Mindfulness courses to help people suffering from stress, pain and illness have their roots in the Mindfulness based stress reduction course (MBSR) developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn in the late 1970's at the University of Massachusetts. here's a short film in which Jon kabat-Zinn reflects on mindfulness.
There is an ever increasing body of research showing the potential benefits of practicing mindfulness. Breathworks has research information as do Bangor University and the Oxford mindfulness centre who have researched how mindfulness training can help those with depression and help prevent relapse. Another source for research information is the University of Massachusetts.
Research has explored both the more objective effects of mindfulness such as alterations in the activity levels of parts of the brain as well as the more subjective elements, how people feel their lives have changed.
Matthew Ward FdBsc MBACP