In a 2017 paper published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, a team of 15 psychiatrists, psychologists, and mindfulness experts from 15 different institutions outline the problems they see with the current state of the mindfulness industry and what might be done about it. In short, these experts are concerned with what they see: Lots of people and organizations — many of which are well-meaning — that have gotten overzealous as they make lots of money off of mindfulness therapies.
“In my opinion, there are far too many organizations, companies, and therapists moving forward with the implementation of ‘mindfulness-based’ treatments, apps, et cetera before the research can actually tell us whether it actually works, and what the risk-reward ratio is,” corresponding author and University of Melbourne research fellow Nicholas Van Dam, Ph.D. tells Inverse.
“People are spending a lot of money and time learning to meditate, listening to guest speakers about corporate integration of mindfulness, and watching TED talks about how mindfulness is going to supercharge their brain and help them live longer. Best case scenario, some of the advertising is true. Worst case scenario: very little to none of the advertising is true and people may actually get hurt (e.g., experience serious adverse effects).”
Despite these criticisms of mindfulness, even major corporations like Google, General Mills, and Target have invested in mindfulness training to boost employees’ productivity. The British government is giving schoolchildren mindfulness training.
It may sound alarmist to say people could be hurt by a practice that seems as simple as taking deep breaths and being present in your body, but it’s important to remember that in many cases, people receiving mindfulness therapy may be living with very real mental health issues. There is some evidence that mindfulness-based therapies can help people with certain issues, like substance use, but it’s very limited. Van Dam and his colleagues worry that the overuse of mindfulness-based therapies could turn people off to the whole field before psychologists even figure out the best way to help them.
“I think the biggest concern among my co-authors and I is that people will give up on mindfulness and/or meditation because they try it and it doesn’t work as promised,” says Van Dam.
“There may really be something to mindfulness, but it will be hard for us to find out if everyone gives up before we’ve even started to explore its best potential uses.”
The authors of the study make their attitudes clear when it comes to the current state of the mindfulness industry: “Misinformation and poor methodology associated with past studies of mindfulness may lead public consumers to be harmed, misled, and disappointed,” they write. And while this comes off as unequivocal, some think they don’t go far enough in calling out specific instances of quackery.
“It’s not bare-knuckle, that’s for sure. I’m sure it got watered down in the review process,” James Coyne, Ph.D., an outspoken psychologist who’s extensively criticized the mindfulness industry, tells Inverse.
Coyne agrees with the conceptual issues outlined in the paper, specifically the fact that many mindfulness therapies are based on science that doesn’t really prove their efficacy, as well as the fact that researchers with copyrights on mindfulness therapies have financial conflicts of interest that could influence their research. But he thinks the authors are too concerned with tone policing.
“I do appreciate that they acknowledged other views, but they kept out anybody who would have challenged their perspective,” he says.
Regarding Coyne’s criticism about calling out individuals, Van Dam says the authors avoided doing that so as not to alienate people and stifle dialogue.
“I honestly don’t think that my providing a list of ‘quacks’ would stop people from listening to them,” says Van Dam. “Moreover, I suspect my doing so would damage the possibility of having a real conversation with them and the people that have been charmed by them.” If you need any evidence of this, look at David “Avocado” Wolfe, whose notoriety as a quack seems to make him even more popular as a victim of “the establishment.” So yes, this paper may not go so far as some would like, but it is a first step toward drawing attention to the often flawed science underlying mindfulness therapies.
Peter Hess is a writer living in New York. He is preoccupied with Star Wars and memes, but he writes about climate change, chatbots and ants. You may have seen his work in Popular Science, New Scientist and Motherboard." https://getpocket.com/explore/item/psychologists-express-growing-concern-with-mindfulness-meditation?utm_source=pocket-newtab-global-en-GB
I have personal experience of the use of Mindfulness in a conventional medicine based therapeutic setting as part of a cognitive behavioural approach, quote; "Cognitive therapy roots
One of the first therapists to address cognition in psychotherapy was Alfred Adler with his notion of basic mistakes and how they contributed to creation of unhealthy or useless behavioral and life goals. Adler's work influenced the work of Albert Ellis, who developed the earliest cognitive-based psychotherapy, known today as rational emotive behavior therapy, or REBT. Ellis also credits Abraham Low as a founder of cognitive behavioral therapy.
Around the same time that rational emotive therapy, as it was known then, was being developed, Aaron T. Beck was conducting free association sessions in his psychoanalytic practice. During these sessions, Beck noticed that thoughts were not as unconscious as Freud had previously theorized, and that certain types of thinking may be the culprits of emotional distress. It was from this hypothesis that Beck developed cognitive therapy, and called these thoughts "automatic thoughts". Beck has been referred to as "the father of cognitive behavioral therapy."
It was these two therapies, rational emotive therapy and cognitive therapy, that started the "second wave" of CBT, which was the emphasis on cognitive factors.
Behavior and cognitive therapies merge – "third wave" CBT
Although the early behavioral approaches were successful in many of the neurotic disorders, they had little success in treating depression. Behaviorism was also losing in popularity due to the so-called "cognitive revolution". The therapeutic approaches of Albert Ellis and Aaron T. Beck gained popularity among behavior therapists, despite the earlier behaviorist rejection of "mentalistic" concepts like thoughts and cognitions. Both of these systems included behavioral elements and interventions and primarily concentrated on problems in the present.
In initial studies, cognitive therapy was often contrasted with behavioral treatments to see which was most effective. During the 1980s and 1990s, cognitive and behavioral techniques were merged into cognitive behavioral therapy. Pivotal to this merging was the successful development of treatments for panic disorder by David M. Clark in the UK and David H. Barlow in the US.
Over time, cognitive behavior therapy came to be known not only as a therapy, but as an umbrella term for all cognitive-based psychotherapies. These therapies include, but are not limited to, rational emotive therapy (REBT), cognitive therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, reality therapy/choice theory, cognitive processing therapy, EMDR, and multimodal therapy. All of these therapies are a blending of cognitive- and behavior-based elements.
This blending of theoretical and technical foundations from both behavior and cognitive therapies constituted the "third wave" of CBT. The most prominent therapies of this third wave are dialectical behavior therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy.
Despite increasing popularity of "third-wave" treatment approaches, reviews of studies reveal there may be no difference in the effectiveness compared with "non-third wave" CBT for the treatment of depression." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_behavioral_therapy
In terms of conventional medicine and the (somewhat "so-called"), popularisation of Mindfullness Cognitive Behavioural Therapies "CBT" have represented the "entry point" into the practice of mindfullness and mindfull meditation (somewhat different things as was recognised by the yogis, terms such as, quote; "Ashta-anga-yoga, ashtanga-yoga ("eight-limbed union"): the eightfold yoga of Patanjali, consisting of moral discipline (yama), self-restraint (niyama), posture (asana), breath control (pranayama), sensory inhibition (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and ecstasy (samadhi), leading to liberation (kaivalya)" https://www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/200-key-sanskrit-yoga-terms and
, quote; "Sadhana. A Sanskrit word meaning “accomplishing”, sadhana means a spiritual discipline. It is beyond meditation and yoga, it is the spiritual commitment that powers your practice throughout the day. Sadhana can include yoga, chanting, meditation, mindfulness, prayer, ritual, reading spiritual texts – anything that makes your heart sing." https://mcleanmeditation.com/glossary-of-terms/ Describe a (to use a Platonic reference), "Unity of the Virtues" (after all "yoga" does mean "union"), whereby practises such as, quote; "Bhakti. A Sanskrit term referring to devotion, adoration, and love of the Divine, or toward the guru as a manifestation of the Divine (one of the four paths of practice of yoga: bhakti, karma, raja, jnana).
Bhakti Yoga. The yoga of love and devotion, one of the four fold types of yoga." and the fourfold path referred to, also describe specific practices (and when more specific Sanskrit terminology is used also different mental states), which when practised together complete the union that is the object of yoga.
This "unity of approach" is not dissimilar to that which is presented to the patient as CBT and/or Mindfullness.
All of this is well and good, however, the conventional practitioners are presented with a problem that yogis and (decent), psychotherapists do not suffer from, how to integrate such a therapeutic model into a ("conventional"), pharmaceutical based protocol. Most psychotherapists would assert the therapies they offer are best experienced with as little that affects cognitive ability floating around the patient's system as possible and this is also true of conventional practitioners of CBT, however, where "complimentary" practitioners differ is that there are certain therapies such as are homeopathically or "vibration-ally" based which they see as (literally in this case), "complimentary" to the process; the finest source for research in this area is undoubtedly the work of Dr.Edward Bach and those who have followed it, quote; "Edward Bach studied medicine first in Birmingham and later at the University College Hospital, London, where he was House Surgeon. He also worked in private practice, having a set of consulting rooms in Harley Street. As a bacteriologist and pathologist he undertook original research into vaccines in his own research laboratory.
Dr. Edward Bach qualified as a doctor in 1912. He stated as he received his diplomas, “it will take me five years to forget all I have been taught.”
In 1917 Dr. Bach was working on the wards tending to soldiers returned injured from France. One day he collapsed and was rushed into an operating theatre suffering from a severe haemorrhage. His colleagues operated to remove a tumour, but the prognosis was poor. When he came round they told Bach that he had only three months left to live.
As soon as he could get out of bed, Bach returned to his laboratory. He intended to advance his work as far as he could in the short time that remained. But as the weeks went by he began to get stronger. The three months came and went and found him in better health than ever. He was convinced that his sense of purpose was what saved him: he still had work to do.
His research into vaccines was going well, but despite this Dr Bach felt dissatisfied with the way doctors were expected to concentrate on diseases and ignore the whole person. He aspired to a more holistic approach to medicine. Perhaps this explains why, not being a homoeopath, he took a post at the Royal London Homoeopathic Hospital.
Once there he soon noticed the parallels between his work on vaccines and the principles of homoeopathy. He adapted his vaccines to produce a series of seven homoeopathic nosodes. This work and its subsequent publication brought him some fame in homoeopathic circles. People began to refer to him as ‘the second Hahnemann’.
The flower remedies
Up to now Bach had been working with bacteria, but he wanted to find remedies that would be purer and less reliant on the products of disease. He began collecting plants and in particular flowers – the most highly-developed part of a plant – in the hope of replacing the nosodes with a series of gentler remedies.
By 1930 he was so enthused by the direction his work was taking that Dr. Bach gave up his lucrative Harley Street practice and left London. Dr. Bach became determined to devote the rest of his life to the new system of medicine that he was sure could be found in nature. He took with him as his assistant a radiographer called Nora Weeks.
Just as he had abandoned his home, office and work, Dr. Bach began to abandon the scientific method and its reliance on laboratories and reductionism. He instead used his natural gifts as a healer, allowing his intuition to guide him to the right plants.
Over years of trial and error, which involved preparing and testing thousands of plants, he found one by one the remedies he wanted. Each was aimed at a particular mental state or emotion. He found that when he treated the personalities and feelings of his patients their unhappiness and physical distress would be alleviated naturally as the healing potential in their bodies was unblocked and allowed to work once more.
His life followed a seasonal pattern from 1930 to 1934. The spring and summer spent looking for and preparing the remedies; the winter giving help and advice to all who came looking for them. Most winters were spent in the coastal town of Cromer. Here he met and became friends with a local builder and healer, Victor Bullen.
By the time Dr. Bach and his assistant Nora Weeks came to live at Mount Vernon, Dr. Bach had discovered 19 of the remedies, and it was in the surrounding lanes and field that he found the remaining 19 remedies to complete the series. By now his body and mind were so in tune with his work that he would suffer a variety of emotional states until he found the plant that would help him. In this way, through great personal suffering and sacrifice, he completed his life’s work.
A year after announcing that his search for remedies was complete, Dr. Bach passed away peacefully on the evening of November 27th, 1936. He left behind him several lifetime’s experience and effort, and a system of medicine that is used all over the world.
Bach had enjoyed many years of successful research in London. His work brought him fame and a high professional standing among both orthodox and homoeopathic doctors. Now he had founded an entirely new approach to healing that concentrated exclusively on the emotional and spiritual health of people rather than their physical symptoms.
We might expect that on his death he would leave behind shelves full of notes and published writings. But here too he was determined to leave things as clear and uncluttered as possible. Throughout the process of finding new remedies, he stripped out from his practice unnecessary ideas and theories. The laboratory and orthodox research were the first things to go, but more followed." https://www.bachcentre.com/en/about-us/history/dr-bach/ I would post more but that might amount to giving a testimonial as a great deal of the modern research into the work of Dr.Bach has been done by a company that markets Bach's remedies as he originally intended them to be, suffice to say beneficial gut flora and fauna are central to an understanding of the mechanisms by which the remedies work, quote; "Instead, they found that species with an appendix have higher average concentrations of lymphoid (immune) tissue in the cecum. This finding suggests that the appendix may play an important role as a secondary immune organ. Lymphatic tissue can also stimulate growth of some types of beneficial gut bacteria, providing further evidence that the appendix may serve as a "safe house" for helpful gut bacteria." https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170109162333.htm
Thus we see a "unity of approach", Bach moved away from vaccination and instead began to look at gentler ways to stimulate endocrinal response (the same is true of good homeopaths -nb. not everything can be "proven*" and not everything can be "potentised*" some vibrations are beneficial and some are inimical-). Bach's remedies (specifically), address the emotional and mental state of the patient and attempt to bring them back into a state of balance which process can be easier facilitated should the patient also be practising Mindfulness as part of a CBT regime.
To me CBT is the "nuts and bolts" it is a basic framework that, if damaged, represents a serious threat to health but it does not exist in isolation (material resource, environment et.al being vital factors), neither is it an "end it itself".
You see it's o.k for conventional practitioners to embrace the practises they feel may help make (at least "some" -although how many that may be was one of the major subjects of the original article-), their patients "more productive members of society" (and therefore more capable of -to use an expression of Marx- "producing surplus value" for the profiteers), but ("aye and there's the rub!"), CBT (other cognitive therapies), and Mindfullness do not exist in isolation in the therapeutic continuum, in order that such "engines of sustainability" work the physician must embrace the concept of "biodiversity" within the therapeutic model and this would mean a move away from the exploitative palliative practices of "Big-Pharma". Until this is done CBT and conventional Mindfullness training will continue to produce "halfway-houses" who tread the terrible wheel of "Samsara" destined to continually bounce-back into therapy (or worse), because the underlying "miasmic**" causes of their conditions have never been fully addressed. Certainly in some cases CBT and Mindfullness are enough to furnish the patient with the tools they require to complete the process on their own but it must be remembered that this is all that is going on when conventional practitioners make their claims about "recovery rates", without the wider less financially bound medical community conventional model CBT and Mindfullness are (more or less), meaningless.
*"proven" vs "potentised". "Proven remedies are originally "succused", quote; "Convergent basic science evidence suggests that succussion (vigorous shaking) in the preparation of homeopathic remedies from animal, mineral, and plant sources, may persistently modify the physical structure of solvent to generate order, i.e., a unique informational signal, even in ultra-diluted solutions beyond Avogadro's number. Torres and Ruiz (1996) proposed that stochastic resonance in sensory systems is a model for optimizing detection of a weak signal (homeopathic remedy information) by addition of noise (succussions)" https://grantome.com/grant/NIH/R21-AT003212-03. "Potentising" uses the same physical principles but these are applied to "higher energy" state subjects such as flowers and crystals (the specifics for potentising which differ but the methodology is similar), whereby they are exposed to (usually spring), water directly under certain light conditions (either full sunlight in the case of flowers -usually for 3-4 hrs-, or full -literally-, moonlight for up to 12 hrs in the case of crystals).
**"Miasm". quote; "The concept of miasms was originally introduced by Dr Samuel Hahnemann, the founder of homeopathy. He was puzzled to find that some patients failed to respond to treatment, while others who improved relapsed after only a short time. He looked at these 'difficult' cases and found a common 'blocking' factor in their personal or family history - such as the presence of certain diseases which have been passed on from one generation to another. He called these blocks 'miasms'.
We might visualize a miasm as a void or lack of life-force. They are usually stored in the subtle bodies - especially the etheric, emotional, mental and, to a lesser extent, the astral body. Here miasms may lie dormant for long periods of time, only flaring up occasionally and leading to chronic or acute illnesses, trauma, stress and age-related conditions. A bad fall or emotional shock may easily allow them to filter down from the subtle bodies into the physical anatomy, resulting in the development of various symptoms. As we get older, our natural vitality diminishes, making it easier for miasms to emerge. This could help explain why we tend to become more prone to all kinds of disease as we age.
Flower essences help to remove miasms from the system. Once a remedy's life-force filters down to the physical level, an immediate rebalancing and readjustment begins to take place. The essences release the miasm from the cells' genetic material and from the subtle bodies, so that it can be discharged from the system.
It may take some time for these shifts to take place, so do not expect miracles to happen overnight.
Dr Hahnemann described three basic types of 'inherited' miasm (psora, syphilitic and sycosis) which he believed to be the underlying causes of chronic disease. Each predisposes a person to a particular range of health problems. Homeopaths have since added many more illness-causing miasms to this list, including tuberculosis, radiation and heavy metals.
Associated with suppressed skin disease, a psora miasm leads to imbalance in the rhythmic bodily functions and causes general mental and physical irritation. Typical symptoms are tiredness, anxiety, sadness or depression as well as skin disorders, congestion in the tissues and bone structure deformities.
Associated with suppressed syphilis, this miasm has a destructive effect on all the tissues, especially the bones. Cardiac and neurological symptoms are common. Those carrying this miasm are easily upset, sentimental, irritable and suspicious. This miasm may manifest as meningitis.
Associated with suppressed gonorrhoea, this miasm encourages congestion in the skin, the pelvic region, the joints and the digestive, respiratory and urinary tracts. It may cause fearfulness, nervousness and amorality.
This miasm may cause susceptibility to respiratory, circulatory, urinary and digestive problems, resulting, for example, in weight loss and poor circulation. Those carrying this miasm typically tend to be escapists who feel unable to make decisions or face life's realities. It may also manifest as mental illness and cancer.
Most homoeopathic research into miasms was conducted in the 1800s and early 1900s, when infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and syphilis were prevalent. Today we are
faced with new threats to our health which derive from modern-day pollutants and are known as 'acquired miasms'. Petrochemical
Springing from the major increase in petrol and chemical products, the problems this causes are fluid retention, diabetes, infertility, impotence, miscarriage, hair loss/greying hair, muscle degeneration, skin blemishes, or a metabolic imbalance resulting in the storage of fat in tissues. It also blocks assimilation of vitamin K, causing circulatory and endocrine disorders. Those affected find it difficult to resist stress and suffer from various types of psychosis, especially schizophrenia and autism. Leukaemia, skin and lymph cancer can also occur.
Associated with the massive increase in background radiation since the Second World War, this miasm primarily affects the skin, connective tissue, circulation and reproductive systems. Symptoms include premature ageing, slower cell division, loss of skin elasticity, rashes, lupus, skin cancer, anaemia, leukaemia, arthritis, allergies, bacterial inflammations (especially in the brain), hair loss, hardening of the arteries, miscarriage, excessive bleeding in women and sterility or a drop in sperm count in men.
Resulting from increased levels of toxic metals and chemicals such as lead, 'mercury, radium, arsenic, aluminium, fluoride and sulphuric acid, the symptoms of this miasm include allergies, fluid retention, an inability to assimilate calcium, viral inflammations and excessive hair loss.
Remedies to combat all these types of miasms can be found in the Repertory." https://www.flowersense.co.uk/encyclo_1.php Miasms are also created by emotional trauma and this is what Bach's remedies (and potentised remedies of all kinds), seek to address, the "blocking" referred to above in this case often stemming from a childhood trauma (possibly abuse of some kind), but like post-traumatic stress-disorder maisms can be created in adult life as-well.
Ref: Also the work of Dr.Masaru Emoto and Viktor Schsauberger, quote; "An excellent documentary on the genius of Viktor Schauberger and his son, Walter Schauberger, who spent their lives researching and utilising water's hidden qualities. A fascinating exploration of their groundbreaking discoveries and water's secret qualities, it begins with Shauberger's early work in the forest with log flumes in Austria. It goes on to explain how creating vortexes in water can cleanse the water and benefit our health and explores his free-energy devices.
It then explains why copper alloy tools and ploughs are effective, the vortex design of the Schuaberger plough and pipes, and much more.
Extraordinary that much of this work was kept secret for 50 years. Facinating documentary that we guarantee will stimulate!" https://www.permaculture.co.uk/Secrets-Water-Viktor-Schauberger
Quote; "*The common definition of miasm as; "a supposed predisposition to a particular disease" (go to: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=miasm&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&gws_rd=cr&ei=5V74VN6JBdbUar-8guAD ), exemplifies the type of "half-way house" thinking so common to the modern practice of Homoeopathic Medicine; a miasm is a repeated behaviour (always negative), that has its genesis in an original hurt (so far unresolved), whose consequences only worsen with repetition (and develop momentum that accelerates the thanotic process -"an ever decreasing circle"-)." https://www.arafel.co.uk/2015/03/putting-on-ritz.html