Specific types of “mindfulness practices” including Zen meditation have research-proven benefits for patients with certain physical and mental health problems, according to a report in the July Journal of Psychiatric Practice. The journal is published by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, a part of Wolters Kluwer Health.
“An extensive review of therapies that include meditation as a key component—referred to as mindfulness-based practices—shows convincing evidence that such interventions are effective in the treatment of psychiatric symptoms and pain, when used in combination with more conventional therapies,” according to Dr William R. Marchand of the George E. Wahlen Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.
Mindfulness Techniques Show Health Benefits
Dr Marchand reviewed published studies evaluating the health benefits of mindfulness-based practices. Mindfulness has been described as “the practice of learning to focus attention on moment-by-moment experience with an attitude of curiosity, openness, and acceptance.” Put another way, “Practicing mindfulness is simply experiencing the present moment, without trying to change anything.”
Dr Marchand found evidence that MBSR and MBCT have “broad-spectrum” effects against depression and anxiety and can also decrease general psychological distress. Based on the evidence, MBCT can be “strongly recommended” as an addition to conventional treatments (adjunctive treatment) for unipolar depression. Both MBSR and MBCT were effective adjunctive treatments for anxiety.