People from eastern philosophical traditions such as Buddhism have been reaping the benefits of mindfulness practice for thousands of years. Over the last 30 years researchers and professionals in the west have begun to scientifically explore these. The evidence base is large and growing. Here is a brief summary:
Mindfulness has been shown through high quality research including Randomised Controlled Trials (RCT’s) to be clinically effective for chronic pain, hypertension, heart disease, cancer, and gastrointestinal disorders, as well as for psychological problems such as anxiety and panic. Studies have demonstrated that mindfulness meditation can speed up recovery from physical health conditions and improve symptoms in people with fibromyalgia. It has also been shown to produce long lasting positive changes in immune system functioning.
MBCT has been shown to be clinically effective for treating and preventing relapse in depression. Two RCT’s have shown MBCT halves the risk of relapse for people with recurrent depression. The UK National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) has endorsed MBCT as an effective treatment for depression. It has also been shown to be clinically effective in treating fatigue, anxiety and physical functioning in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Research in the New Forest has confirmed that you do not need a diagnosis of depression or another mental health disorder to benefit from MBCT. The staff we worked with showed significant reductions in symptoms of anxiety, depression and burnout; and significant increases in self-compassion and confidence in dealing their emotions and mental health.