Winter swimming improved general well-being among participants in a study conducted by researchers at the University of Oulu in Finland and published in the International Journal of Circumpolar Health (2004; 63 , 140–4).
Physically trained participants showed improved performance on tests of cognitive function, heart rate variability and physical fitness (as measured by maximal oxygen consumption, or VO2max) when compared with detrained participants, shows a study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology (2004; Aug. 25, electronic publication).
Yoga, as well as other exercise that promotes balance, strength and flexibility, may be
effective for people with low-back pain, according to an article published in the Journal
of Family Practice (2004; 53 , 661–2).
Thirty college coeds who participated in a biweekly tai chi program for 3 months at Georgia State University in Atlanta had an improved perception of both physical and mental health, according to
results published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine (2004; 32 , 453–9).
Treatments that combine massage and yoga with “Pilates-like overtones” are one of the key emerging themes in the consumer spa experience, according to the International Spa Association’s 2004 Consumer Trends Report.
Findings from a short program in mindful meditation note demonstrable effects on brain and immune function from meditation. Results of a small study published in Psychosomatic Medicine (2003; 65, 564–70) showed that participants in an 8-week mindfulness meditation program had significant increases in left-frontal brain activation, a pattern associated with a positive mood state, compared with nonmeditators.
Nineteen percent of American adults surveyed responded that they had used at least one mind-body therapy in the last year, according to a survey conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School and published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine (2004; 19 , 43–50). Meditation, imagery and yoga were the most commonly used techniques. Researchers believe that much opportunity exists to increase use of mind-body therapies that have been demonstrated to be effective for particular conditions.s
People with higher levels of body awareness may experience more feelings of anxiety and other negative emotions. Results of a small study published in Nature Neuroscience (2004; 7 ,102–3) showed that subjects who were more aware of their own heart rate levels also felt more anxiety than subjects who lacked awareness of their own physical states.
New research shows that brain aging can begin as early as 40 years of age. Research results published in Nature (2004; 4 [24 June], 883–91), a scientific journal, show that damage in brain tissue involved in learning and memory caused by normal stresses of living varies among individuals in the middle-age years.