Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program, developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, introduced meditation into mainstream medicine in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  MBSR is based on a form of meditation known as mindfulness. Mindfulness is a basic human quality, a way of learning to pay wise attention to whatever is happening in your life that allows you a greater sense of connection to your life inwardly and outwardly. Mindfulness is also a practice, a systematic method aimed at cultivating clarity, insight, and understanding. In the context of your health, mindfulness is a way for you to experientially learn to take better care of yourself by exploring and understanding the interplay of mind and body and mobilizing your own inner resources for coping, growing, and healing.

Over three decades of scientific research at UMass and at medical centers all over the world indicate that a majority of the people who complete this program report a greater ability to cope more effectively with short and long term stressful situations; an increased ability to relax; lasting decreases in physical and psychological symptoms; reduction in pain levels and enhanced ability to cope with chronic pain; and, most importantly, a greater energy and enthusiasm for life..

 Since its inception, more than 20,000 people have completed this well-respected program and, through it, have learned how to use their innate resources and abilities to respond more effectively to the challenges and opportunities of everyday life.

The MBSR Program has benefited people reporting a variety of conditions and concerns:

  • Stress—including work, school, family, financial, illness, aging, grief, uncertainty about the future, and feeling "out of control."
  • Medical conditions—including chronic illness or pain, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, cancer, heart disease, asthma, GI distress, skin disorders, and many other conditions.
  • Psychological distress—including anxiety, panic, depression, fatigue, and sleep disturbances.
  • Prevention and Wellness—including health enhancement and wellness focused on prevention and learning the "how" of taking good care of yourself and feeling a greater sense of balance.

 Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is highly respected within the medical community. It is not offered as an alternative to traditional medical and psychological treatments but as a complement to these approaches.  Experience over more than three decades suggests that doing what you can for yourself, coupled with what your physician can do for you, can be far more effective than either approach used on its own.

The program consists of eight weekly two-and-a-half-hour  classes and a one-day retreat (on a weekend) between sessions six and seven. Highly participatory, supportive, and structured, this program provides:

  • guided instruction in mindfulness meditation practices
  • gentle stretching and mindful movement
  • group dialogue and mindful communication exercises to enhance awareness in everyday life and improve ability to handle stressful situations and conversations with greater ease
  • individually tailored instruction
  • daily home assignments
  • home practice materials including guided mindfulness practice CDs and a workbook

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