Buddhism, Psychiatry and Chronic Disease: The Role of Mindfulness in Modern Medicine

by Dr Samantha Batt – Rawden


The majority of these studies show a significant stress reduction and increases in psychological wellbeing following Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. However there is very little definitive evidence for such a benefit. Although many studies do employ the use of a control group often controls were recruited from the waiting list to receive MBSR. This may bias the results of such studies as these subjects; clearly those interested in MBSR are more likely to believe it has a clinical benefit. Aside from the clear methodological problems associated with a lack of a control group, much of the available literature suffers from further flaws which only serve to limit the generalisability and validity of the reported results. These include: use of unvalidated tools to measure outcomes and failure to control for confounding variables such as concurrent treatment and arbitrary determination of the primary outcome measure as evidence for clinical response.

This literature review highlights the need for large trials and methodologically sound research. Yet there is evidence to suggest the potential promise of mindfulness as an effective intervention for enhancing the psychological and spiritual wellbeing of patients with wide range of medical disorders and psychiatric diagnoses, and for health care professionals. Whilst the biological basis of both medical and psychiatric disease is advancing exponentially, as we understand more about the human brain questions are raised as to the basis of the mind, and the interface between psychiatry, psychology, philosophy and spirituality becomes ever more interesting. This, and its concurrent growing popularity, might suggest there is a role, alongside more traditional treatments, for MBSR in modern medicine.


Is Clinical Hypnosis an Empirically Supported Treatment For Depression?

From personal experience, I would say Hypnotherapy saved my life.

There is a large body of clinical evidence and a growing body of empirical evidence that hypnosis can contribute significantly to positive treatment results in a variety of ways (i.e., directly and indirectly) related to depression. Specifically, a considerable literature already amassed attests to the value of hypnosis as a tool of empowerment, especially important in diminishing depression.

in fact, clinical reports in professional books and scientific journals which describe symptom improvement in various disorders following the use of hypnosis routinely report a diminution of depression. These studies specifically mention depression reduction when describing positive results in treating pain, anxiety, and other physical and psychological symptoms

(Crawford & Barabasz,1993; lynch, 1999; Montgomery, Duhamel & redd, 2000; Moore & Burrows,1991;schoenberger, Kirsch, Gearan, Montgomery & pastyrnak, 1997; yapko, 1993)


Hypnosis : A Little History

From the British Society of Clinical Hypnosis

Hypnotic or suggestive therapy is one of the oldest of all healing techniques. From the Sleep Temples of Egypt through the histories of ancient Greece and Rome various forms of hypnosis have been an intimate part of the culture.

In the Middle Ages, healing through faith and prayer became the major way of treating disease. In the 18th Century – when it was believed that illness was caused by the magnetic influence of astral bodies – Franz Anton Mesmer would induce people into a trance-like state by what he believed to be Animal Magnetism. Although Mesmer ‘s theory was soon discredited, it continued to be used even afterhis deathas it often produced ‘miracle’ cures.

When Dr James Braid re-examined Mesmerism in the 19th Century he discovered that simple suggestion was just as effective as Mesmerism or any other method to induce trance-like states. It was he who coined the term ‘Hypnosis’ and hypnosis began to develop into a scientific technique.

Dr. Esdaile then undertook many surgical operation using only hypnosis to control patients pain and much research began into the phenomenon. However, the new scientific discovery of chloroform was soon to curtail these experiments.

By the early part of the 20th Century hypnosis was used almost exclusively by stage hypnotists, thereby projecting a hopelessly distorted view of this very powerful therapeutic tool. However, in 1955 the British Medical Association endorsed the practice of hypnosis in Medical School education, since when it has become a valuable addition to conventional medical treatment.

Modern research and practice over the last fifty years has fashioned Clinical Hypnosis into a flexible technique with which to effect beneficial changes.

A Little History