Shirley Eichenberger-Archer, JD, MA
The effectiveness of mindfulness-based stress reduction [MBSR] in easing pain and improving quality of life and
well-being varies according to the nature of the chronic-pain condition and the consistency of home meditation practice, according to data analysis from a 6-year longitudinal study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research (2010; 68, 29–36).
People who experience cognitive impairments should be encouraged to engage
in regular cardiovascular activity, says
a recent study. Published in the January
issue of Archives of Neurology (2010; 67 , 71–79), the study sought to discover whether regular exercise could have a beneficial effect on mild cognitive impairment.
According to the Mayo Clinic website, mild cognitive impairment affects about 20% of the population over 70.
Tai chi practice in the workplace can improve functional fitness and feelings
of well-being, according to a study published in Work: A Journal of Prevention, Assessment and Rehabilitation (2009; 34 , 331–38). Researchers from York University, Toronto, studied the effects of a workplace tai chi program on physical fitness and well-being among female university employees who used computers. Fifty-two subjects participated in two 50-minute tai chi classes per week for
Using your iPhone as a tool for practicing yoga, Pilates, tai chi or meditation is only a click away. The iTunes Store features
hundreds of apps
(ranging in price
from free to $19.99)
to support anyone’s
discipline. The store
also offers topical
books, yoga TV
series and even
More muscle strength is associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline, according to a study published in the Archives of Neurology (2009; 66 , 1139–44). Researchers from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, studied more than 900 residents of retirement communities in the Chicago area who had no dementia at the beginning of the study. The scientists measured strength in nine muscle groups and then compared results with strength measurements and cognitive function approximately 31/2 years later.Read More
Children experience stress even if they don’t have all
the responsibilities of adults. Adverse experiences in childhood can impact both short- and long-term health. According to the Nemours Foundation, sources of
childhood stress include
A 3-day mindfulness meditation program reduced pain ratings and anxiety scores for young adults with no prior meditation training, according to a small study published in The Journal of Pain (2009; doi: 10.1016/j.pain.2009.07.015). What is important about this study is that researchers showed improvements in mindfulness and pain reduction after only three consecutive 20-minute training sessions.Read More
While use of mental imagery has been widely promoted as an effective complement to physical training, the scientific evidence to confirm that visualization enhances motor skills performance is only now emerging. Recent studies comparing motor skill acquisition by physical practice alone, by mental practice and by a combination of both have used functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine how these methods activate the brain. The studies have shown that mental imagery and motor skill performance produce activation in overlapping, but not identical, areas of the brain.Read More
Engaging in bridge employment—
defined as part-time, temporary or self-employment—as a transition to permanent retirement may enhance the health of older adults, according to a study published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology (2009; 14 , 374–89). Data analysis from 12,189 retirees
enrolled in the Health and Retirement Study formed the basis for this finding.
Carlos Rosas, co-founder of the Nia Technique together with Debbie Rosas, has announced his intention to retire from Nia after 2010. Founded in the early 1980s, Nia is a mind-body program that integrates martial arts, dance arts and the healing arts. Today, Nia has approximately 2,200 licensed teachers and is offered in at least 43 countries worldwide.Read More
Sustainability issues are on everyone’s minds. The Green Yoga Association is an organization founded to help studios and practitioners foster a connection between ecology and yoga. The association is involved in a number of
programs, including efforts to eliminate plastic water bottles from yoga events and studios; keep PVC and harmful chemicals out of yoga props; educate and support yoga teachers and studios; unite like-minded people for practice, activism and fun; and plant fruit trees to offset carbon emissions.
A brief qigong program may improve mood and self-esteem for people with traumatic brain injury, according to a pilot study published in Clinical Rehabilitation (2009; 23 , 589–98). Researchers from the University of Nottingham, in England, recruited 20 people with traumatic brain injury and randomly assigned them to participate in either a qigong exercise session for 1 hour per week for 8 weeks or non-exercise-based social and leisure activities for the same time period.Read More
Instructors debate the benefits and drawbacks of using mirrors as a teaching tool. According to a small study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies (2009; 13, 283–90), taking Pilates classes in a room with mirrors will not necessarily enhance the subsequent performance of a skill when mirrors are not present.Read More
Appreciating the positive moments of daily life can boost overall life satisfaction and build resilience in the face of adversity, according to a study published in Emotion (2009; 9 (3), 361–68). A team of researchers led by Barbara Frederickson, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and principal investigator at the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory, designed a study to test whether positive emotions are associated with ego resilience, which in turn predicts more positive emotions.Read More
The Brain Emporium, a brain exercise center founded and directed by T.J. McCallum, associate professor of psychology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, opened at the Fairhill Center in Cleveland in March 2009. The Brain Emporium is another example of the growing popularity of computer-based mental fitness games.Read More
Mind-body movement professionals should consider the impact that music can have on their programs. According to a new study published in Circulation (2009; 119 , 3171–80), loud music increases heart rate and blood pressure, while soft music lowers both, independent of subjective musical preferences. This study adds to the growing body
of research documenting the effects of music on mood and physiology.
Feldenkrais Method balance classes can help older adults improve balance and mobility, according to
a small study published in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2009; June 24, epub ahead of print). Research suggests that balance training may be more effective in preventing falls than either strength or endurance training.
Many people who succeed in losing weight struggle to keep it off. Finding solutions to this challenge would help many avoid yo-yo dieting. To identify an effective and affordable method
of weight maintenance, researchers from Dunedin, New Zealand, compared the outcomes of two contrasting programs: biweekly weigh-ins with a nurse, plus a phone call on
alternating weeks; and a more intensive program that included personal training and group exercise circuit training classes.
Yoga teacher-training schools have been subject to state licensure under statutes regulating vocational schools in a few states for some time, but this year has seen a spate of new licensing activity in various states across the country. This growing trend, which has sparked lively debate in the yoga community, reached critical mass recently in New York State.Read More
Mind-body-spirit activities figure prominently in SpaFinder’s “Top 10
Spa Trends to Watch in 2009” report. SpaFinder sees the following industry trends:
Energy Medicine. Spas are increasing services such as reiki, qigong, healing touch and acupuncture, among others.
Casinos and Spas. Spas have successfully entrenched themselves within casinos and now feature high-end as well as introductory facilities that serve inexperienced spa-goers.Read More