Trudy Goodman


Medical Establishment Ponders Meditation For its Health Benefits

As the nation embarks on a top-down overhaul of health care, a simple movement with the potential to improve wellness is quietly growing from the ground up.

Access and cost pose no problems here. Unlike insurance-driven medical models, this one comes free and is available to virtually anyone. All it takes is a willingness to learn, discipline and plenty of practice.

It’s called mindfulness meditation, an outgrowth of the West’s fascination in recent decades with eastern Buddhist philosophy.

Slowly but surely, experts say, the medical establishment is opening its doors to meditation as research continues to reveal its potential health benefits.

Many of the nation’s hospital systems – including Kaiser Permanente and Sutter in the Sacramento region – have come around to offer classes in mindfulness meditation as well as mindfulness-based stress-reduction programs.

“Often it’s for patients who have just plain old life stress,” said Dr. Hillary Campbell, Kaiser’s leader in the Sacramento area for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. “It brings on a sense of peace and calmness. And it helps your attention and focus.”

Scientific research indicates mindful meditation may reduce stress-related illness, boost the…