Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) was introduced in 1979 by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, a scientist at the University of Massachusetts Medical Centre. He had been practicing meditation and wanted to offer its benefits in an accessible way to patients with chronic pain or conditions, who had come to the end of the road of conventional treatment. He believed that by learning to stay present with their situation, in an accepting and kind way, this might alleviate their suffering. The Center for Mindfulness was set up at the university, and Kabat-Zinn and his colleagues developed a structured 8-week programme for groups of patients, with training in mindfulness exercises and practices.
The MBSR programme is now taught all over the world. The efficacy of MBSR has been tested in many rigorous scientific studies, and found to be beneficial for both physical and psychological health and wellbeing. The evidence base on MBSR shows significant positive effect sizes with participants with chronic pain, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, generalised anxiety disorder and panic, psoriasis, cancer and health care provider self-care.