Stress is universal and a well known cause of emotional and physical symptoms, especially gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms. In adults, mind body interventions have been clinically shown to result in long-term improvement in gastrointestinal symptoms, particularly those due to a functional cause. The Stress Management and Resiliency Training (SMART) program developed by the Benson-Henry Institute is one such intervention. The SMART program is an 8-week program designed to help participants build resiliency through a variety of mind body principles and self-care interventions, leading to reduced medical symptoms and enhanced quality of life.

Our mission in the Pediatric Mind Body Medicine Program is to help children with chronic GI conditions, especially those of a functional nature, recognize how stress can manifest and/or exacerbate gastrointestinal symptoms. We introduce them to the relaxation response, the body’s innate buffer to stress, which can be elicited in many ways, including meditation, mindful awareness, and exercise, and help them develop a long-term mind body practice to buffer the effects of stress on the body, reduce physical symptoms and build resiliency.

Our program is led by Dr. Mark Salvatore, MD, MS. Dr. Salvatore is a Benson-Henry SMART-Certified Healthcare Practitioner.

Conditions Treated

We treat all chronic GI conditions in children, especially functional disorders, including:

Services Provided

  • Help patients better understand the mind body connection and how stress can manifest as gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • Introduce patients to the relaxation response, which is the body’s innate buffer to stress and can be elicited in many ways.
  • Introduce the SMART Program as a treatment that can help patients better manage their stress and improve emotional and physical symptoms.
  • Work in conjunction with a pediatric psychologist, addressing patients’ environmental and internal stressors and developing adaptive coping strategies.
  • Work in conjunction with a pediatric psychiatrist, providing pharmacologic therapies to help treat functional GI disorders.