Mindfulness Meditation as a Complementary Health Therapy: A Useful Import into Africa?
Esther Ejiroghene Ajari 1 2 3 *
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1 College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo State, NIGERIA2 The TriHealthon, Ibadan, Oyo State, NIGERIA3 Center for Contemplative Science, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA* Corresponding Author

Abstract

Mindfulness meditation, a very common contemplative practice used to attain a conscious state of awareness, acceptance, openness and non-reactivity, was first modified in 1979 into a complementary health therapeutic practice. This practice has, since, gained the attention of scholars globally, with the greatest surge in interest seen in the last two decades. However, in Africa, research output on the psychological construct is very limited and certified trainers of the practice are almost non-existent despite the fact that the practice has been shown to relieve stress, a factor whose level is high in the continent, and has been associated with many common disease, illnesses and other negative outcomes. There is, therefore, an overwhelming need to draw public attention towards the practice and what it can offer African healthcare systems. However, this paper takes a neutral tone while creating this needed awareness, acting just as a guide towards unravelling the complexities of the practice and not as an advocacy piece promoting its implementation in healthcare systems across Africa. It achieves this aim by discussing the major reported positive and negative physiological effects of the practice; its application in the therapy of some common physical and mental disease/illness conditions; its benefits to healthcare workers and students, and informal caregivers; its limitations; the popular criticisms levelled against it; and factors in support and against its incorporation into African healthcare systems. The discourse is concluded with recommendation of strategies for refining the practice to suit the African healthcare scene.

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

EUR J ENV PUBLIC HLT, 2020, Volume 4, Issue 2, Article No: em0048

https://doi.org/10.29333/ejeph/8328

Publication date: 07 Jun 2020

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Article Downloads: 1211

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