Mindfulness-and-Acceptance-Based Interventions (MABIs) in Physical Therapist Practice: The Time Is Now

Author: Joe Tatta1, Annette M Willgens2, Kerstin M Palombaro3
1 Integrative Pain Science Institute, New York, NY, USA.
2 Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
3 Widener University, Chester, PA, USA.
Conference/Journal: Phys Ther
Date published: 2022 Jan 3
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1093/ptj/pzab293. , Word Count: 230

One in 5 adults in the United States live with a mental illness, and many more struggle with stress-related chronic illnesses. Physical therapists often see the physical effects that stress has on the body, but there is an underutilization of evidence-based stress management strategies with patients and clients. Mindfulness-and-acceptance-based interventions (MABIs) constitute a family of methods that emphasize present-moment awareness, nonjudgment, and values-based living. They operate by teaching patients to cope with stressful thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations. MABIs are associated with improved health outcomes in areas commonly seen in physical therapist practice, including health promotion, physical function, injury prevention, pain management, immune function, and noncommunicable diseases. The purpose of this Perspective article is to (1) describe MABIs, (2) discuss the relevance of MABIs to physical therapist practice, (3) discuss the positive impact of MABIs for pain, sports, immune function, physical and mental health promotion and wellness, and (4) identify MABI outcome measures related to health behavior change. It is time.

Contemporary practice requires that physical therapists manage patient care by addressing both the mind and body. Given the existing research on MABIs, it is time to translate the evidence into minimum accreditable standards for health promotion and prevention of chronic, noncommunicable disease. This approach would have far-reaching benefits for individuals, family units, communities, and society as a whole.

Keywords: Education: Competency-Based; Mental Health; Mindfulness; Pain; Physical Therapy Techniques; Stress.

PMID: 35079796 DOI: 10.1093/ptj/pzab293