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Friday, 17 August, 2001, 06:32 GMT 07:32 UK
Meditating against pain
stress reduction graphic
An American stress reduction specialist is setting out to share his techniques for helping hospital patients with cancer, HIV and psoriasis deal with pain and discomfort.

Jon Kabat-Zinn has devised a programme in the United States, based on a technique he calls "mindfulness".

He is embarking on a teaching tour of Europe to share his skills in the hope they can be put to good use on hospital wards and at medical centres.
stress picture
Illness came bring on stress

Mr Kabat-Zinn will meet Dr Nick Stuart, the new Professor of Cancer at the University of Wales, Bangor, and the North West Wales NHS Trust.

At Ysbyty Gwynedd's Oncology Department in Bangor, the technique is already been used to support patients.

Eighty-five medical and mental health delegates from the UK, Ireland, Holland and Germany will be attending a five-day training programme at the university.

Professor Mark Williams, at the university's Institute of Medical and Social Care Research, explained that 13,000 people had undergone 'mindfulness' training in the United States.

We have collected clear evidence of the value of this approach with people with a history of depression

Professor Mark Williams, University of Wales, Bangor

"Many claim that they feel more awake and alive. They talk about being more "present". They find they can learn to manage pain and difficulty," he said.

"People, who would otherwise have never got involved in meditation, now have a daily practice of sitting or lying meditation or gentle yoga."

Mr Kabat-Zinn has been practicing his techniques for the last 25 years, together with colleagues at the University of Massachusetts.

They claim a high success rate in supporting patients with a range of serious illnesses, improving the quality of life for many people.

The range of ailments the system has been used on ranges from stress-related gastrointestinal problems to high blood pressure, sleep disorders and anxiety.

Patients suffering from depression - which affects tens of thousands of people in the UK - have also reportedly benefited from the technique.

Professor Williams added: "Mindfulness is really catching on. We have collected clear evidence of the value of this approach with people with a history of depression."

See also:

12 Aug 01 | Health
Risk to depressed heart patients
10 Jul 01 | Health
Prisoners benefit from meditation
30 Oct 99 | South Asia
Chief Minister wants more yoga
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