The Biological Measurements of Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction: A Systematic Review.


Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, Florida Atlantic University, 777 Glades Rd, Boca Raton, FL 33431, USA. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : Chronic Stress disrupts homeostasis, resulting in adverse physiologic and psychologic sequela. Research on the effects of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) have primarily used self-report measures or biological measurements of a single body system. There has been no attempt to synthesize the literature of the biological measurements of MBSR.
OBJECTIVE : The objectives of this systematic review were to: (1) identify the biological markers of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) and (2) determine if the identified markers support the theories of allostasis and top-down, bottom-up processes.
METHODS : Seven databases, Pubmed/Medline, Embase, Psychinfo, Cochrane database, CINAHL, Medline/Web of Science and OVID from 1985 to May 2018 were searched for relevant studies.
METHODS : Mindfulness-based stress reduction studies were selected that used biomarkers or neuroimaging in adult clinical and non-clinical populations. Excluded studies were conference papers, abstracts, studies with no biological measurements, other mindfulness interventions, editorial articles, and feasibility studies DATA EXTRACTION: Sixty-seven studies from 11 articles were reviewed. Fifteen biological measurements were identified including autonomic, immune, inflammatory and neurobiological markers DATA SYNTHESIS AND CONCLUSIONS: The identified biological markers demonstrate preliminary support for the theories of allostasis and top-down, bottom-up processes. Recommendations for future research are discussed.


Allostatic load,Biological correlates,MBSR,Mindfulness-based stress reduction,Stress,Top-down and bottom-up processes,