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).
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.”
Frail older adults who practiced tai chi reduced their risk of falling,
according to a study conducted at Emory University Medical School
Researchers noted that adults in their 70s, 80s and 90s—some of whom could not walk without assistance—who participated in weekly tai chi for 48 weeks had fewer falls than subjects who participated in wellness education, according to results published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (2003; 51 , 1804–5).
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.
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.
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