Welcome to Season 5 of Living Well with MS, the Overcoming MS podcast where we explore all topics relating to living well with multiple sclerosis (MS). In this episode, we are pleased to welcome internationally renowned mindfulness expert, Professor Craig Hassed

Keep reading for the key episode takeaways and Craig's bio. 

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Read the episode transcript here.

Key Takeaways

Improving mental health will have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body 

2:40: “Improving our mental health and well-being and reducing our stress has an anti-inflammatory effect. High levels of stress, anger, hostility, and poor emotional health have a pro-inflammatory effect. This is very important for an inflammatory based condition, like MS. But also, if there are any symptoms that we're dealing with, the "bothersomeness" of various symptoms seems to be improved through the practice of meditation.” 

Recordings are very helpful, but the ultimate goal is to meditate unguided 

22:13 “It's very useful to get comfortable with knowing the practice, feeling like we're understanding it [and] having guidance for a while. To wean ourselves off [guided meditation], maybe revisit the guided practice every so often, if you feel you need a top up or reminder. But ultimately, you want to be independent, so that you take it anywhere you go.” 

Visualising our bodies doing specific actions can aid in rehabilitation 

40:01 “What happens when we imagine that physical action is that it stimulates the circuits in the brain that are associated with doing that action. If there's a blockage for getting the message through, it keeps knocking on the door, and stimulates either new growth to try and bridge that gap or to find another way of getting the message through. What they found in the research is that people rehabilitate faster, better and get more function back if they have the mental practice, as well as the physical physiotherapy rehabilitation.” 

Professor Criag Hassed leads a 5-minute meditation at 46:15

Related Links

Professor Craid Hassed's Bio

Craig’s career

Professor Craig Hassed OAM has worked with the Faculty of Medicine at Monash University since 1989 but now teaches in many faculties as coordinator of mindfulness programs across Monash and the Director of Education at the Monash Centre for Consciousness and Contemplative Studies (M3CS).  

His teaching, research and clinical interests include mindfulness, mind-body medicine and lifestyle medicine. Craig has authored 120 papers in peer-reviewed journals and published 14 books and 17 book chapters.  

He is regularly invited to speak and run courses in his native Australia and overseas in health, educational, government and corporate contexts. He is patron of Meditation Australia, a regular media commentator and co-authored the world’s two leading mindfulness massive open online courses in collaboration with Monash University and FutureLearn.  

In 2019 Craig was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to Medicine. 

Craig and Overcoming MS 

Craig has previously worked with Overcoming MS as a facilitator at Overcoming MS retreats. He also wrote a chapter in the Overcoming MS Handbook on ‘Meditation, mindfulness and the mind-body connection’.

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