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).
Aromatherapy may dull a person’s perception of pain, even though it does not actually reduce the body’s physical response to pain,
according to a study published in Psychosomatic Medicine (2004;
66 , 599–606).
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.
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).
Life constantly presents changes and challenges that promote learning, growth and optimal function. Individuals respond and adapt to these trials differently. When people lose their capacity to cope successfully, they can experience negative stress.
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.
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
Over two centuries ago, Benjamin Franklin used detailed grids to measure his progress toward the 13 goals he had set for himself (yes, that’s why the popular organizer is called a Franklin Planner). He believed
this logging process deepened his self-understanding and enhanced his efforts to modify his behavior. As he put it, “I was surprised to find myself so much fuller of faults than I had imagined, but I had the satisfaction of seeing them diminish.”
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.