Effects of mindfulness exercises on symptoms of anxiety and depression

Blanck, P. et al. | Effects of mindfulness exercises as stand-alone intervention on symptoms of anxiety and depression: Systematic review and meta-analysis| Behaviour Research and Therapy | Vol. 102, March 2018, p. 25-35


mindfulMindfulness-based interventions (MBIs) are currently well established in psychotherapy with meta-analyses demonstrating their efficacy. In these multifaceted interventions, the concrete performance of mindfulness exercises is typically integrated in a larger therapeutic framework. Thus, it is unclear whether stand-alone mindfulness exercises (SAMs) without such a framework are beneficial, as well.

Therefore, we conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis regarding the effects of SAMs on symptoms of anxiety and depression. Systematic searching of electronic databases resulted in 18 eligible studies (n = 1150) for meta-analyses.

After exclusion of one outlier SAMs had small to medium effects on anxiety and on depression, when compared with controls. Summary effect estimates decreased, but remained significant when corrected for potential publication bias.

This is the first meta-analysis to show that the mere, regular performance of mindfulness exercises is beneficial, even without being integrated in larger therapeutic frameworks.

View full abstract at Science Direct 

Article available to Rotherham NHS staff on request 


A systematic review of the impact of mindfulness on the well-being of healthcare professionals

This article is a systematic review of empirical studies pertaining to mindfulness in healthcare professionals | Journal of Clinical Psychology

Databases were reviewed from the start of records to January 2016. Eligibility criteria included empirical analyses of mindfulness and well-being outcomes acquired in relation to practice. 81 papers met the eligibility criteria, comprising a total of 3,805 participants. Studies were principally examined for outcomes such as burnout, distress, anxiety, depression, and stress.

Mindfulness was generally associated with positive outcomes in relation to most measures (although results were more equivocal with respect to some outcomes, most notably burnout).

Overall, mindfulness does appear to improve the well-being of healthcare professionals. However, the quality of the studies was inconsistent, so further research is needed, particularly high-quality randomized controlled trials.

Full reference: Lomas, T. et al. (2017) A systematic review of the impact of mindfulness on the well-being of healthcare professionals. Journal of Clinical Psychology. Published online: 28 July 2017

Mindfulness- and Relaxation-Based eHealth Interventions for Patients

This systematic review aims to summarize eHealth studies with mindfulness- and relaxation-based interventions for medical conditions and to determine whether eHealth interventions have positive effects on health | International Journal of Behavioral Medicine

A comprehensive search of five databases was conducted for all available studies from 1990 to 2015. Studies were included if the intervention was mainly technology delivered and included a mindfulness- or relaxation-based intervention strategy and if patients with a medical condition were treated. Treatment effects were summarized for different outcomes.

A total of 2383 records were identified, of which 17 studies with 1855 patients were included in this systematic review. These studies were conducted in patients with irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, cancer, chronic pain, surgery, and hypertension. All but one study were delivered online through a web-based platform; one study delivered the intervention with iPods. The studies indicate that mindfulness- and relaxation-based eHealth interventions can have positive effects on patients’ general health and psychological well-being. No effects were found for stress or mindfulness. Only five studies reported economic analyses of eHealth interventions without any clear conclusion.

There is some evidence that mindfulness- and relaxation-based eHealth interventions for medical conditions can have positive effects on health outcomes. Therefore, such interventions might be a useful addition to standard medical care. No app studies were retrieved, even though a vast number of smartphone apps exist which aim at increasing users’ health. Therefore, more studies investigating those health apps are needed.

Full reference: Mikolasek, M. et al. (2017) Effectiveness of Mindfulness- and Relaxation-Based eHealth Interventions for Patients with Medical Conditions: a Systematic Review and Synthesis. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. Published Online: 27 July 2017

Efficacy of mindfulness meditation for smoking cessation

This systematic review summarizes randomized controlled trials of mindfulness meditation for smoking cessation.


Smokers increasingly seek alternative interventions to assist in cessation or reduction efforts. Mindfulness meditation, which facilitates detached observation and paying attention to the present moment with openness, curiosity, and acceptance, has recently been studied as a smoking cessation intervention.

MM did not differ significantly from comparator interventions in their effects on tobacco use. Low-quality evidence, variability in study design among the small number of existing studies, and publication bias suggest that additional, high-quality adequately powered RCTs should be conducted.

Full reference: Maglionea, M.A. et al. (2017) Efficacy of mindfulness meditation for smoking cessation: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Addictive Behaviors
69(June) pp. 27–34

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Treating Low Back Pain

Anheyer, D. et al. Annals of Internal Medicine | Published online: 25 April 2017


Background: Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is frequently used to treat pain-related conditions, but its effects on low back pain are uncertain.

Purpose: To assess the efficacy and safety of MBSR in patients with low back pain.

Conclusion: Mindfulness-based stress reduction may be associated with short-term effects on pain intensity and physical functioning. Long-term RCTs that compare MBSR versus active treatments are needed in order to best understand the role of MBSR in the management of low back pain.

Read the full abstract here

Mindfulness-based interventions in epilepsy: a systematic review

Wood, K. et al. (2017) BMC Neurology. 17(52)

Background: Mindfulness based interventions (MBIs) are increasingly used to help patients cope with physical and mental long-term conditions (LTCs). Epilepsy is associated with a range of mental and physical comorbidities that have a detrimental effect on quality of life (QOL), but it is not clear whether MBIs can help. We systematically reviewed the literature to determine the effectiveness of MBIs in people with epilepsy.

Conclusion: This systematic review found limited evidence for the effectiveness of MBIs in epilepsy, however preliminary evidence suggests it may lead to some improvement in anxiety, depression and quality of life. Further trials with larger sample sizes, active control groups and longer follow-ups are needed before the evidence for MBIs in epilepsy can be conclusively determined.

Full article available here