MBSR: What is it?

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction or MBSR is a standardised and licensed mindfulness program developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, the author of the wonderfully titled ‘Full Catastrophe Living’ (1)

The 8 week program includes a weekly 200 min group session, daily mindfulness training from 20-40 min and one 4 hour retreat. Adopted from Buddhism for western societies, Jon Kabat-Zinn famously developed it in 1979 at the University of Massachusetts Medical School USA. 

It is described as ‘a group program that focuses upon the progressive acquisition of mindful awareness, of mindfulness’(2) and is usually taught by certified trainers and entails weekly group meetings, homework, and instruction in three formal techniques: sitting mindfulness meditation, body scanning and simple yoga hatha postures. 

MBSR has a strong evidence base in the healthy population and been shown to reduce anxiety and stress, and increase memory and concentration. (3)

(1) Kabat-Zinn J.  Full Catastrophe Living. Delta Publishing; New York: 1990

(2) Grossman, P; Niemann, L; Schmidt, S; Walach, H (2010). "Mindfulness-based stress reduction and health benefits: A meta-analysis". Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies. 8 (4): 500.

(3) Khoury B, Sharma M, Rush SE, Fournier C. Mindfulness-based stress reduction for healthy individuals: A meta-analysis. J Psychosom Res. 2015 Jun;78(6):519-28.

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