Mindfulness Interventions in Physical Rehabilitation: A Scoping Review

Am J Occup Ther. 2016 May-Jun;70(3):7003290030p1-9. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2016.018069.


A scoping review was conducted to describe how mindfulness is used in physical rehabilitation, identify implications for occupational therapy practice, and guide future research on clinical mindfulness interventions. A systematic search of four literature databases produced 1,524 original abstracts, of which 16 articles were included. Although only 3 Level I or II studies were identified, the literature included suggests that mindfulness interventions are helpful for patients with musculoskeletal and chronic pain disorders and demonstrate trends toward outcome improvements for patients with neurocognitive and neuromotor disorders. Only 2 studies included an occupational therapist as the primary mindfulness provider, but all mindfulness interventions in the selected studies fit within the occupational therapy scope of practice according to the American Occupational Therapy Association's Occupational Therapy Practice Framework: Domain and Process. Higher-level research is needed to evaluate the effects of mindfulness interventions in physical rehabilitation and to determine best practices for the use of mindfulness by occupational therapy practitioners.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Pain / psychology
  • Chronic Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Mindfulness / methods*
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / psychology
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Neurocognitive Disorders / psychology
  • Neurocognitive Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / psychology
  • Neuromuscular Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Occupational Therapy / methods*