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Medical News & Perspectives
October 6, 2015

Exploring the Promise of Mindfulness as Medicine

JAMA. 2015;314(13):1327-1329. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.7023

A new frontier in treatment for mental illnesses and other chronic conditions may not come from pharmaceutical companies, but from within, as mindfulness practices gain traction.

Mindfulness practices as we know them today are rooted in 2500-year-old Buddhist meditation practices and are often described as “…paying attention to the present moment experiences with openness, curiosity, and a willingness to be with what is” (http://marc.ucla.edu/). Herbert Benson, MD, founder of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, is often credited with bringing mindfulness into the realm of Western medicine. His 1975 book The Relaxation Response outlined techniques to combat the harmful effects of stress with relaxation methods similar to meditation.

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