Before you make your next important decision, consider enjoying 15 minutes of mindful meditation. People who take such a break are more likely to make smarter choices, according to a study reported in Psychological Science (2014; doi: 10.1177/0956797613503853). “We found that a brief period of mindfulness meditation can encourage people to make more rational decisions by considering the information available in the present moment, while ignoring some of the other concerns that typically exacerbate the ‘sunk cost bias,’” said lead study author Andrew C.
Qigong is another mind-body practice that may help people to manage stress, according to a research review of seven randomized, controlled trials available in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2014; doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-8). Researchers from the University of Hong Kong conducted the review to evaluate qigong’s ability to reduce stress and anxiety among healthy adults.
Mind-body teaching professionals should consider reaching out to more teens, since mindful practices often effectively reduce stress. In 2013, the Stress in AmericaTM survey included teens for the first time (n = 1,018) and found that stress among this age group is rising, with negative consequences for both schoolwork and home life. American teens—from as young as 13 years old— reported unhealthy levels of stress, lack of certainty regarding stress management techniques, and rising levels of stress symptoms that adversely impact health.
Interesting findings about the impact of starting a yoga practice on sleep issues and inflammation markers have resulted from a study of 200 female breast cancer survivors. Fatigue and sleep problems pose significant challenges for these women.
“This [study] showed that modest yoga practice over a period of several months could have substantial benefits for breast cancer survivors,” said lead study author Janice K. Kiecolt-Glaser, PhD, professor of psychiatry and psychology at The Ohio State University in Columbus, in an OSU news release.
If you view food as medicine and a way of life, nutrition takes on a different meaning and purpose. Nourishing the physical being is only one aspect of the eating experience. When you expand your viewpoint, your relationship to food and eating becomes a reflection of how you live. Cravings, aversions and preferred eating environments provide messages on a deeper level. Food becomes a potential pathway for healing and self-exploration.
If you’re looking for a fresh, effective way to help your group participants move better, why not include foam rolling in your next class? Chances are some of your attendees are curious and could use some guided instruction.
This simple foam roller warm-up uses self-myofascial-release (SMR) techniques to warm up the fascia, allowing tissues to move more freely. Trauma, irritation, repetitive use and a sedentary lifestyle create stiffness and can shorten the muscles and/or fascia. A few minutes of SMR offers many benefits.
Pilates offers more than good exercise for the body; consistent practice leads to real improvements in life quality, notably better depth and quality of sleep, says recent research. A preliminary study with 30 young adults showed that participating in two 1-hour Pilates mat classes per week for 12 weeks improved both sleep quality and life quality. Subjects were healthy, inactive adults aged 20–24, who provided self-reports on how the Pilates tice affected these factors.
Among the various mind-body approaches out there, yoga and meditation-based therapies show the most promise for helping people to quit smoking, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s NCCAM Clinical Digest in January 2014. While more studies are needed, a research review of 14 clinical trials by investigators from Oregon Health & Science University in Portland found positive results from the practices of yoga, meditation and breathing exercises for people wanting to kick the smoking habit.
Ai chi, a form of water exercise developed by Jun Konno and inspired by tai chi, qigong and Watsu®, may benefit people with multiple sclerosis, according to preliminary research published in NeuroRehabilitation (2013; 33, 431–37).
Heart disease patients improve their odds. With growing research supporting the long-term health benefits of meditation, doctors may soon be prescribing the practice as a means of stress reduction for patients with heart disease.