The Center for Mind-Body Medicine

The Center is committed to the scientific evaluation of its programs.

The Center is committed to the scientific evaluation of its programs.

Our research mission: to evaluate the effectiveness of mind-body medicine with regard to clinical applications and professional training, and to contribute to the scientific literature on mind-body medicine.

A Few Key Studies

Key studies to help you understand the efficacy of our mind-body medicine model for both individual and population-wide healing include:

PTSD Studies

I. The first randomized controlled trial (RCT) of any intervention with war-traumatized children and the first RCT of a successful, comprehensive mind-body approach with any traumatized population

Gordon, James S., Staples, Julie K., Blyta, Afrim, Bytyqi, Murat and Wilson, Amy T. 
Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Postwar Kosovar Adolescents Using Mind-Body Skills Groups: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 2008 Sep;69 (9):1469-76.

This study demonstrates that the Center’s groundbreaking model can be used to produce highly significant and lasting changes in levels of posttraumatic stress symptoms in highly traumatized children.

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82 high school students in Kosovo participated in this randomized-controlled study. The program was conducted by teachers in an educational, supportive small group setting and included meditation, guided imagery, breathing techniques, and biofeedback as well as self-expression through words, drawings, and movement. All the students met the criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which was measured using the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire. Following the program, the number of students having symptoms indicating PTSD was significantly reduced from 100% to 18%. The reduction in symptoms was maintained at a 3 month follow-up.


II. A study showing mind-body skills groups reduced symptoms of PTSD, depression and feelings of hopelessness in war-traumatized Palestinian children and adolescents

Staples JK, Abdel Attai JA, Gordon JS. Mind-body skills groups for posttraumatic stress disorder and depression symptoms in Palestinian children and adolescents in Gaza. Int J Stress Manag. 2011; 18(3): 246-262. doi: 10.1037/a0024015

It is noteworthy that improvements were maintained at a 7 month follow-up despite ongoing economic hardship and conflict.

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500 children participated in mind-body skills groups taught by 31 CMBM trained health professionals in Gaza in 2007-2008. Prior to participation in the program, 26% of the children had symptoms which qualified them as having PTSD. In those having qualifying PTSD symptoms, the PTSD symptom scores were significantly decreased (56%) following the program. This improvement was partially maintained at 7 month follow-up with a 39% decrease in scores compared to baseline.

56% of those qualifying as having PTSD also qualified as having depression using cutoff values on the Children’s Depression Inventory. The depression scores were significantly decreased (29%) following the program. This improvement was partially maintained at 7 month follow-up with a 20% decrease in scores compared to baseline. The children felt more hopeful about their future and their lives as indicated by a statistically significant decrease in hopelessness scores (28% decrease) following participation in the mind-body skills groups. This improvement was fully maintained at follow-up.


Mind-Body Medicine in Medical Education

III. A study performed at Georgetown University School of Medicine with first-year students using The Center for Mind-Body Medicine’s program

Saunders, P. A., Tractenberg, R. E., Chaterji, R., Amri, H., Harazduk, N., Gordon, J. S., Lumpkin, M., & Haramati, A. Promoting self-awareness and reflection through an experiential Mind-Body Skills course for first year medical students. Medical Teacher, 2007, 29: 778-784.

The results show that mind-body skills groups are a highly valued experiential approach to teaching and promoting self-awareness, self-reflection, and self care with an added benefit of increased awareness of the effectiveness of mind-body skills during medical school.

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492 verbatim responses from 82 first year medical students to six open-ended questions were analyzed. The students reported:

  • Meaningful connections among students and recognizing the importance of relationships to others;
  • Self-discovery, including changing priorities, reaffirmation of currently held beliefs, and open mindedness;
  • Appreciation for learning both mind-body skills and scientific material;
  • Stress relief
  • The value of mind-body skills in medical education.
Additional published research, research in progress and program evaluations can be accessed in the menu at the right.

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