Mind-Body Approaches to Treating Mental Health Symptoms Among Disadvantaged Populations: A Comprehensive Review

J Altern Complement Med. 2016 Feb;22(2):115-24. doi: 10.1089/acm.2015.0038. Epub 2015 Nov 5.


Mind-body approaches are commonly used to treat a variety of chronic health conditions, including depression and anxiety. A substantial proportion of individuals with depression and anxiety disorders do not receive conventional treatment; disadvantaged individuals are especially unlikely to receive treatment. Mind-body approaches offer a potentially more accessible and acceptable alternative to conventional mental health treatment for disadvantaged individuals, who may not otherwise receive mental health treatment. This review examines evidence for the efficacy of mind-body interventions for mental health symptoms among disadvantaged populations. While rates of utilization were relatively lower for racial/ethnic minorities, evidence suggests that significant proportions of racial/ethnic minorities are using complementary health approaches as health treatments, especially prayer/healers and natural or herbal remedies. This review of studies on the efficacy of mind-body interventions among disadvantaged populations found evidence for the efficacy of mind-body approaches for several mental and physical health symptoms, functioning, self-care, and overall quality of life.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / ethnology
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Anxiety Disorders / ethnology
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy*
  • Depression / ethnology
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Depressive Disorder / ethnology
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy*
  • Ethnicity
  • Humans
  • Mental Health*
  • Mind-Body Therapies*
  • Quality of Life
  • Racial Groups
  • Vulnerable Populations*