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J Korean Med Assoc > Volume 54(3); 2011 > Article
Journal of the Korean Medical Association 2011;54(3):284-293.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5124/jkma.2011.54.3.284   
Stress management and mind-body medicine: focusing on relaxation and meditation
Yune Sik Kang
Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine and Gyeongsang Institute of Health Science, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, Korea. kys513@gsnu.ac.kr
Abstract
Stress management is important and various stress management methods are required in the area of clinical preventive services. Although defining stress is somewhat complicated, stress can usually be divided into two concepts, stressors and the stress reaction. Stressors are stimuli that arouse the stress reaction. Examples are disasters, life events requiring changes, and everyday hassles. The stress reaction is often called the 'fight or flight reaction' and is mediated by the sympathetic nervous system and various hormones, including cortisol and catecholamine. Stress is closely related with health behaviors and several chronic diseases. Stress is measured using biological tests or self report, including questionnaires and interviews. Psychosocial Wellbeing Index-Short Form, Brief Ecounter PsychoSocial Instrument-Korean version, Global Assessment of Recent Stress Scale, and Symptom Checklist-90-Revised are examples of questionnaires that are widely used in Korea. Stress coping methods are categorized into stimuli-oriented methods, cognitive-behavioral methods, and mind-body interventions. Relaxation and meditation are widely used mind-body medical interventions. Relaxation Response and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction are two of the most widely used meditative programs in the Western mainstream medical system. Abdominal breathing, Progressive Muscular Relaxation, relaxing imagery, Autogenic Training, and biofeedback are other well-known techniques for relaxation and stress management. Relaxation and meditation are effective in improving health behaviors and quality of life, and complement the treatment methods of various chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disorders and cancer. Relaxation and meditation also seem to be effective methods for use in clinical preventive services. Program development, standardization, and further study are necessary for more widespread use of mind-body interventions in the area of clinical preventive services.
Key Words: Psychological stress, Mind-body therapies, Relaxation, Meditation, Clinical preventive service
 


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