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.


‘Meditation: The Future Medication’

How does meditation work?
Meditation raises energy levels and strengthens the immune system to fight or ward off illnesses. It induces the relaxation response and associated psychophysiological processes. It acts on the Karmic/Sanskar levels to neutralize the causes and effects of illness. It enhances the positivity of the person about self and healing, thus setting off chain reactions of healing. It induces a connection to the source (God) to draw the power to heal. It stimulates life style changes, which are useful for self-healing and allows external healing forces to act better. If practiced regularly for 20-45 minutes once or twice daily, all meditations, to various degrees, produce:
• Decreased heart rate and blood pressure.
• Increased blood flow to brain and heart.
• Positive changes in EEG, EMG and skin resistance.
• Improved sleep and digestion.
•Less irritability, anxiety and depression on rating scales.
•Less frequency and duration of illnesses.
•Decreased accidents and days lost at work.
•Improved interpersonal relationships.
•Improved scores on self-actualization inventories, and emotional and spiritual quotients.


The Matrix Quote

Morpheus: The Matrix is a system, Neo. That system is our enemy. But when you’re inside, you look around, what do you see? Businessmen, teachers, lawyers, carpenters. The very minds of the people we are trying to save. But until we do, these people are still a part of that system and that makes them our enemy. You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.