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‘Total relaxation’: Buddhist mindfulness-based intervention in laypersons and patients with cancer
  1. Suthida Suwanvecho1,
  2. Buntharika Suwanvecho2 and
  3. Krit Pongpirul3,4
  1. 1 Horizon Cancer Center, Bumrungrad International Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand
  2. 2 Dental Center, Police General Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand
  3. 3 Preventive and Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Chulalongkorn University Faculty of Medicine, Bangkok, Thailand
  4. 4 Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Krit Pongpirul, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand; doctorkrit{at}, krit.po{at}

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Mindfulness-based approaches to alleviate the sufferings of palliative care patients have been promising in practice. Total relaxation (TR), a mindfulness-based intervention based on the Buddha’s teaching of Sutra on Full Awareness of Breathing (Anapanasati Sutta) and Sutra on the Four Establishments of Mindfulness (Satipatthana Sutta). The term TR was introduced by Thich Nhat Hanh, the Founder of Plum Village, France, a Buddhist monastery for monks and nuns and a mindfulness practice centre for laypeople. The qualitative in-depth interview with key experts and experienced practitioners revealed the following key concepts: be aware of the breath, be aware of and relax the whole body, resulting in a state of total mind and body ‘resting’. TR usually takes 45–60 min in a supine position and could be done unguided in people who know how to practice, whereas a beginner should have an experienced practitioner to guide through the process.

We conducted pilot studies to explore benefits of TR perceived by laypersons and to share experience in piloting the intervention in patients with cancer. Layperson participants were recruited at the 5-day retreat ‘The Way Out Is In’ organised by The Thai Plum Village Foundation at Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand, during 22–26 October 2014. TR was offered as the first …

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  • Contributors SS conceived of the idea and collected the data. SS and BS conducted the procedure. KP helped to design the study and analysed the data. SS and KP drafted the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by the Bumrungrad International – Institutional Review Board (BI-IRB 208-12-15 Dq).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.