Studies demonstrate that mindfulness meditation is taking a place on the nonpharmacologic shelf.
“I feel like a new person,” headlines a study published September, 2008, in the Journal of Pain, the official journal of the American Pain Society, available on PubMed.org. The study concerned 27 adults who were 65 or older who had chronic low back pain.
The effects of mindfulness meditation included not only the short-term plus of a better mood, but longer-term quality-of-life benefits—better sleep and attention, and pain reduction as well as a feeling of well-being. One of the authors is Dr. Hilary Tindle, who was also quoted in The Buffalo News article on January 19, 2010.
She noted in that article that the attitude of patients is found to be related to health after other variables are taken into account. The “psychology of the patient” is reflected in several factors that are in the mix of serious diseases, like blood pressure, heart rate, stress hormone levels, and immune function.
Another study, just published on PubMed.org January 13, 2010, ahead of its print publication, calls mindful meditation “slow breathing.” The study, which included a healthy control group, concluded that this kind of meditation demonstrated its value in treating fibromyalgia patients for pain. It concludes that the findings support earlier studies on the effect of “yogic breathing and mindful Zen meditation for pain and depressed affect.”
The meditator sits comfortably and pays attention to the sensation of the flow of the breath in and out of the body. One key to meditation is noticing thoughts and feelings that may arise, but without reacting to or judging those thoughts and feelings, according to the NCCAM website of the National Institutes of Health. The meditator returns each time to just noticing the breath.
Studies help demonstrate to the medical community that working with a theory meets standards that they agree on. In Buffalo, those wishing to learn more about mindfulness meditation in a setting that is not medical can attend a meeting almost any day of the week.
Two of them are the Buffalo Zen Dharma Community which meets at Westminster Presbyterian Church every Tuesday from 7 -9:45 PM (www. Buffalozen.org), and the Peaceful Heart Mindfulness Community, which meets at the Buffalo Unitarian Universalist Church on Saturdays from 10-12 AM. Other meetings are also noted on the buffalodharma.org website.