Once thought of as an esoteric, mystical pursuit, meditation is going mainstream. A government survey found that about 1 out of 11 Americans, more than 20 million, meditated in the past year. And a growing number of medical centers are teaching meditation to patients for relief of pain and stress.
More than 240 programs in clinics and hospitals teach the same type of meditation that Ryan learned, says Jon Kabat-Zinn, who developed mindfulness-based stress reduction 30 years ago at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. Other types, such as transcendental meditation, use a mantra or repeated phrase.