Coronary Heart Disease
The addition of meditation training to standard cardiac rehabilitation regimens has been shown to reduce mortality (41% decrease during the first two years following, and 46% reduction in recurrence rates) morbidity, psychological distress, and some biological risk factors (plasma lipids, weight, blood pressure, blood glucose) (Linden 1996, Zammara 1996). Meditation practice alone has been shown to reduce exercise-induced myocardial ischemia in patients with coronary artery disease (Zamarra 1996, Ornish 1983).
Meditation training has been shown to reduce blood pressure in amounts comparable to the changes that are produced by medication and other lifestyle modifications such as weight loss, sodium restriction, and increased aerobic exercise (Schneider 1995, Lindenn & Chambers 1994, Alexander 1994).
A randomized trial with cancer outpatients showed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was effective in significantly decreasing mood disturbance (65%), including depression, anxiety, anger, and confusion, and also in decreasing the symptoms of stress such as cardiopulmonary and gastrointestinal symptoms (Speca 2000). These changes were sustained at six month follow up (Carlson 2001). Survival rates of both melanoma and metastatic breast cancer patients have been significantly improved by relaxation and meditation training (Fawzy 1993, Speigal 1989) and psychological distress was lessened in women with early breast cancer (Bridge 1988).
Mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce both the experience of pain and its inhibition of patients’ everyday activities. Further, mood disturbance and psychological symptomatology (including anxiety and depression) are also reduced. Pain-related drug utilization was decreased and activity levels and self-esteem increased. This was in marked contrast to a traditional pain clinic comparison group, which showed no change on these dimensions (Kabat-Zinn 1982, 85). These gains were nearly all maintained at four-year follow-up (Kabat-Zinn 1987).
Mindfulness training resulted in clinically significant improvements in physical condition and both psychological and social spheres (Kaplan 1993, Goldenberg 1994)/
Diabetes- Type I
Meditation training significantly lowered glucose levels in patients with poorly controlled type I diabetes (McGrady 1991).
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Meditation training has been shown to be effective in improving this condition (Blanchard 1992).
Relaxation training has been shown to improve the psychological well-being, functional status and frequency of attacks of asthma patients as well as adherence to treatment (Devine 1996). It has also been shown to have a beneficial effect on dyspnea and psychological well-being among adults with obstructive pulmonary disease (Devine & Pearcy, in press).
Recently published research has shown that mindfulness meditation increases skin clearing rates four-fold when used in conjunction with phototherapy and photochemotherapy (Kabat-Zinn 1998).
Meditation has been shown to decrease headache activity (Anastasio 1987).
The skills derived from mindfulness training and cognitive therapy have been shown effective in significantly reducing the recurrence of major depressive episodes in patients who have been treated for depression (Teasdale 2000).
Training in mindfulness of movement resulted in MS patients reporting improvement over a broad range of symptoms, including balance (Mills 2000).
MBSR has been shown to significantly improve health-related quality of life. (functional status, well-being, reduced physical symptoms, psychological distress) (Reibel 2001).