Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Mindfulness-based stress reduction for people with chronic diseases

Monika Merkes
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

Australian Institute for Primary Care, Faculty of Health Sciences Building 2, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Vic. 3086, Australia. Email: m.merkes@latrobe.edu.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health 16(3) 200-210 https://doi.org/10.1071/PY09063
Published: 6 September 2010

Abstract

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a structured group program that uses mindfulness meditation to improve well-being and alleviate suffering. This article reviews the impact of MBSR for people with chronic diseases. The review includes original research that was published in English and peer-reviewed and reported outcomes for adults with chronic diseases who had participated in an MBSR program. Fifteen studies were identified. Outcomes related to mental and physical health, well-being, and quality of life. The studies included different research designs, and used self-report and physiological outcome measures. Participants’ clinical diagnoses included fibromyalgia, chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple chemical sensitivity, and cardiovascular diagnoses. All 15 studies found that participation in an MBSR program resulted in improvements. No negative change was reported between baseline and follow up. Outcomes in regard to specific variables were difficult to compare and equivocal. Overall, positive change predominated. Chronic diseases are associated with a range of unwelcome psychological and physical consequences. Participation in an MBSR program is likely to result in coping better with symptoms, improved overall well-being and quality of life, and enhanced health outcomes. As an adjunct to standard care, MBSR has potential for much wider application in Australian primary care settings.

Additional keywords: chronic illness, mind–body approaches, mindfulness meditation.


Acknowledgements

The Australian Institute for Primary Care funded this literature review.


References


Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2008) ‘Indicators for chronic diseases and their determinants 2008.’ (AIHW: Canberra)

Baer RA (2003) Mindfulness training as a clinical intervention: a conceptual and empirical review. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice 10(2), 125–143.
CrossRef |

Bishop SR (2002) What do we really know about mindfulness-based stress reduction? Psychosomatic Medicine 64(1), 71–83.
PubMed |

Bishop SR, Lau M, Shapiro S, Carlson L, Anderson ND , et al . (2004) Mindfulness: a proposed operational definition. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice 11(3), 230–241.
CrossRef |

Bonadonna R (2003) Meditation’s impact on chronic illness. Holistic Nursing Practice 17(6), 309–319.
PubMed |

British Medical Journal (1993) US insurance company covers lifestyle therapy. British Medical Journal 307, 465.
CrossRef |

Carlson LE, Garland SN (2005) Impact of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) on sleep, mood, stress and fatigue symptoms in cancer outpatients. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine 12(4), 278–285.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Davidson RJ, Kabat-Zinn J, Schumacher J, Rosenkranz M, Muller D , et al . (2003) Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine 65, 564–570.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Department of Human Services (2008) ‘Victorian Population Health Survey 2007. Selected findings.’ (Victorian Government Department of Human Services: Melbourne)

Dobkin PL (2008) Mindfulness-based stress reduction: what processes are at work? Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 14(1), 8–16.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Gardner-Nix J, Backman S, Barbati J, Grummitt J (2008) Evaluating distance education of a mindfulness-based meditation programme for chronic pain management. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare 14(2), 88–92.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Greeson JM (2009) Mindfulness research update: 2008. Complementary Health Practice Review 14(1), 10–18.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Grossman P, Niemann L, Schmidt S, Walach H (2004) Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: a meta-analysis. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 57(1), 35–43.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Grossman P, Tiefenthaler-Gilmer U, Raysz A, Kesper U (2007) Mindfulness training as an intervention for fibromyalgia: evidence of postintervention and 3-year follow-up benefits in well-being. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics 76(4), 226–233.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Hassed C (2007) ‘Healer know thyself’: mindfulness in the training of health professionals. Psychotherapy in Australia 13(4), 58–64.

Irving JA, Dobkin PL, Park J (2009) Cultivating mindfulness in health care professionals: a review of empirical studies of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 15(2), 61–66.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Kabat-Zinn J (2003) Mindfulness-based interventions in context: past, present, and future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice 10(2), 144–156.
CrossRef |

Kabat-Zinn J, Massion AO, Kristeller J, Peterson LG, Fletcher KE , et al . (1992) Effectiveness of a meditation-based stress reduction program in the treatment of anxiety disorders. The American Journal of Psychiatry 149(7), 936–943.
PubMed | |  CAS |

Kostanski M, Hassed C (2008) Mindfulness as a concept and a process. Australian Psychologist 43(1), 15–21.
CrossRef |

Kostanski M, Hassed C, Gullone E, Ciechomski L, Chambers R, Allen N (2006) Mindfulness and mindfulness-based psychotherapy. Psychotherapy in Australia 12(4), 10–18.

Lau MA, Bishop SR, Segal ZV, Buis T, Anderson ND , et al . (2006) The toronto mindfulness scale: development and validation. Journal of Clinical Psychology 62(12), 1445–1467.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Lazar SW, Bush G, Gollub RL, Fricchione GL, Khalsa G, Benson H (2000) Functional brain mapping of the relaxation response and meditation. Neuroreport 11(7), 1581–1585.
CrossRef | PubMed | CAS |

Lush E, Salmon P, Floyd A, Studts JL, Weissbecker I, Sephton SE (2009) Mindfulness meditation for symptom reduction in fibromyalgia: psychophysiological correlates. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings 16(2), 200–207.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Lutz A, Brefczynski-Lewis J, Johnstone T, Davidson RJ (2008a) Regulation of the neural circuitry of emotion by compassion meditation: effects of meditative expertise. PLoS One 3(3), e1897.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Lutz A, Slagter HA, Dunne JD, Davidson RJ (2008b) Attention regulation and monitoring in meditation. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 12(4), 163–169.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Matchim Y, Armer JM (2007) Measuring the psychological impact of mindfulness meditation on health among patients with cancer: a literature review. Oncology Nursing Forum 34(5), 1059–1066.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Matousek RH, Dobkin PL, Pruessner J (2010) Cortisol as a marker for improvement in mindfulness-based stress reduction. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 16, 13–19.
CrossRef | PubMed |

McCracken LM, Vowles KE (2007) Psychological flexibility and traditional pain management strategies in relation to patient functioning with chronic pain: an examination of a revised instrument. Journal of Pain 8(9), 700–707.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Melbourne Academic Mindfulness Interest Group (2006) Mindfulness-based psychotherapies: a review of conceptual foundations, empirical evidence and practical considerations. The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry 40(4), 285–294.
PubMed |

Morone NE, Greco CM, Weiner DK (2008a) Mindfulness meditation for the treatment of chronic low back pain in older adults: a randomized controlled pilot study. Pain 134(3), 310–319.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Morone NE, Lynch CS, Greco CM, Tindle HA, Weiner DK (2008b) “I felt like a new person.” The effects of mindfulness meditation on older adults with chronic pain: qualitative narrative analysis of diary entries. Journal of Pain 9, 841–848.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Orme-Johnson DW, Herron RE (1997) An innovative approach to reducing medical care utilization and expenditures. The American Journal of Managed Care 3(1), 135–144.
PubMed | |  CAS |

Ornish D, Brown SE, Scherwitz LW, Billings JH, Armstrong WT , et al . (1990) Can lifestyle changes reverse coronary heart disease? Lancet 336(8708), 129–133.
CrossRef | PubMed | CAS |

Ornish D, Scherwitz LW, Billings JH, Gould KL, Merritt TA , et al . (1998) Intensive lifestyle changes for reversal of coronary heart disease. Journal of the American Medical Association 280(23), 2001–2007.
CrossRef | PubMed | CAS |

Paez K, Zhao L, Hwang W (2009) Rising out-of-pocket spending for chronic conditions: a ten-year trend. Health Affairs 28(1), 15–25.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Plews-Ogan M, Owens JE, Goodman M, Wolfe P, Schorling J (2005) A pilot study evaluating mindfulness-based stress reduction and massage for the management of chronic pain. Journal of General Internal Medicine 20(12), 1136–1138.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Pradhan EK, Baumgarten M, Langenberg P, Handwerger B, Kaplan Gilpin A , et al . (2007) Effect of mindfulness-based stress reduction in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Arthritis Care and Research 57(7), 1134–1142.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Praissman S (2008) Mindfulness-based stress reduction: a literature review and clinician’s guide. Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners 20(4), 212–216.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Rejeski J (2008) Mindfulness: reconnecting the body and mind in geriatric medicine and gerontology. The Gerontologist 48(2), 135–141.
PubMed |

Rosenzweig S, Reibel DK, Greeson JM, Edman JS, Jasser SA , et al . (2007) Mindfulness-based stress reduction is associated with improved glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a pilot study. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 13(5), 36–38.
PubMed |

Rosenzweig S, Greeson JM, Reibel DK, Green JS, Jasser SA, Beasley D (2010) Mindfulness-based stress reduction for chronic pain conditions: variation in treatment outcomes and role of home meditation practice. Journal of Psychosomatic Research 68, 29–36.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Roth B, Stanley T-W (2002) Mindfulness-based stress reduction and healthcare utilization in the inner city: preliminary findings. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine 8, 64–66.
PubMed |

Sagula DA (1999) Varying treatment duration in a mindfulness meditation stress reduction program for chronic pain patients. PhD dissertation, Michigan State University.

Sagula DA, Rice KG (2004) The effectiveness of mindfulness training on the grieving process and emotional well-being of chronic pain patients. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings 11(4), 333–342.
CrossRef |

Sampalli T, Berlasso E, Fox R, Petter M (2009) A controlled study of the effect of a mindfulness-based stress reduction technique in women with multiple chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia. Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare 2, 53–59.

Sephton SE, Salmon P, Weissbecker I, Ulmer C, Floyd A , et al . (2007) Mindfulness meditation alleviates depressive symptoms in women with fibromyalgia: results of a randomized clinical trial. Arthritis Care and Research 57(1), 77–85.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Shigaki CL, Glass B, Schopp LH (2006) Mindfulness-based stress reduction in medical settings. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings 13(3), 209–216.
CrossRef |

Smith JE, Richardson J, Hoffman C, Pilkington K (2005) Mindfulness-based stress reduction as supportive therapy in cancer care: systematic review. Journal of Advanced Nursing 52(3), 315–327.
CrossRef | PubMed |

Surawy C, Roberts J, Silver A (2005) The effects of mindfulness training on mood and measures of fatigue, activity, and quality of life in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome on a hospital waiting list: a series of explorative studies. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy 33, 103–109.
CrossRef |

Tacon AM, McComb J, Caldera Y, Randolph P (2003) Mindfulness meditation, anxiety reduction, and heart disease: a pilot study. Family & Community Health 26(1), 25.
PubMed |

Taylor M , Horey D , Swerissen H (2008) Early intervention in chronic disease in community health services initiative. Statewide evaluation. Final report. Executive summary. Australian Institute for Primary Care, La Trobe University, Melbourne.

Turk DC, Swanson KS, Tunks ER (2008) Psychological approaches in the treatment of chronic pain patients – when pills, scalpels, and needles are not enough. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry 53(4), 213–223.








Export Citation Cited By (31)

View Altmetrics