06 Dec Mindfulness Meditation Hits The Medical Community (VIDEO)
According to a report in today’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that training in mindfulness meditation and communication alleviated psychological distress and burnout experienced by physicians.
The training also expanded a physician’s capacity to relate to patients and enhance patient-centered care, according to the researchers, who were led by Michael S. Krasner, M.D., associate professor of Clinical Medicine.
Dr. Krasner expressed:
“Patients all too often complained of a lack of “presence” from their physicians and physicians complained of not being able to experience the full experience of the clinical encounter due to the stressful reality of their medical practices. “
Edward A. Stehlik, M.D., governor of the Upstate New York branch of the American College of Physicians and an internist who practices near Buffalo, said the training was “the most useful thing I’ve done since my medical training to help me in my practice of medicine.” He also mentioned that his patients said he listened more and that they felt they could explain things more easily.
After eight intensive weekly sessions and 10 monthly sessions of training, 70 physicians in Rochester, NY:
“…had an improved sense of well-being and a significant decrease in burnout and mood disturbance. They also experienced positive changes in empathy, psychosocial orientation to clinical care, relieved their sense of isolation and gained a renewed sense of meaning in their work.
Mindfulness entered our mainstream modern world through the efforts of Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., professor of medicine emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
In 1979 he developed the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. The program is now offered in over 200 medical centers, hospitals, and clinics around the world.
His research focused on mind/body interactions for healing and on the clinical applications and cost-effectiveness of mindfulness meditation training for people with chronic pain and stress-related disorders, including a work-site study of the effects of MBSR on the brain and how it processes emotions, particularly under stress, and on the immune system.
Mindfulness, Buddha and Google
Mindfulness though, has been around for over 2500 years. Buddha introduced this practice in the seventh part of The Holy Eightfold Path to wisdom that leads a man to the end of his suffering.
Buddha prescribed this practice only as a guideline to more skillful action and personal responsibility and not a rigid rule book of right and wrong.
Buddha believed that when the mind is calm; insight or what he referred to as Vipassana can arise and help a person see clearly. (For Mindfulness Meditation Centers in NYC, see below)
Mindfulness is not like other meditations that prescribe the release of thoughts and emptying of the mind. Mindfulness is really very simply bringing one’s awareness into the present moment and experiencing what is happening without needing to change anything, justify any actions or criticize.
With continued practice, habitual reactive patterns are seen for what they are and one realizes that it was one’s attachment to the events that causes suffering.
In time, one is able to observe both one’s inner (thoughts) and the outer (actions) events of one’s life without judgment. As the practice progresses one becomes capable of experiencing the ebb and flow of events with all of one’s presence and with a more skillful, fulfilling and meaningful engagement with all one’s experience.
View the Google Tech talk video above that discuss how different forms of meditation practices are being studied using neuroscientific technologies and are being integrated into clinical practice to address symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress. The speaker is Philippe Goldin who is a research scientist and heads the Clinically Applied Affective Neuroscience group in the Department of Psychology at Stanford University.
This 8-session MBSR course is a self-directed way to create greater awareness and control in your life. Awareness permits choice in how to respond and influence circumstances, as opposed to being carried away by reacting to currents of stress. This program is a modified version of the program developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center-Stress Reduction Clinic.
New York City Mindfulness Meditation Centers:
New York Insight is an urban center for the practice of mindful awareness, called Insight or Vipassana meditation. NYI programs include talks, weekly sittings and courses as well as daylong and weekend retreats and workshops for the integration of meditation teachings into daily life.
Urban Mindfulness?, a website devoted to the practice of meditation and mindfulness for those of us who live in urban areas, particularly New York City. New York City Meditation Calendar
The Downtown Meditation Community is comprised of individuals who come together to practice and study the teachings of the Buddha. The programs, held for the most part in the downtown area of Manhattan, are led by Peter Doobinin and other teachers. These classes, courses, and retreats offer an opportunity to cultivate the practice of insight meditation and develop the skillful qualities that enable us to live in a more joyful and compassionate manner.
Their aspiration is to bring mindfulness, concentration, and insight to daily living. During their sessions, they apply the practice of conscious breathing to sitting and walking, as well as communicating with compassionate listening and loving speech.