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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. 1Horizon Cancer Center, Bumrungrad International Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand
  2. 2Dental Center, Police General Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand
  3. 3Preventive and Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, Chulalongkorn University Faculty of Medicine, Bangkok, Thailand
  4. 4Johns 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}gmail.com, krit.po{at}chula.ac.th

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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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