Meditation for Health is a Toronto medical clinic that has taught group programs of mindfulness since 1997. Patients come to us to learn Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), a self-care treatment for stress-related symptoms and chronic illness.
The MBSR program complements and supports conventional medical care. Through MBSR, patients learn how to mobilize their inner resources for coping and healing — especially for dealing with symptoms of chronic illness, and symptoms that no longer respond to standard medical treatment. Mindfulness practice helps people promote their own health by reducing the effects of stress in mind and body.
Has been useful for such conditions as:
- chronic pain
- anxiety and panic
- sleep disturbance & insomnia
- gastrointestinal distress
- job or family stress
- skin disorders
- high blood pressure
- stress factors in heart disease
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a particular way to be aware of the present moment.
When you’re mindful, you pay attention to what you’re experiencing right now. You’re simply aware of your experience — not needing to judge or change anything. You recognize the present moment just as it is.
When you practice mindfulness, you will often focus attention to things you usually ignore, for example:
Noticing the sounds you’re hearing right now…
or feeling your eyes moving… blinking…
Experiencing yourself sitting here in this chair…
feeling your legs… your feet…
Do you notice your next breath beginning?…
Here you are… sitting… breathing…
Aware of being here, now…
This is mindfulness.
What is MBSR?
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a program of meditation, physical movement, and other simple exercises that develop a person’s capacity for mindfulness.
Research studies show that many people who suffer from chronic pain and stress-related illness have been helped by the daily practice of MBSR.
The MBSR method was developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn and his colleagues at the Stress Reduction Clinic of the University of Massachusetts Medical School (now The Center for Mindfulness). Since that clinic first opened in 1979, MBSR has become a recognized medical intervention that inspires continuing research, and influences other treatment programs around the world.
MBSR is fully described in Dr. Kabat-Zinn’s book, Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness. The Meditation for Health program is closely modeled on this original MBSR program.
The practice of mindfulness has developed most formally in the spiritual traditions of Asia, but mindfulness is present also in traditional practices of the Western religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam). However, Meditation for Health is a secular medical program. We teach mindfulness as a basic awareness practice — a way of looking at things that can be shared by people of all faiths and philosophies.
This 9 week program is offered in 2 parts. (Participants usually find it’s more effective to attend both parts, but they can choose to attend only Part One if they prefer.)
- Orientation group meeting (2 hours) before MBSR program begins
- Five weekly, 3 hour group sessions (on a weekday)
- Four weekly, 3 hour group sessions (on a weekday)
- “The Day of Mindfulness” (a 6 1/2 hour group session on a Saturday)
All sessions are held at locations near Bloor & Spadina.
Between-session, telephone support is available, as needed.
Patients who complete the program are invited to attend follow-up meetings of meditation and discussion. These meet 3 times a year.
The medical services of the program are covered by OHIP if an insured patient is referred by their physician for medically necessary treatment.
As well, patients are charged a sign-up fee to pay for some materials and program services not insured by OHIP. (OHIP funding does not include participation by the program’s non-medical health professionals.)
- Part One fee for materials and non-OHIP services: $195
- Part Two fee for materials and non-OHIP services: $295
Note: Participants will also require MBSR recordings to guide home practice. Our recordings are available for download at this website (see bottom of page), or through iTunes. Recordings are also available in CD format for purchase by participants who require CDs.
Is your health worth 60 minutes a day?
Your commitment is the key to MBSR. To benefit fully, you’ll need to practice MBSR at home, every day for 8 weeks (excepting those days you attend group sessions). We’ll show you how and give you self-help recordings to guide your home practice. We intend to support you fully, but no one else can do the actual practicing for you — are YOU ready?
Lucinda Sykes, M.D. has taught medical programs of MBSR since 1997. She has participated in more than 20 training and educational events sponsored by the Center for Mindfulness at the University of Massachusetts — beginning with 2 residential training programs under the direction of Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn. Dr. Sykes has personally practiced meditation and hatha yoga for more than 30 years. She established Meditation for Health clinic in 1997. (more info…)
For more information:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time…
— T.S. Eliot —