Mindfulness in Medicine

The modern mindfulness movement in the United States began more than 30 years ago in the basement of the Massachusetts Medical School. There a doctor and researcher named Jon Kabat-Zinn created a program called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and first taught it to a group of patients with chronic medical conditions. Afterwards, he was surprised to discover that many participants reported less pain, less reliance on pain medication and increased quality of life. Since that time, mindfulness has been adopted by medical centers throughout the world to provide individuals experiencing pain and other chronic health issues with non-pharmacological tools to improve their quality of life. The Center for Mindful Living is the only place in town offering the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course.

In response to the ACE study, which links childhood trauma to a host of adult, chronic conditions, and the opioid crisis, in 2016 the Center for Mindful Living partnered with local medical professionals to create an educational program on chronic pain called Pain Matters. This program seeks to expand our understanding of pain and empower us to change our relationship to this experience, changing its effects on our lives. Mindfulness is a tool that can be very beneficial in helping to change that relationship. As a part of this education effort, in 2017 we also hosted a movie screening of the documentary, All the Rage; afterwards a panel of renowned experts on chronic pain answered audience questions.

Since its inception, the Center for Mindful Living has been reaching out to the Chattanooga medical community to educate medical professionals on the complementary nature of mindfulness related practices for the better health of both doctor and patient. In 2015, we hosted a program created by Emory University for its medical students called Cognitively Based Compassion Training. This program trains helping professions (medicine, mental health, teaching, etc) in practices that increase our capacity for compassion, mitigating empathetic distress and burnout.

We will continue to educate the medical community about the benefits of these practices for their own health and well-being, and advocate for acceptance of an expanded range of complementary therapies, including mindfulness, for well-being.