“Is Meditation Overrated?” appeared on the Scientific American website last week, making the argument that the scientific evidence for meditation’s “widely-touted benefits” was “scant.” Author Melinda Moyer showcased a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine that reviewed 18,000 studies on meditation and concluded there was only “moderate evidence that mindfulness meditation alleviates pain, anxiety and depression.”
While Moyer makes her claim based on one piece of research—which is problematic in any field, let alone science—her claims touch on a huge issue in mindfulness research at this juncture: what’s it doing? Where’s it going? Where are we at? Here’s three points we’d like to make about mindfulness science today.
1. It’s true. We’re not quite there yet, folks.
Here’s the thing. Even people working on mindfulness research will admit that research about meditation—its benefits, how it works—is still in the preliminary stages. But they’re not suggesting we abandon the project. It means we have to be aware of just that: it’s a project. A work in progress.
“The biggest [scientific] advances that we’ve had have really been over the last ten years,” David Creswell, Director of Health & Human Performance Laboratory Carnegie Mellon…