This week, I attended my first volunteer session at the Center for Mindfulness (CFM) lab at UMass Medical school in Shrewsbury. The CFM offers training programs for mindfulness-based practices and conducts research on the affects of mindfulness.
I attended a 5-day mindfulness tools training program about 18 months ago in January, 2016, where I was introduced to the center. Since then, I have occasionally attended free guided meditation sessions offered to course graduates and the local community.
The center offers several training courses like the Mindful Eating course above which helps attendees use mindful practices to change unhealthy relationships with food. Another course that many people have taken is the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction.
Research – One day a few months ago, I was looking at the CFM website to see what was new and noticed that the research team was accepting volunteers to work in the research lab as technicians. I immediately applied, had an interview and was accepted.
I learned that the research lab is currently exploring the effectiveness of real-time neurofeedback for augmenting mindfulness-based stress reduction training. Basically students in the MBSR course above are given the opportunity to participate in the research study that monitors the affect of meditation on the brain in real-time.
My role as an EEG technician volunteer is to attach and detach electrodes to the head cap shown below and support the scientist leading the research session by updating an online tool with data obtained during the session. The photo below shows the head cap on a research participant from the CFM website.
If you’re interested in the CFM, check them out here: http://www.umassmed.edu/cfm/
One more thing, the Center for Mindfulness also has a research study that is exploring how to use mindfulness for smoking cessation. So if you are a smoker or know someone who is, you might want to check them out at the link below.