Science

Less Stress For Medical Students, Thanks To The New Mind-Body Course

By Enozia Vakil , May 14, 2013 07:54 AM EDT
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Medical students always seem to be drowned in pressure and stress, which is exactly why a study, published in the Medical Education Online, demonstrates how a mind-body course may help medical student's better cope up with their studies, with less stress and more feeling of empowerment.

"An effective career in medicine requires technical competence and expertise, but just as important is the ability to empathize and connect with others, including patients," said Robert Saper, MD, MPH, director of integrative medicine at Boston Medical Center and associate professor of family medicine at Boston University School of Medicine

However, students studying medicine often undergo a great deal of stress due to huge workloads, increased competition from fellow students and more, resulting in a decreased ability to connect with patients.

To avoid this, Allison Bond, a third year medical student, along with Heather Manson, founder and director of the Minded Institute, put together a new mind-body course, designed especially for aspiring medical graduates.

"Research has shown that mindfulness meditation and yoga may increase psychological well-being, which is why we looked at how a course based on these principles could impact medical students," said Bond.

The mind-body course is 11 weeks long, with lectures shedding light on the neuroscience of yoga, breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques, after which, the students would have a 60-minute yoga session along with meditation techniques and deep breathing practices.

The students were also asked to practice these exercises regularly, at least 3 days a week. The student participants were also asked to fill out a survey form, both before and after the course, so as to statistically evaluate the success of the course.

Final results have now confirmed that after enrolling themselves for this course, a good percent of medical students were less susceptible to stress, and developed more empathy and compassion towards their patients.

"Our study provides compelling evidence that mind-body approaches have benefits for medical students and could have a positive impact on their interaction with peers and patients," said Bond.

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