Fjorback, L. O., Arendt, M., Ornbol, E., Fink, P., & Walach, H. (2011). Mindfulness-based stress reduction and mindfulness-based cognitive therapy – A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. ACTA Psychiatrica Scandinavica.
A recent article contains a systematic review of research on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT). Mindfulness is a skill that allows individuals to have moment to moment, non-judgmental awareness of their emotions, thoughts, and sensations. MBSR and MBCT are used to promote wellbeing through meditation, body scans, and mindful yoga in combination with whole day retreats, group discussion sessions, and daily homework exercises. Many studies have been conducted on mindfulness and its effectiveness in reducing depression, stress, and anxiety. Previous review articles were less systematic and included non-randomized studies and small sample groups. As such, the conclusions of these reviews were varied and the efficacy of MBSR/MBCT unclear. In an attempt to clear up this uncertainty, Fjorback et al performed a systematic review of all articles published on MBSR and MBCT in the last 30 years but examined only randomized trials with control groups and a minimum of 33 participants. The effects of MBSR and MBCT on stress, anxiety, and depression were investigated. Results of the review showed that MBSR was beneficial for reducing stress and distress, alleviating depressive symptoms, and improving anxiety in both clinical and non-clinical populations. MBCT was found to reduce the risk of relapse in depressive patients who had recovered from three or more previous episodes of depression. The researchers concluded that MBSR is a good complementary method of improving mental health for both clinical and non-clinical populations.