Lisa Kaufmann, MD, Program Founder/Director
For over 30 years, Kaufmann has continued to practice various forms of meditation and yoga. The improvement in her ability to cope and concentrate inspired her to design a stress-reduction program based on these practices.
"As an internist, I realized my patients could benefit from these skills," Kaufmann says. "But patients often don't like to go outside the medical system for help."
Many people learn meditation because they suffer from chronic pain, heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, headaches, anxiety and other disorders. But many begin because their lives seem to be spinning out of control. "No matter what your condition, this can help you cope better," Kaufmann says. "You become more reality-based. Instead of fearing the future or fretting over the past, you learn to act in the present."
"It takes a certain discipline to do this," she says. "But to benefit from any of our programs, you must commit to the exercises. It's like learning to play the piano. You can't just read about it. You have to play it."
Years after participating in one of comprehensive programs, participant satisfaction remains high, according to Kaufmann. "Most people are using at least one of the techniques four years later. Some people experience dramatic improvements in their health, but whether or not their health improves, the ability to cope with life improves."
Dr. Kaufmann uses mindfulness in every part of her life. She is a Professor of Medicine, teaches medical students and residents, is the medical director of a large medical practice, sees patients of her own, and directs the Upstate Center for Health and Meditation. "Mindfulness and meditation allow me to focus and prioritize to enjoy every part of my life."
"I noticed years ago that very few long term meditators are overweight. Participants in our Stress Reduction Program who had previously had problems with food often commented that mindfulness made healthy eating much easier. Since obesity and its complications are the number one health problem in the United States, I really wanted to offer a formal program using mindfulness meditation techniques, especially mindful eating, to help people manage weight problems. In collaboration with Terry Podolak, RD, we launched the Mindful Eating Program in the fall of 2000." For more information about the Mindful Eating, please call 315 464-4992.
Meditation goes beyond helping people cope with stress or weight problems. Says Kaufmann, "Eventually it makes you aware of how you help create your own stress and helps you change those behaviors." For more information about Stress Reduction offerings, please call 315 464-3066.