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).
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).
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.
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.
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