Scientific research on the effects of the various forms of meditation (e.g. mindfulness, loving kindness) on both mental and physical health has increased exponentially. In 2005 only 15 randomized control trials were conducted, but by 2015 that number had increased to 216.
There is still a lot more research to be done, but it is already clear that meditation provides benefits for many conditions including: depression, anxiety, pain relief, PTSD etc.
Among the general population, meditation is becoming an increasingly popular way of reducing stress, developing concentration and improving mood. Even the corporate sector has embraced it. Workplace mindfulness meditation workshops have suddenly become the must-have ingredient in any corporate wellness program.
The medical and academic communities have also discovered meditation, where it is being both researched and used to help patients. It is being studied for its effects on conditions like depression, hypertension and even cancer. While it can’t make a condition like cancer go away, it can give patients an effective coping mechanism for dealing with the trauma of a cancer diagnosis, thus alleviating some of the associated mental health issues.
Among the different types of meditation, perhaps the two that have received the most attention are:
Trains the brain to be more aware of what you are doing and to experience it through your senses, thoughts and emotions. This is by far the most common type of mind-body intervention used in research studies.
While the concept of mindfulness stems from Buddhism, it has been secularized in the West, by practitioners such as Jon Kabat-Zinn, who created a secular, hospital-based program in the 1970s. It combined principles of stress reduction with training in mindfulness. Initially called the Stress Reduction and Relaxation Program, it’s now widely known as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
Traditional MBSR programs are 8 weeks long with approximately 2.5-hr weekly group sessions with up to 30 participants and 1 or 2 instructors.
A 6-hr retreat takes place, typically between weeks 6 and 7. As the weeks progress, different types of meditation are introduced starting with a body scan sensory awareness experience, and progressing to sitting and finally walking meditations.
Variations of MBSR exist that have been modified to suite the needs of particular conditions. For example, Mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) is a form of cognitive therapy that uses mindfulness practices such as meditation, to teach patients to let go of negative thought patterns, so as to be able to prevent themselves from falling into depression, but has also been found to reducing cravings in people with substance abuse issues.
Loving Kindness Mediation (LKM)
Loving Kindness Mediation takes a different approach that cultivates compassion within the individual, for self, others and the world.
This article takes a look at some of the most recent research involving these two types of meditative practices. The scientific research papers, meta-analyses and reviews have been summarized and grouped by meditation type and condition studied.
Meta-Analyses and Reviews
A meta-analysis is research that combines the results from many other studies so that the sample space is much larger and therefore we can have more confidence in the statistical results, and a summary of their findings. A few recent meta-analyses and reviews show meditation to be effective for a wide range of age groups and settings. And just as meditation can be effective for calming and nurturing the mind, it can also do the same for the body and emotions.
2017 December: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy with Older Adults: A Qualitative Review of Randomized Controlled Outcome Research
Summary: To determine the effectiveness of mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) and mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT) for older adults.
Participants: Information from seven RCTs conducted exclusively on older adults was collected. Participants either underwent MBSR or MBCT for various conditions including chronic lower back pain, chronic insomnia anxiety and depression among others.
Results: MBSR recipients benefited from reduced symptoms of lower back pain, insomnia, and reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression along with improved memory and executive functioning. Where elevated anxiety was experienced in the absence of elevated depression, MBCT was effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety. Both methods seem promising interventions when dealing with the health and possibly cognitive challenges of an elderly population.
2016 June: Mindfulness-based meditation to decrease stress and anxiety in college students: A narrative synthesis of the research
Summary: To review research regarding the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation on stress and anxiety levels in college students.
Participants: Data from 57 studies on the effect of mindfulness meditation in reducing stress and anxiety in college students was collected.
Results: Of the 40 studies on anxiety, 33 showed a significant decrease in anxiety. Of the 34 studies on stress, 25 showed a significant reduction in stress levels in college students. At the same time, 22 of the 24 studies also showed an increase in mindfulness. All in all, mindfulness meditation appears promising in reducing stress and anxiety in college students.
2016 January: Mindfulness meditation and the immune system: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials
Summary: To establish the efficacy of mindfulness meditation on various immune system parameters.
Participants: Data from several RCTs was collected to determine the effect of mindfulness meditation on the outcomes of gene expression, immune cell aging, immune cell count, inflammatory proteins and antibody response.
Results: Results suggest the effects of mindfulness meditation on specific inflammatory markers, biological aging and cell-mediated immunity. However, further studies are recommended to examine these effects.
2015 November: The effect of loving-kindness meditation on positive emotions: a meta-analytic review
Summary: To evaluate the effect of LKM on promoting positive emotions.
Participants: Data from 24 empirical studies was used involving 1759 participants.
Results: The meta-analysis presented LKM to have medium effect sizes on daily positive emotions in RCT and non-RCT studies. The same had small to large effect sizes for the on-going practices of LKM.
Mindfulness meditation usually incorporates either mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) as an intervention technique. Scientifically, it is the practice for which the most convincing body of evidence exists. Many clinical trials and studies employ the Kabat-Zinn curriculum for MBSR and follow the standard of an 8-week intervention program. Other studies may use structures modeled similarly after MBSR in principle and label them as mindfulness-based interventions (MBIs).
The research mentioned here widely uses MBSR, some MBCT, and other MBIs to establish the effects of mindfulness meditation in the areas of stress management, anxiety, pain relief, cancer, insomnia, high blood pressure, and PTSD.
Of these, mindfulness based techniques seem to present the most convincing evidence for improving stress, anxiety, and pain with moderate evidence for other outcomes.
Mindfulness Meditation for Stress
You may be interested in our article on scientific research of meditation for stress and anxiety.
2017 August: Mindfulness Meditation Training and Executive Control Network Resting State Functional Connectivity: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Summary: To determine the role of mindfulness meditation on the resting state functional connectivity in the brain.
Participants: 35 adults diagnosed with high levels of psychological distress were either assigned to intensive mindfulness meditation or relaxed training with all participants taking a resting state fMRI scan before and after meditation training.
Results: Increased functional connectivity was recorded in brain areas after receiving mindfulness intervention.
2017 July: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Older Adults With Stress Disorders and Neurocognitive Difficulties: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Summary: To establish the effectiveness of mindfulness intervention for improving neurocognitive performance in older adults.
Participants: 103 adults aged 65 years and older diagnosed with an anxiety or depressive disorder were recruited for this trial.
Results: Participants receiving MBSR exhibited greater improvement in areas of memory composite score (P=.046), measures of worry (P=.046) and depression (P=.049) at post-treatment. These participants also showed improvement on worry (P=.02), depression (p+002) and anxiety (P_.002) at follow up without any change in cognitive control.
2014 June: Brief mindfulness meditation training alters psychological and neuroendocrine responses to social evaluative stress
Summary: To evaluate the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation on psychological and neuroendocrine responses to the Trier Sicila Stress Test (TSST).
Participants: 66 young adult volunteers were assigned to either a 3-day, 25 minutes a day mindfulness meditation session or an analytical cognitive training control program.
Results: Participants of the mindfulness meditation training sessions reported reduced psychological stress but increased salivary cortisol reactivity to TSST.
Mindfulness Meditation for Anxiety
2018 April: The effect of mindfulness meditation training on biological acute stress responses in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
Summary: To investigate if mindfulness meditation can lower stress responses in GAD sufferers.
Participants: 70 adults with GAD participated in either an MBSR or an attention control class.
Results: The MBSR group was more successful in reducing adrenocorticotropic hormone AUC concentrations. MBSR participants also exhibited a greater reduction in inflammatory markers than the attention control group.
2018 February: Investigating Effects and Mechanisms of a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Intervention in a Sample of College Students at Risk for Social Anxiety
Summary: To investigate the effectiveness of a 6-week MBSR programme on students at risk for social anxiety.
Participants: 46 female college students were assigned to either MBSR intervention or a waitlist control group.
Results: The MBSR experienced significant reductions in social anxiety and perceived stress compared to the control group.
2016 May: Group CBT versus MBSR for social anxiety disorder: A randomized controlled trial
Summary: Comparative study of receiving cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), versus mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR), versus waitlist (WL), in patients with SAD.
Participants: 108 unmedicated patients were divided randomly to receive either, CBT, MBSR or waitlist with completed assessments at baseline, post-treatment/WL, and 1 year follow up.
Results: CBT and MBSR produced greater improvements in most measures when compared with waitlist.
2013 August: Randomized controlled trial of mindfulness meditation for generalized anxiety disorder: effects on anxiety and stress reactivity
Summary: Comparison of the effectiveness of MBSR as a therapy for anxiety disorders, with an active control group with GAD.
Participants: 93 individuals with GAD took part in an 8-week intervention for either MBSR or an attention control Stress Management Education (SME).
Results: Both interventions led to significant reductions in HAMA scores measured with the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, (p=.0001). The MBSR group showed greater reduction in anxiety when measured by the Clinical Global Impressions-Severity of Illness and Improvement scales (CGI-S and CGI-I), and the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI). MBSR participants also exhibited greater reduction in anxiety and distress ratings in response to TSST (P,<05) than SME and a greater increase in positive statements (P=.004)
Mindfulness Meditation for Pain Relief
Headaches and Migraines
2016 September: Migraine and Meditation: Characteristics of Cortical Activity and Stress Coping in Migraine Patients, Meditators and Healthy Controls—An Exploratory Cross-Sectional Study
Summary: To investigate cortical activity and stress coping mechanisms between migraine patients, experienced meditators, and healthy controls.
Participants: Of the137 participants who participated 45 were meditators, 46 migraine patients and 46 healthy controls.
Results: Experienced meditators were most successful in using stress coping mechanisms when compared to the other two groups.
2015 August: The Effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on Perceived Pain Intensity and Quality of Life in Patients with Chronic Headache
Summary: To see if MBSR can affect perceived pain intensity and quality of life in individuals with chronic headaches.
Participants: 40 chronic tension-type headache and migraine patients were assigned to attend either an intervention group or a control group.
Results: Results were observed in improvement in the quality of life and pain management in the MBSR group when compared with the control group.
2014 July: Meditation for Migraines: A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial
Summary: To assess MBSR safety, feasibility and effects in a standard 8-week program for adults with migraines.
Participants: 19 migraine sufferers took part in an RCT randomized to either MBSR or usual care.
Results: MBSR was observed as a non-invasive treatment with participants experiencing fewer migraines per month. Headaches were also less severe though not significantly so.
2016 July: Alterations in Resting-State Functional Connectivity Link Mindfulness Meditation With Reduced Interleukin-6: A Randomized Controlled Trial
Summary: To establish if mindfulness meditation can improve inflammatory markers in a controlled RCT.
Participants: 35 stressed adults were assigned either a 3-day intensive residential mindfulness meditation or a relaxation training program.
Results: The mindfulness meditation group exhibited improved IL-6 at 4 month follow up.
2014 November: Mindfulness Meditation Alleviates Fibromyalgia Symptoms in Women: Results of a Randomized Clinical Trial
Summary: To evaluate the effectiveness of MBSR for fibromyalgia patients.
Participants: 91 female fibromyalgia patients were placed in treatment and waitlist control groups.
Results: MBSR intervention was beneficial for reducing perceived stress, sleep disturbance and symptom severity associated with fibromyalgia. However, meditation did not alter pain, physical functioning or cortisol profiles significantly.
Lower Back Pain
2016 October: Mindfulness Meditation and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Intervention Reduces Pain Severity and Sensitivity in Opioid-Treated Chronic Low Back Pain: Pilot Findings from a Randomized Controlled Trial
Summary: To assess the role of mindfulness meditation and CBT based intervention for patients receiving opioid treatment for chronic low back pain.
Participants: 35 participants took part in the study with 21 individuals assigned to meditation-CBT intervention and 14 to a control group.
Results: Compared with the control group, the meditation-CBT group reduced pain severity ratings during the study.
2016 March: Effect of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction vs Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or Usual Care on Back Pain and Functional Limitations in Adults with Chronic Low Back Pain. A Randomized Clinical Trial
Summary: To compare and asses the effectiveness of MBSR verses CBT or usual care for chronic low back pain.
Participants: 342 participants were divided into three groups receiving either MBSR, CBT or usual care.
Results: Results at 26 weeks had the MBSR and CBT groups showing greater improvement in back pain and functional limitations than others receiving usual care.
2015 December: Effectiveness of Mindfulness Meditation on Pain and Quality Of Life of Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain
Summary: To examine the effectiveness of MBSR on pain severity and quality of life in female patients with nonspecific chronic low back pain
Participants: 88 patients were assigned to either MBSR plus usual medical care or a control group with usual medical care only.
Results: Patients who participated in meditation intervention showed greater reduction in pain severity than those receiving usual medical care only.
Mindfulness Meditation for Cancer
2017 January: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in Post-treatment Breast Cancer Patients: Immediate and Sustained Effects Across Multiple Symptom Clusters
Summary: To identify symptom clusters among breast cancer survivors (BCS) after treatment and determine the effectiveness of MBSR.
Participants: 322 post-treatment BCS were assigned randomly to a 6-week MBSR program or usual care.
Results: Four symptom clusters including pain, psychological, fatigue and cognitive were studied from baseline to six weeks. MBSR was seen as effective in both psychological (P=0.007) and fatigue (P<0.001) clusters.
2015 October: A qualitative study on mindfulness-based stress reduction for breast cancer patients: how women experience participating with fellow patients
Summary: To establish any benefits for female breast cancer patients while participating with other patients in MBSR training.
Participants: 37 participants from 5 focus groups and 3 individuals with breast cancer were interviewed after taking part in MBSR.
Results: MBSR was seen as somewhat effective in reducing fear of facing others with the same condition, some of whom could not be cured. At the same time, MBSR was successful in yielding a supportive atmosphere which promoted social support among participants.
2015 April: The effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction on objective and subjective sleep parameters in women with breast cancer: a randomized controlled trial
Summary: To study the effects of MBSR on breast cancer patients on objective and subjective sleep parameters.
Participants: 79 BC patients were randomly assigned to either a 6-week MBSR program or usual care followed by a 12 week follow up.
Results: Positive MBSR effects were observed at 12 weeks on sleep efficiency, percentage of sleep time, and fewer waking bouts as compared to the UC group.
Mindfulness Meditation and Cancer-Related Fatigue (CRF)
2016 October: Randomized controlled pilot trial of mindfulness-based stress reduction compared to psychoeducational support for persistently fatigued breast and colorectal cancer survivors
Summary: To compare MBSR to psychoeducation for relieving cancer-related fatigue (CRF) in breast and colorectal survivors.
Participants: 60 breast cancer and 11 colorectal cancer survivors suffering from cancer related fatigue (CRF) after completing radiation or chemotherapy were randomized to MBSR or psychoeducation/support groups (PES).
Results: Outcomes assessed at baseline, post-intervention and 6 month follow up did not show any significant differences in CRF interference. The MBSR group, however, reported improvement in vitality (d=0.53, p=0.003) at post-intervention and improvement in fatigue compared to the PES group. Patients in the MBSR group also reported reduction in pain (d=0.53, p=0.014) at the same time.
2014 August: Randomized controlled pilot study of mindfulness‐based stress reduction for persistently fatigued cancer survivors
Summary: To investigate the effectiveness of MBSR for cancer related fatigue. (CRF)
Participants: 35 cancer survivors with CRF were assigned to either 7 weeks of MBSR or a waitlist control group. Primary outcome was fatigue interference with multiple secondary outcomes.
Results: The MBSR participants demonstrated greater post-intervention reductions in the primary outcome of fatigue interference. Secondary outcomes of fatigue severity, vitality, depression and sleep disturbance also showed greater reductions than the control group. Improvements were maintained 6 months after intervention with MBSR participant adherence being high.
Mindfulness Meditation for High Blood Pressure
2014 October: Randomized Controlled Trial of Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction for Prehypertension
Summary: To determine the effectiveness of MBSR for reducing elevated blood pressure in pre-hypertensive patients.
Participants: 56 participants with unmedicated blood pressure took part in either an MBSR or progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) training program for 8 weeks.
Results: Patients in the MBSR group showed reduction in clinical SBP and DBP as compared to the PMR group. However, there was no significant reduction in ambulatory BP when compared with the PMR group.
2013 September: Hypertension Analysis of Stress Reduction Using Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga: Results From the Harmony Randomized Controlled Trial
Summary: To examine the efficacy of an 8-week MBSR program for lowering BP.
Participants: 101 adults with known unmedicated stage 1 hypertension based on ambulatory BP were assigned to either MBSR intervention or a wait-list control group
Results: There was no significant difference in the changes in 24-hour ambulatory BP from baseline to 12 weeks between the two groups. The secondary outcome related to within-group analysis showed a small reduction in BP after MBSR compared with baseline. However, this change was limited to female subjects in a sex analysis.
Mindfulness Meditation for Insomnia
2015 May: Mindfulness-based stress reduction for chronic insomnia in adults older than 75 years: a randomized, controlled, single-blind clinical trial
Summary: To establish the effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) for chronic insomnia along with anxiety or depressive symptoms in older adults.
Participants: 60 adults aged 75 and older suffering from chronic insomnia took part in this trial. Participants were randomized to either an 8-week MBSR group or a wait-list control group.
Results: Outcomes were measured using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Self-rating Anxiety Sale (SAS), and Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) and results showed that MBSR could be helpful for treating chronic insomnia in older adults.
2014 September: A randomized controlled trial of mindfulness meditation for chronic insomnia
Summary: To assess the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation for treating chronic insomnia
Participants: 54 adults with chronic insomnia were randomized to either MBSR, mindfulness-based therapy for insomnia (MBTI) or an 8-week self-monitoring (SM) condition.
Results: Results showed greater success in the MBSR or MBTI groups in reducing in total wake time (TWT), pre-sleep arousal scale (PSAS) and Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) when compared to the SM group. Within the two groups, there were no significant differences from baseline to post. As such, mindfulness meditation based techniques can be studied further as an alternative treatment for insomnia.
2014 May: A Comparison of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Improving Sleep and Mood Outcomes in Cancer Patients with Insomnia
Summary: To compare MBSR with cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) for treating insomnia in cancer patients.
Participants: 111 cancer patients with insomnia were assigned to either intervention.
Results: Both groups demonstrated equally significant reductions in mood disturbance and stress symptoms. However, the CBT-I group demonstrated greater improvement in sleep quality than the MBSR group. And while both interventions did help improve sleep and psychological outcomes, CBT-I showed more rapid changes.
Mindfulness Meditation for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD
2018 November: Mindfulness-Based Processes of Healing for Veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Summary: To evaluate the effectiveness of MBSR for reducing PTSD symptoms.
Participants: 15 veterans were interviewed for this qualitative study before receiving MBSR intervention.
Results: MBSR presented positive results in six core aspects of PTSD, making it a potentially promising non-invasive treatment option for dealing with PTSD.
2017 September: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as a Standalone Intervention for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder after Mixed Traumatic Events: A Mixed-Methods Feasibility Study
Summary: To examine the feasibility of MBSR as a standalone intervention for PTSD patients.
Participants: 14 subjects received 8 weeks of MBSR intervention, being assessed before and after treatment along with a one month follow up through self-rating. Patients also took part in qualitative interviews explaining their experience with mindfulness based techniques.
Results: Of the 14, nine patients finished the programme and regarded the intervention to be helpful and applicable. Interview results revealed that the participants reported improved wellbeing and better handling of traumatizing situations.
2017 August: A Pilot Study of the Effects of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction on Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms and Brain Response to Traumatic Reminders of Combat in Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom Combat Veterans with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Summary: To assess the effects of MBSR on PTSD symptoms and the brain’s response to traumatic reminders.
Participants: 26 combat veterans with PTSD were randomized to either 8 MBSR sessions or present-centered group therapy (PCGT).
Results: PTSD patients receiving MBSR showed an improvement in symptoms as compared to the PCGT group. The MBSR group also showed an increase in mindfulness.
Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM)
LKM is a type of meditation that fosters unconditional kind attitudes towards the self and others. As opposed to other types of meditation where the focus is primarily on calming the mind or improving attention, LKM works by bringing forth feelings of compassion, kindness, and acceptance. Research on LKM for physical and emotional wellbeing shows that it can be beneficial in immediate and small doses such as provide instant gratification. At the same time, LKM can also have longer-lasting and more perpetual results.
The research included on LKM in this article explores all these different facets of this meditative technique. Findings reveal that loving-kindness meditation can be helpful with small to moderate effects in the areas of stress, anxiety, pain relief, borderline personality traits, and PTSD.
Loving Kindness Meditation for Stress
2016 June: Loving‐Kindness Meditation and Empathy: A Wellness Group Intervention for Counselling Students
Summary: To assess how loving-kindness meditation can help enhance empathy.
Participants: 103 master’s level counseling students took part in this intervention programme.
Results: Participants who underwent LKM exhibited gains in dimensions of empathy.
2015 February: Loving-Kindness Meditation’s Effects on Nitric Oxide and Perceived Well-being: A Pilot Study in Experienced and Inexperienced Meditators
Summary: To determine if LKM can impact Nitric Oxide metabolism and associated stress reduction.
Participants: 12 healthy individuals participated in the study after eliminating nitrate-rich food consumption for 12 hours. Some participants were experienced meditators while others had no experience with meditation.
Results: In the experienced group exhibited lower stress and heartrate at baseline. After meditation stress levels fell (52 vs. 11, P < .05), and relaxation increased (55 vs. 89, P < .05) in the inexperienced group.
Loving Kindness Meditation for Anxiety
2017 June: Does Loving-Kindness Meditation Reduce Anxiety? Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial
Summary: To determine if loving kindness meditation (LKM) is effective for treating anxiety.
Participants: 71 non-clinical undergrads were randomized to either LKM intervention or a waitlist control group.
Results: The LKM group showed higher compassionate love and self-compassion at post-treatment, but anxiety ratings didn’t change significantly between post-treatment and follow up.
2015 August: A wait-list randomized controlled trial of loving-kindness meditation programme for self-criticism
Summary: To examine the efficacy of LKM on increasing self-compassion in highly self-critical individuals.
Participants: 38 highly self-critical participants underwent either LKM intervention or were placed on a wait list.
Results: Loving kindness meditation participants were more successful in reducing self-criticism and depressive symptoms as compared to the wait list group while also exhibiting more self-compassion and positive emotions. At a 3 month follow up, both groups exhibited the gains attained to have been maintained after receiving intervention.
Loving Kindness Meditation for Pain Relief
2014 October: Pilot Study of a Compassion Meditation Intervention in Chronic Pain
Summary: A 9-week group study of compassion cultivation intervention in chronic pain patients.
Participants: 12 chronic pain patients enrolled to test the effects of compassion meditation on pain severity, anger, pain acceptance, and pain-related interference.
Results: Compassion meditation intervention lowered pain severity and anger along with increasing chronic pain acceptance. Reductions in anger were also validated by the participants’ significant others.
2014 March: Meditation-based treatment yielding immediate relief for meditation-naïve migraineurs
Summary: To establish the effectiveness of mindfulness based intervention for reducing migraine pain and regulating emotional tension associated with the pain.
Participants: 27 participants with frequent migraines attended one 20 minute meditation session based on the loving/kindness approach.
Results: Participants reported a 33% decrease in pain and a 43% decrease in emotional tension. These promising results suggest that a brief meditative session can be helpful for reducing pain and tension in patients.
Loving Kindness Meditation for Borderline Personality Traits
2018 January: Effects of brief mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation inductions on emotional and behavioural responses to social rejection among individuals with high borderline personality traits
Summary: To evaluate the effects of brief LKM intervention on emotional and behavioural responses in adults with borderline personality disorder.
Participants: 118 participants were assigned to undergo 10 minutes of mindful breathing practice, LKM or a no-instruction control condition.
Results: Upon rating their emotions and completing a competitive reaction time task, the mindfulness group recovered quicker from negative affect and feelings of rejection compared to the control group and LKM. Findings suggest that while mindfulness may be beneficial in limiting the negative emotional effects of social rejection, LKM may not be as helpful in doing so.
2017 January: Fostering Self-Compassion and Loving-Kindness in Patients with Borderline Personality Disorder: A Randomized Pilot study
Summary: To investigate the effects of a short LKM and compassion meditation (LKM/CM) intervention in individuals suffering from borderline personality disorder.
Participants: Participants were randomized to LKM/CM intervention or a mindfulness continuation training control group for three weeks.
Results: LKM/CM intervention showed significant reduction in symptom severity and self-criticism with improvements in mindfulness, acceptance, and self-kindness.
Loving Kindness Meditation for PTSD
2014 December: Loving-kindness meditation and the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions among veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder
Summary: To determine if a 12-week LKM intervention can help boost positive emotions.
Participants: 42 veterans with PTSD participated in this open-pilot trial.
Results: There was a significant increase in unactivated pleasant emotions (d=0.73) but not in activated pleasant emotions over time. Both activated and unactivated unpleasant emotions declined overtime. Other outcomes such as environmental mastery, personal growth, purpose in life, self-acceptance, and decentering also increased at 3 month follow up.