutical treatment options, for example. Some of these patients suffer from negative side effects of the drugs, or simply do not respond to the standard-of-care for treatment of the disorder.

“The mindfulness-based approach to stress reduction may offer a lower-cost alternative or complement to standard treatment, and it can be practiced easily by patients in their own homes, whenever they need,” Rosenkranz says.

Scientists at the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds conduct rigorous research on the physiological effects of meditation on the brain, and the power of the brain to influence human health. This study adds to the growing body of knowledge concerning the mechanisms of mindfulness and how it affects the body.

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