Workplace Based Mindfulness Practice and Inflammation: A Randomized Trial

Brain Behav Immun. 2013 Jan;27(1):145-54. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2012.10.009. Epub 2012 Oct 16.

Abstract

We have developed a low dose Mindfulness-Based Intervention (MBI-ld) that reduces the time committed to meetings and formal mindfulness practice, while conducting the sessions during the workday. This reduced the barriers commonly mentioned for non-participation in mindfulness programs. In a controlled randomized trial we studied university faculty and staff (n=186) who were found to have an elevated CRP level,>3.0 mg/ml, and who either had, or were at risk for cardiovascular disease. This study was designed to evaluate if MBI-ld could produce a greater decrease in CRP, IL-6 and cortisol than an active control group receiving a lifestyle education program when measured at the end of the 2 month interventions. We found that MBI-ld significantly enhanced mindfulness by 2-months and it was maintained for up to a year when compared to the education control. No significant changes were noted between interventions in cortisol, IL-6 levels or self-reported measures of perceived stress, depression and sleep quality at 2-months. Although not statistically significant (p=.08), the CRP level at 2-months was one mg/ml lower in the MBI-ld group than in the education control group, a change which may have clinical significance (Ridker et al., 2000; Wassel et al., 2010). A larger MBI-ld effect on CRP (as compared to control) occurred among participants who had a baseline BMI <30 (-2.67 mg/ml) than for those with BMI >30 (-0.18 mg/ml). We conclude that MBI-ld should be more fully investigated as a low-cost self-directed complementary strategy for decreasing inflammation, and it seems most promising for non-obese subjects.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / metabolism*
  • Inflammation / complications
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / therapy*
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Meditation / methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Mind-Body Therapies / methods*
  • Occupational Health Services / methods
  • Self Report
  • Stress, Psychological / complications
  • Stress, Psychological / metabolism
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Workplace

Substances

  • IL6 protein, human
  • Interleukin-6
  • C-Reactive Protein
  • Hydrocortisone