This weeks question comes from Calvin D, from Newport News VA. What is MBSR? Can it help lower stress and blood pressure?

Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn developed the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Since its inception, MBSR has evolved into a common form of complementary medicine addressing a variety of health problems.

The National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine has provided a number of grants to research the efficacy of the MBSR program in promoting healing. Completed studies have found that pain-related drug utilization was decreased, and activity levels and feelings of self esteem increased, for a majority of participants.

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Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction brings together mindfulness meditation and yoga. Although MBSR is a training with potential benefits for all types of participants, historically, students have suffered from a wide range of chronic disorders and diseases. MBSR is an 8-week intensive training in mindfulness meditation, based on ancient healing practices, which meets on a weekly basis.

Mindfulness practice is ideal for cultivating greater awareness of the unity of mind and body, as well as of the ways the unconscious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can undermine emotional, physical, and spiritual health. The mind is known to be a factor in stress and stress-related disorders, and meditation has been shown to positively effect a range of autonomic physiological processes, such as lowering blood pressure and reducing overall arousal and emotional reactivity. In addition to mindfulness practices, MBSR uses yoga to help reverse the prevalence of disuse atrophy from our culture’s largely sedentary lifestyle, especially for those with pain and chronic illnesses.

Most of us do not have a center that we can go to, to practice MBSR with a certified instructor. But have no fear, I did the course on-line for free. Here is the link for MBSR training if you are interested.

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