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
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.
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.”
Pilates, yoga and tai chi grew in popularity more than any other fitness activities from 2002 to 2003, according to the 2004 SGMA Sports Participation Trends report from the Superstudy® of Sports Participation. In 2003, 9.469 million people participated in Pilates training, representing a 102.7% increase from 2002. In the same year, 13.371 million people participated in yoga or tai chi, representing a 20.4% increase from 2002.
When clients are feeling stressed or down, they may want to pet their dogs—or borrow their friends’ canine companions! In an ongoing study, a University of Missouri (MU)-Columbia researcher has found that interacting with animals creates a hormonal response in humans that can help fight depression.
Are you looking for a mind-body technique that can increase the success rate of your clients? If so, you may be interested in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). Personal trainer and NLP master practitioner and coach Pam Rigden, MA, uses a unique combination
of NLP and more traditional personal training techniques to help clients address issues such
as weight loss, burnout and fatigue.
Do you have pregnant clients? If so, you may want to let them know that body massage by a significant other can reduce stress hormone levels in pregnant women. The reduction in stress increases the likelihood of a successful full-term pregnancy, according to a new study conducted by the Touch Research Institutes at the University of Miami School of Medicine and Duke University Medical School’s department of pharmacology. (The Johnson & Johnson Pediatric Institute LLC, the National Institute of Mental Health and the March of Dimes supported the study.)
What’s one way to lower the number of stressed-out adults who have hypertension? Help teenagers with high blood pressure.
A study of 156 inner-city black adolescents in Augusta, Georgia, with high-normal blood pressure showed that teens who practiced 15 minutes of transcendental meditation (TM) twice daily steadily lowered their daytime blood pressures over 4 months and that their pressures tended to stay lower, said Vernon A. Barnes, PhD, a physiologist at the Medical College of Georgia and the principal author of the paper.
In an era in which Americans are primarily concerned with losing weight and gaining muscle mass, it is no wonder that the slow-moving martial art of tai chi has been a bit of a hard sell.
Tai chi won’t fold under your bed for easy storage, nor will it claim to reduce inches off your waistline in “just 3 minutes a day.” The reality is, however, that those who practice tai chi are likely to get stronger, have less anxiety, move more organically and gracefully, improve their balance and enjoy more flexibility.
Yoga for Scoliosis. Yoga Union, located at Lila Wellness in New York City, offers the only
regular “Yoga and Scoliosis” class on the East Coast. Taught by registered yoga therapist Deborah Wolk, the class is promoted as being ideal not only for those with scoliosis, but for anyone with asymmetries of the spine.
Pilates Ring Workshops. Small-group classes on how to use the Pilates ring are offered as a “Group Exclusive” at select clubs in the Town Sports International network, including the New York Sports Clubs.