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Science of Meditation

Meditation Rx

A study finds that physicians who practice mindfulness meditation communicate better.

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Meditation isn’t just useful for lowering stress levels in professions like medicine, it can also make doctors better communicators.

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Follow up to a study conducted at the University of Rochester Medical Center  found that physicians who practiced mindfulness meditation noted a difference in their listening and responsiveness skills, both professionally and in their personal lives.

Sixty percent of the physicians who participated in the 2009 study reported that their new mindfulness skills had improved their capacity to listen more attentively and respond more effectively to others.

“Interventions to improve the quality of primary care practice and practitioner well-being should promote a sense of community, specific mindfulness skills, and permission and time devoted to personal growth,” the study authors concluded.

These latest findings are the result of follow-up interviews with 20 physicians who participated in original study, which included eight weekly mindfulness-meditation and communication-skills training sessions, one all-day session, and a 10-month maintenance phase that included monthly 2 ½ hour sessions. That study concluded that mindfulness meditation and communication alleviated the stress and burnout many physicians experience.

This latest information will be published in the June issue of Academic Medicine.