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).
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).
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.
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).