Mindfulness meditation trims craving for tobacco

Tang (left) and Posner
Tang (left) and Posner

Smokers trained with a form of mindfulness meditation known as Integrative Body-Mind Training curtailed smoking by 60 percent, according to a recent study by UO researchers published online in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

IBMT, which involves whole body relaxation, mental imagery and mindfulness training led by a qualified coach, has long been practiced in China. It has been under study for its potential impacts on a variety of stresses and related changes in the brain, including function and structure.

Co-authors of the paper, Yi-Yuan Tang of Texas Tech University in Lubbock and Michael Posner, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Oregon, have collaborated on a series of studies on IBMT. Tang, formerly a research professor at the UO, is now with the psychology department and director of the Neuroimaging Institute at Texas Tech.

"We found that participants who received IBMT training also experienced a significant decrease in their craving for cigarettes," Tang said. "Because mindfulness meditation promotes personal control and has been shown to positively affect attention and an openness to internal and external experiences, we believe that meditation may be helpful for coping with symptoms of addiction."

- from a story by Jim Barlow, director of science and research communications