They randomly divided the participants into two groups- One took an eight-week mindfulness based stress reduction course and the other control group took an eight-week stress management education course.
Both courses had similar formats but only the former included training in meditative techniques.
For the stress test, the team monitored blood-based markers of subjects’ stress responses, namely levels of the stress hormone ACTH and the inflammatory proteins IL-6 and TNF-a.
A standard experimental technique for inducing a stress response in which the participants are asked at short notice to give a speech before an audience and are given other anxiety-inducing instructions.
“We were testing the patients’ resilience because that’s really the ultimate question-can we make people handle stress better,” Hoge stated.