Mindful Approaches for Stress Reduction
Since the founding of mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) in 1979, by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, there has been steady acceptance of the importance of stress reduction for health, as well as the need for patients to take on responsibility for tapping into their own deep inner resources for healing and transformation. MBSR programs are now offered in medical facilities around the world.
Over the years, mindfulness has moved beyond health, into business, education, therapy, and other applications, to increase focus and performance, to help people become more skillful with their thoughts and emotions, and to enhance resilience and flourishing in life. There are numerous mindfulness and stress reduction resources, including meditation apps for our digital devices. One was Apple iPhone app of the year for 2017, with more than 35 million downloads! Some apps are now available in major airports in the US and on board flights. One reason for this growing demand is stress.
Lucia Miracchi, somatic therapist and owner of Massage Therapy Center Palo Alto, offers a body-centered mindfulness approach for reducing stress through sensory awareness. She says, “As a bodywork therapist I am teaching my clients to be aware of their bodies in a different way — in a way that begins to make meaningful the time they spend with their bodies in direct experience, without analyzing or interpreting. A pure experience of sensory awareness enables a person to learn to recognize valuable internal cues, a natural, effortless way to reduce body-mind stress. By guiding my clients to breathe and notice minute changes that occur while receiving therapeutic touch, clients begin to cultivate a true devotion to being intimately connected with the intelligent biological processes that lead to health and well-being.”
The experience of connecting the perceptual brain with subtle physical cues allows us an opening to view the world as more humanly compassionate rather than robotic, since learning to be attentive to one’s own amazingly intelligent organism creates opportunities for healthy change in all realms of our being. And that creates a stress-reducing experience that can last a lifetime!