Health Benefits of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Group class sitting and meditating
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Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is a healing approach that combines meditation and yoga. Developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn in the 1970s, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction aims to address the unconscious thoughts, feelings, and behaviors thought to increase stress and undermine your health.

What It Involves

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction is an eight-week program that involves training in mindfulness meditation and yoga. Participants generally meet once weekly.

In mindfulness meditation, individuals strive to cultivate a greater awareness of the present moment. By increasing their mindfulness, participants in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction aim to reduce their overall arousal and emotional reactivity and to gain a deeper sense of calm.


Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction is said to benefit individuals dealing with the following health conditions or problems:

  • ADHD
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Chronic pain
  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Anger
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Sleep problems


Here's a look at Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction's potential health benefits, as tested in scientific studies:

1) Pain Relief

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction may help relieve pain and improve psychological well-being in people dealing with chronic pain conditions, according to a study published in 2010. Researchers found that study members with arthritis showed the greatest improvement in health-related quality of life after undergoing Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, while participants with chronic headache/migraine had the smallest improvement.

2) Stress Management

For a report published in 2009, scientists sized up ten studies on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and found that the program is able to reduce stress levels in healthy people. Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction also appeared to reduce anxiety and increase empathy.

3) Better Sleep

Some studies suggest that Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction may help reduce certain factors (such as worrying) that contribute to sleep problems, according to a report published in 2007. However, in their analysis of seven studies on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and sleep disturbance, the report's authors found insufficient evidence of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction's ability to significantly improve sleep quality and duration.

Trying Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

If you're considering the use of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, make sure to pursue training at a university medical center, hospital, or clinic, where classes are taught by qualified health professionals. If you're thinking about using it for a health condition, make sure to consult your primary care provider first. It's important to note that self-treating a condition and delaying or avoiding standard care may have serious consequences.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

View Article Sources
  • Chiesa A, Serretti A. "Mindfulness-based stress reduction for stress management in healthy people: a review and meta-analysis." J Altern Complement Med. 2009 15(5):593-600.
  • Duke Integrative Medicine. "Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction".
  • Rosenzweig S, Greeson JM, Reibel DK, Green JS, Jasser SA, Beasley D. "Mindfulness-based stress reduction for chronic pain conditions: variation in treatment outcomes and role of home meditation practice." J Psychosom Res. 2010 68(1):29-36.
  • Winbush NY, Gross CR, Kreitzer MJ. "The effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on sleep disturbance: a systematic review." Explore (NY). 2007 3(6):585-91.