The practice of mindfulness: clinical evidence, professional benefit

  • S Whitesman Stellenbosch University
Keywords: mindfulness, practice, clinical evidence, professional benefit


In a quiet basement beneath a bustling tertiary hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts an unusual experiment was taking place. Patients who were ‘falling between the cracks of the healthcare system’,1 who were being maximally managed medically but were still suffering, were being referred to an outpatient clinic teaching the ancient practice of mindfulness. This was in the late 1970s, and the programme being offered to patients with chronic conditions was an intensive training called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR).1 Forty years later, this programme has seeded mindfulness not only into the mainstream of medicine and healthcare, but into broader society as well, based on increasingly robust clinical and neurophysiological evidence.

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Author Biography

S Whitesman, Stellenbosch University

Department of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Stellenbosch University and Institute for Mindfulness, South Africa

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