Mindfulness for Patient Care


Mindfulness training is a safe, cost-effective, long-term treatment option for patients experiencing physical, emotional and psychological distress. A growing body of evidence shows positive outcomes across a broad range of diagnoses (see box), but always including reduced stress, improved mood, and greater coping self-sufficiency. And it is a treatment patients can maintain on their own.

A few Areas in Detail

Relapse of Depression

There is significant research now showing the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation training is helping patients who have recovered from a major depressive episode avoid relapsing in the future. In one study, the relapse rate (within 60 days) of the patient group receiving mindfulness training was only 38% vs. 100% for the treatment-as-usual control group. In another, the mean time to relapse was increased to 204 days from 69 days.

Chronic Pain

There a growing body of peer-reviewed literature that demonstrates that mindfulness training has both immediate and long-lasting results in improving patients’ experience with chronic pain.

In one study,  patients' Pain Rating Indices were significantly reduced after the training, although these gradually returned to baseline. However, the significant improvements in patients' relationship to their symptoms, as measured by BPPAS, MSCL and GSI, all maintained significant reductions up to four years.

Living with cancer

Cancer patients (and their survivors) deal with a wide range of psychological and emotional issues along with their physical symptoms. The peer-reviewed literature in oncology is accumulating strong evidence that MBSR and similar mindfulness interventions provide significant relief for the mental health issues related to cancer, including anxiety, stress, depression, loss of sleep and distress. There is evidence that participants' physical health improves as well: better immune function, lower blood pressure, and others. 

Other favorable outcomes reported include patients' reporting a higher quality of life, and higher compliance with medical treatment protocols.

Mindfulness training helps patients:

  • Reduce anxiety, and prevent relapse of depression.
  • Manage chronic pain, reducing related negative emotions and distress.
  • Relieve chronic conditions including high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, heart disease, asthma, GI distress, PTSD, and skin disorders.
  • Improve patient compliance with treatment plans.
  • Manage stress in the face of diagnosis.
  • Improve patients' effective coping with short and long-term stressful medical situations.
  • Stimulate growth in the brain areas associated with learning, memory, focus, attention, emotional regulation, and empathy.
  • Improve relationships and partner communication.
  • Reduce pregnancy-related anxiety.
  • Improve immune system function.
  • Relieve eating disorders.
  • Improve patients' general health and wellbeing.

Research citations available on request.

Our Patient Care Program

Mindfulness Northwest's Patient Care Program is based on delivering the eight-week, 26 hour Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program to patients in a setting that best meets the needs of the sponsoring healthcare organization(s). 

Mindfulness Training in Medical Centers

Mindfulness Northwest has collaborated with the following healthcare providers to provide mindfulness training:

UW Medicine (Seattle)

Providence Health & Services (Everett)

The Everett Clinic (Everett)

Kaiser Permanente: Washington Permanente Medical Group (Seattle, Tacoma, Silverdale, Everett)

PeaceHealth (Bellingham)

Evergreen Health (Kirkland)

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