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Mind CureHow Meditation Became Medicine$
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Wakoh Shannon Hickey

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190864248

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190864248.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 October 2020

Is Mindfulness Effective?

Is Mindfulness Effective?

(p.171) 6 Is Mindfulness Effective?
Mind Cure

Wakoh Shannon Hickey

Oxford University Press

This chapter asks whether mindfulness is as broadly effective and powerful as proponents claim and considers methodological and other critiques of clinical research on mindfulness. Neuroscientists have produced vivid images of meditators’ brains, using functional MRI and PET scans, which seem to show clear, positive changes attributed to meditation. Such images are effective rhetorically but are produced in a “black box” of assumptions, technological constraints, and human factors that make them less definitive than they may appear. Other types of studies rely on meditators’ self-reports, which are not always reliable. A major issue in clinical research is that mindfulness is inconsistently defined and may be measured by scientists unfamiliar with the ways that meditation is described in canonical texts and understood by experienced Buddhist teachers and yogis. While research data do suggest that mindfulness can be beneficial, it is not the panacea that some advocates seem to suggest it is.

Keywords:   Mindfulness, meditation, neuroscience, neuroplasticity, Dalai Lama, Mind and Life, Jon Kabat-Zinn, MBSR, brain research, fMRI

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