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Shirley Archer

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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Article Archive

Mind-Body Training for U.S. Combat Soldiers

August 27, 2008

In this time of ongoing war, more soldiers are seeking mind-body preparation to protect their mental, emotional and physical well-being as they prepare for battle and also when they return home. Warrior Mind Training, a service organization based in San Diego, offers mind-body skills instruction in meditation and mindfulness to both veterans
and active-duty soldiers.

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Meditation Lowers Blood Cortisol Levels

August 4, 2008

Stress triggers many physiological changes in the body through the “fight or flight” response. When stress levels are high, levels of the hormone cortisol released into the bloodstream are also high. Studies confirm that chronic stress is associated with increased fat in the abdominal area, higher concentrations of blood sugar and insulin, higher blood pressure and higher levels of cho…

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Exercise Relieves Depression

April 25, 2008

Doctors may soon be able to recommend exercise as a viable alternative to drug therapy for patients with depression. According to a study published in Psychosomatic Medicine (2007; 69, 587-96), patients who exercised in a group program achieved reductions in depression comparable to those seen in patients taking a standard antidepressant medication. For patients who exercised on their …

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Automated External Defibrillators in Fitness Facilities

April 23, 2008

Numerous
states now require fitness facilities to have at least one automated external
defibrillator (AED) on-site, along with trained staff. As of press time, there
are 10 of these states—Arkansas, Calif­ornia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana,
Massa­chusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York (for clubs with more than 500
members) and Rhode Island—plus Washington, …

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What Is Power Yoga?

April 1, 2008

In our ongoing series on yoga in the United States, this
month’s column looks at the roots of “power yoga,” a term widely used in
America to describe the style known in India as ashtanga yoga. Sri K. Pattabhi
Jois introduced the Indian ashtanga practice to Westerners as early as 1964. In
the late 1980s, Beryl Bender Birch and Bryan Kest both coined the name Read More

NATA Recommends Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates

March 31, 2008

The National Athletic
Trainers Association (NATA) recognizes the benefits of practicing yoga, tai chi
and Pilates. The organization has released a 10-step guide to help people of
all ages improve their quality of life by reducing physical stress and preventing
back pain. One of the 10 recommendations, “Make yourself mobile,” notes that
poor posture and muscle stiffne…

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Biological Impact of Loneliness

March 31, 2008

Scientists have long known that people who suffer
from loneliness or social isolation have a higher mortality rate than people
who don’t. What has not been known is whether loneliness has a direct
biological impact on health or whether the effect is indirect, stemming from
the fact that lonely people have fewer social resources (e.g., physical or
economic help…

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Meditation and Yoga Top Spa Body-Mind Programs

March 31, 2008

Nineteen percent of American spas
provide body-mind-spirit offerings, and meditation and yoga are the core
services at those spas, according to the International Spa Association’s 2007
Spa Industry Study. Relaxation classes and tai chi are the next …

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Meditation Helps Rheumatoid Arthritis

February 27, 2008

Adults with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) who participated regularly in a 6-month meditation program experienced less emotional distress and a higher quality of well-being than their counterparts who did not meditate. This finding, from a small study published in the October 2007 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, adds to the growing body of evidence that body-mind practices can help peo…

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Short-Term Meditation Offers Benefits

January 31, 2008

One of the barriers to consistent meditation practice is that people feel they do not have enough time. A small study conducted in China has shown that meditating as little as 20 minutes daily over a 5-day period can improve both attention and mood.

Integrative body-mind training (IBMT) combines a number of traditional Chinese-medicine techniques, including body relaxation, bre…

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Qigong Helps Neck Pain

January 31, 2008

Qigong is as effective as exercise therapy for alleviating long-term, nonspecific neck pain, according to a small study published in the October 15 issue of Spine (2007; 32, 2415-22). A wellness practice from Chinese medicine, qigong uses slow movements, breathing exercises and meditation to improve the flow of qi, or life energy. The aim is to restore balance in body, mind and spirit. “…

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Becoming a Certified Feldenkrais Teacher

January 31, 2008

The Feldenkrais Method® of Somatic Education, developed by Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984), continues to grow in popularity. The purpose of Feldenkrais training is to improve movement and enhance functionality. The two main programs consist of group classes known as Awareness Through Movement® and private sessions referred to as Functional Integration®. In the group classes, an instructor leads s…

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World’s Largest Tai Chi Class

January 31, 2008

More than 20,000 individuals participated in a 20-minute tai chi class on the grounds of the former Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to The People’s Republic of China, according to an article on The Official Website of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games (http://en.beijing2008.cn). This sets the world record for the largest tai chi class h…

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Pilates for Hip and Knee Patients

December 31, 2007

A Pilates program specifically designed for patients undergoing knee and hip replacements during the pre/postoperative phases may speed recovery.

Two reconstructive physicians and two certified Pilates professionals have recommended that patients undergoing total hip or knee arthroplasty follow a protocol of Pilates exercises. The protocol, published in the Bulletin of the NYU H…

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What Is Yin Yoga?

December 31, 2007

While all yoga practices trace their roots to India, a number of yoga styles that blend a variety of influences have emerged in the United States. One style growing in popularity is referred to as “yin yoga.” Yin yoga blends the Taoist meridian and acupuncture theories of China with the yogic and tantric theories of India, according to Paul Grilley. Grilley trained with Paulie Zink and Dr. Hiro…

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Effective Coping Skills Increase “Good” Cholesterol

October 31, 2007

People who deal effectively with stress may enjoy not only greater peace of mind and spirit but also better physical health. In the Normative Aging Study, older Caucasian men with more effective skills for coping with stress had higher levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol than their more hostile or socially isolated peers.

Investigators from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Oregon Stat…

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Wellness Festivals Grow in Popularity

October 31, 2007

Body-mind fitness and wellness professionals should note the growing trend of wellness festivals occurring throughout the nation. For example, in Jackson, Wyoming; Sun Valley, Idaho; Snowmass Village, Colorado; and Mammoth Lakes, California, wellness festivals are now popular annual events, according to an article in The New York Times (August 3, 2007). Festival activities typically…

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International Inspiration

September 30, 2007

Nothing fires up fitness professionals more than the thought of helping others discover the joy of living healthy, active lives. Individually, we do phenomenal work to make a difference in our communities. Universally, however, we can’t do it all alone: we need to connect with each other to share knowledge and information and to brainstorm new ways to reach the people we want to serve. The fabu…

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