Relax Naturally

January 9, 2012 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

It’s ironic, but the concept of holistic wellness isn’t always popular with some of my clients. Not everyone is interested in learning the root causes of their conditions or “dis-eases” and/or taking the necessary steps to address them through meaningful lifestyle changes. Recently, a client wanted to know what simple steps he could take to help him through a particularly stressful time at work. Options such as aerobic exercise, dietary adjustments and yoga were summarily dismissed by this “Type-A” personality due to time constraints. What to do?

There are some natural remedies that can be used to assist you through times of anxiety and distress. The alternatives listed below do not address the underlying issues that contribute to a stressful state of mind. This is why I don’t recommend them as long term solutions. Nevertheless, they’re much safer when compared to destructive pacifiers such as cigarettes, drugs and excessive alcohol use.

An extract of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) was recently shown to reduce mild-to-moderate anxiety symptoms and sleep disturbance in a group of “stressed volunteers”. In the 15 day study, 600 mg/day of a patented lemon balm extract (Cyracos) “ameliorated anxiety-associated symptoms by 15%”  and “lowered insomnia by 42%”. Other current research points to the value of high dose B-complex vitamins and concentrated fish oil, providing 2,085 mg EPA and 348 mg DHA daily, in stressed students and workers. All three of these supplements have a good safety record and numerous studies to back their use for promoting mental health.

Two simple, mind-body approaches are always worth considering. The first is the use of bergamot oil as an aromatherapeutic essence. Current evidence reveals that a spray containing this citrus extract lowers anxiety, blood pressure and heart rate variability in anxious individuals. Finally, meditation, even if it’s only practiced for 5 minutes a day, can significantly alter anxious feelings, perceived stress and improve quality of life. Carrying around a small bottle or inhaler containing bergamot oil and/or meditating for a minimum of 5 minutes daily is feasible for just about everyone.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

To learn more about the studies referenced in today’s column, please click on the following links:

Study 1 – Pilot Trial of Melissa officinalis L. Leaf Extract in the Treatment of (link)

Study 2 – The Effect of 90 Day Administration of a High Dose Vitamin B-Complex (link)

Study 3 – Omega-3 Supplementation Lowers Inflammation and Anxiety in Medical(link)

Study 4 – Aromatherapy Benefits Autonomic Nervous System Regulation (link)

Study 5 – Effect of a Single-Session Meditation Training to Reduce Stress and (link)

Lemon Balm May Improve Various Psychological Symptoms

Source: Med J Nutrition Metab. 2011 December; 4(3): 211–218. (link)


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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements

16 Comments & Updates to “Relax Naturally”

  1. Mia B. Says:

    Anxiety/depression/& insomnia are often debilitating emotional “partners”. I have experienced/suffered from these myself… So far, I have integrated zinc as you suggested; I
    wonder if one is on a mainstream prescription for helping with
    mild depression etc. if it would be advisable to also include
    the lemon balm [the goal would be to taper off the former, and
    stay with the latter, eventually!]. Can you please speak to
    that, or perhaps share your ideas of how to do about speaking
    to my medical doctor on these matters? (I know you will put your savvy research skills…combined w/ your knowhow and experience
    and in time will be able to assist me on this — as I also summize it might be a wondering of others in this same situation…)
    Thanks in advance, Mr. HF! ~ appreciate you

  2. JP Says:

    Hi Mia B.

    Mixing medications and supplements can be tricky. The trouble is that there generally isn’t much scientific data available to help guide pharmacists and physicians in this arena. A few of the possible pitfalls include: a) the potential for an additive effect – resulting in too much of a good thing (mania or sedation); b) that the supplements will influence how a medication is metabolized – allowing too little or much to remain in your system.

    Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any studies that evaluated the effects of using lemon balm along with antidepressant medication. In fact, the study I cited in the blog above excluded any participants who were taking antidepressant and anxiolytic medications. So, this falls into the category of uncharted waters.

    “Volunteers who met at least one exclusion criterion were not enrolled into the trial. Exclusion criteria included: pregnancy, lactation, intention to become pregnant during the course of the study or volunteers of child-bearing potential not using adequate contraception; consumption of anti-anxiety drugs, antidepressants, hypnoinducers or sedatives 10 days before the start of the study; diabetes; asthma; hypo- and hyperthyroidism; depression; severe obsessive–compulsive disturbances; schizophrenia; psychosis in general; consumption of serotonin-reuptake inhibitors drugs.”

    Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3230760/?tool=pubmed

    I think it’s less likely that bergamot oil (aromatherapy), a B-complex or meditation will interfere with pharmaceutical treatment. However, it’s best to err on the side of caution and consult with your treating physician about the inclusion of any new supplement in your regimen.

    If you choose to discuss lemon balm with your doctor, I would print out the study in the “link” section (just above the second image) and present it to her/him. Let your physician know that you’d like to taper off of your current medication with the assistance of an evidence-based natural remedy. However, you wish to do so with her/his assistance and support. Print out any of the relevant studies so that your doctor can have more than one option to choose from. If he/she believes lemon balm isn’t appropriate, aromatherapy or meditation might fit the bill.

    I truly hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any follow up questions.

    Be well!

    JP

  3. Mia B. Says:

    Thank you for your quick response and the detailed guide you gave, JP. It gives me direction in which to move. I have benefitted from some meditation already 🙂
    Very grateful for your informed input, always.
    MB

  4. JP Says:

    You’re most welcome. Anytime.

    Please keep us posted on your progress. 🙂

    Be well!

    JP

  5. James Ainoris Says:

    I would strongly recommend having your thyroid hormone levels checked a few times.Go get blood work when you feel well and then when you feel bad. It took me years and I seemed to have pinned it down to this…. its very common especially in women and often overlooked. Check out the site thyromind.ca and allthyroid.org. They are science based research which is backed up by results. Avoid quacky homeopathic stuff….. naturopath however is scientific…. remmember the plaecebo effect is 40% and the mind can often be our worst enemy…. think positive do not focus on every little health quirk you have. shalom james ainoris.

  6. JP Says:

    Update: Lemon balm extract may also protect against heart palpitations …

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874115000781

    J Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Feb 10. pii: S0378-8741(15)00078-1.

    Heart palpitation relief with Melissa officinalis leaf extract: Double blind, randomized, placebo controlled trial of efficacy and safety.

    ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE:

    In Traditional Iranian Medicine (TIM), Melissa officinalis L. is commonly regarded as an effective therapy for heart palpitations.

    OBJECTIVE:

    Heart palpitation is a common complaint that is often benign and associated with a marked distress that makes the condition difficult to treat. Herbal medicines provide an alternative to conventional drugs for treating various kinds of diseases. This study was done as a double blind randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the dried extract of M. officinalis on adults suffering from benign palpitations.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS:

    Eligible volunteers were randomly assigned as outpatients to a fourteen day treatment with 500mg twice a day of lyophilized aqueous extract of M. officinalis leaves (or placebo). Participants in the tests, physicians and researchers were blind to group assignments. Both primary and secondary outcomes were patient-reported. Primary outcomes were obtained from two measures: mean frequency of palpitation episodes per week, derived from patients’ diaries, and mean intensity of palpitation estimated through Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) in a self-report questionnaire. Psychiatric symptoms (somatization, anxiety and insomnia, social dysfunction and severe depression) were evaluated as secondary outcomes by General Health Questionnaire-28(GHQ-28), before and after intervention.

    RESULTS:

    Fifty-five volunteers out of seventy-one recruited study subjects completed the trial. Results showed that 14-days of treatment with lyophilized aqueous extract of M. officinalis leaves reduced frequency of palpitation episodes and significantly reduced the number of anxious patients in comparison to the placebo (P=0.0001, P=0.004resp.). Also, M. officinalis extract showed no indication of any serious side effects.

    CONCLUSION:

    Lyophilized aqueous extract of Melissa officinalis leaves may be a proper and safe herbal drug for the treatment of benign palpitations.

    Be well!

    JP

  7. JP Says:

    Update: The latest review about the health benefits of bergamot oil …

    http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fphar.2015.00036/full

    Front Pharmacol. 2015 Mar 2;6:36.

    Citrus bergamia essential oil: from basic research to clinical application.

    “Conclusion: Bergamot essential oil has been traditionally used in Italian folk medicine for magisterial, handcrafted, and homemade preparations that are intended for topical use as antiseptics for the disinfection of skin and as aids for healing minor wounds. BEO is generally well tolerated, but it possesses photosensitive properties because of the presence of furocoumarins, especially 5-MOP. Therefore, in topical preparations, psoralen-free essential oil was used in recent decades. As a consequence of this and because of safety concerns related to furocoumarins, the use of high quality controlled psoralen-free BEO is recommended as a general precaution. However, although the oil has been used extensively for many years, there have only been a few reports of phototoxic reactions to bergamot aromatherapy oil.

    Several biological activities of BEO were shown, such as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, and analgesic effects, including effects on the central nervous and cardiovascular systems. Even though these effects indicate potential clinical applications for BEO in the future, to date, only clinical studies investigating aromatherapy effects have been published. The latter were carried out primarily to investigate anxiolytic effects and the reduction of stress responses. They indicate that treatment with BEO in aromatherapy can be useful to reduce anxiety and stress effects.”

    Be well!

    JP

  8. JP Says:

    Update 05/30/15:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26023343

    Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2015 Apr 25;17(4):e25880.

    Lavender fragrance essential oil and the quality of sleep in postpartum women.

    BACKGROUND: Labor and delivery is a stressful stage for mothers. During these periods, sleep-related disorders have been reported. The problems of inadequate sleep include decrease in concentration, judgment, difficulty in performing daily activities, and an increase in irritability. Even the effects of moderate sleep loss on life and health quality can be similar to sleep deprivation. some research aggravated by aromatherapy on sleep quality in different periods of life so might be useful for the improve of sleep quality in postpartum women.

    OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to determine the effect of aromatherapy on the quality of sleep in postpartum women. The sample was recruited from medical health centers of Zanjan University of Medical Sciences.

    PATIENTS AND METHODS: This study was a randomized clinical trial with the control group. A total of 158 mothers in postpartum period (with certain inclusion criteria) were enrolled in the study and assigned randomly to two groups of control and intervention. Lavender fragrance (made by Barij Essence Pharmaceutical Co.) was used by participants in the intervention group nightly before sleeping. The fragrance was dropped on cotton balls, which were placed on a cylindrical container at mothers’ disposal. Keeping the container at a projected distance of 20 cm, the participants inhaled 10 deep breaths and then the container was placed beside their pillow until morning. This procedure was done 4 times a week for 8 weeks. For the control group, the same intervention was done with the placebo. The instrument for collecting data was Pittsburgh sleep quality index, which was completed at the baseline, fourth, and eighth weeks after the intervention. Data were analyzed using independent t test and repeated measures analysis of variance calculated by SPSS16.

    RESULTS: Before the intervention, there were no significant differences between mothers in two groups (P > 0.05). After 8 weeks follow up, a significant improvement appeared in mothers’ sleep quality in the intervention group. Aromatherapy increased sleep quality mean score (±SD) from 8.2911 (± 2.1192) to 6.7975 (± 2.3663) (P < 0.05), but in the control group sleep quality mean score (±SD) changes from 8.4557 (± 2.3027) to 7.5696 (± 1.1464) (P > 0.05). Comparing sleep quality between control and intervention groups after 8 weeks from the beginning of the intervention indicated that aromatherapy was effective in the improvement of mothers’ sleep quality (P < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: Considering the effects of aromatherapy on the improvement of mother's sleep quality during postpartum period, aromatherapy has been suggested as a non-pharmacological method for the improvement of the maternal health. Be well! JP

  9. JP Says:

    Updated 07/28/15:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26211735

    Nurs Crit Care. 2015 Jul 27.

    Effects of aromatherapy on sleep quality and anxiety of patients.

    BACKGROUND: In intensive care units (ICUs), patients cannot sleep well. Aromatherapy is used for depression, anxiety, relaxation and disorders related with sleep and stress.

    AIM: This study aimed to investigate the effect of lavender essential oil on the sleep quality and anxiety level of patients in coronary ICU.

    PARTICIPANTS: A total of 60 patients in coronary ICU participated in this study.

    DESIGN: A randomized controlled study was conducted with 60 patients in a province located in the southeast of Turkey.

    METHODS: After informing the patients in both groups about the study, they were administered a questionnaire, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) scale. The patients in the intervention group were given 2% lavender essential oil via inhalation for 15 days after which they were administered the same scales again to evaluate the sleep quality and anxiety. As for the control group, they were administered the same scales again after 15 days without the inhalation of lavender essential oil.

    RESULTS: Comparison of the PSQI and BAI scores of the patients in the control and intervention groups before and after the intervention showed statistically significant differences in the change in favour of the intervention group (p < 0·05). CONCLUSION: Lavender essential oil increased quality of sleep and reduced level of anxiety in patients with coronary artery disease. RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE: As a non-invasive, cheap, easily applicable, cost-effective, independent nursing intervention and appropriate for cardiac patients, lavender essential oil could be applied in ICUs. Be well! JP

  10. JP Says:

    Updated 09/17/15:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26353411

    Pak J Biol Sci. 2015 Jan;18(1):11-8.

    Effects of Oral Vitamin C Supplementation on Anxiety in Students: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial.

    Vitamin C ascorbic acid) is a well-known antioxidant that is involved in anxiety, stress, depression, fatigue and mood state in humans. Studies have suggested that oxidative stress may trigger neuropsychological disorders. Antioxidants may play an important therapeutic role in combating the damage caused by oxidative stress in individuals that suffer from anxiety. In this context, it was hypothesized that oral vitamin C supplementation would reduce anxiety. However, few up to date studies have evaluated the consequences of oral vitamin C supplementation on anxiety in humans. The present study examined the effects of oral vitamin C supplements in 42 high school students, in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The students were given either vitamin C (500 mg day(-1)) or placebo. Plasma concentrations of vitamin C and blood pressure were measured before the intervention and then one day after the intervention. Anxiety levels were evaluated for each student before and after 14 days following supplementation with the Beck Anxiety Inventory. Results showed that vitamin C reduced anxiety levels and led to higher plasma vitamin C concentration compared to the placebo. The mean heart rates were also significantly different between vitamin C group and placebo control group. Present study results not only provide evidence that vitamin C plays an important therapeutic role for anxiety but also point a possible use for antioxidants in the prevention or reduction of anxiety. This suggests that a diet rich in vitamin C may be an effective adjunct to medical and psychological treatment of anxiety and improve academic performance.

    Be well!

    JP

  11. JP Says:

    Updated 12/17/15:

    http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/acm.2015.0018

    J Altern Complement Med. 2015 Dec 15.

    Effects of Ayurvedic Oil-Dripping Treatment with Sesame Oil vs. with Warm Water on Sleep: A Randomized Single-Blinded Crossover Pilot Study.

    OBJECTIVES: Ayurvedic oil-dripping treatment (Shirodhara) is often used for treating sleep problems. However, few properly designed studies have been conducted, and the quantitative effect of Shirodhara is unclear. This study sought to quantitatively evaluate the effect of sesame oil Shirodhara (SOS) against warm water Shirodhara (WWS) on improving sleep quality and quality of life (QOL) among persons reporting sleep problems.

    METHODS: This randomized, single-blinded, crossover study recruited 20 participants. Each participant received seven 30-minute sessions within 2 weeks with either liquid. The washout period was at least 2 months. The Shirodhara procedure was conducted by a robotic oil-drip system. The outcomes were assessed by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) for sleep quality, Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) for daytime sleepiness, World Health Organization Quality of Life 26 (WHO-QOL26) for QOL, and a sleep monitor instrument for objective sleep measures. Changes between baseline and follow-up periods were compared between the two types of Shirodhara. Analysis was performed with generalized estimating equations.

    RESULTS: Of 20 participants, 15 completed the study. SOS improved sleep quality, as measured by PSQI. The SOS score was 1.83 points lower (95% confidence interval [CI], -3.37 to -0.30) at 2-week follow-up and 1.73 points lower (95% CI, -3.84 to 0.38) than WWS at 6-week follow-up. Although marginally significant, SOS also improved QOL by 0.22 points at 2-week follow-up and 0.19 points at 6-week follow-up compared with WWS. After SOS, no beneficial effects were observed on daytime sleepiness or objective sleep measures.

    CONCLUSIONS: This pilot study demonstrated that SOS may be a safe potential treatment to improve sleep quality and QOL in persons with sleep problems.

    Be well!

    JP

  12. JP Says:

    Updated 04/11/16:

    http://bmccomplementalternmed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12906-016-1089-x

    BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016 Mar 25;16(1):108.

    Promising effects of treatment with flotation-REST (restricted environmental stimulation technique) as an intervention for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): a randomized controlled pilot trial.

    BACKGROUND: During Flotation-REST a person is floating inside a quiet and dark tank, filled with heated salt saturated water. Deep relaxation and beneficial effects on e.g. stress, sleep difficulties, anxiety and depression have been documented in earlier research. Despite that treatments for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) are effective; it is till the least successfully treated anxiety disorder, indicating that treatment protocols can be enhanced. The use of Flotation-REST as a treatment of GAD has not been researched. The aim of the present study was to conduct an initial evaluation of the effects in a self-diagnosed GAD sample.

    METHODS: This study was a randomized, parallel group, non-blinded trial with 1:1 allocation ratio to waiting list control group (n = 25) or to a twelve session treatment with flotation-REST (n = 25). Inclusion criteria’s were: 18-65 years and GAD (as defined by self-report measures). The primary outcome was GAD-symptomatology, and secondary outcomes were depression, sleep difficulties, emotion regulation difficulties and mindfulness. Assessments were made at three time points (baseline, four weeks in treatment, post-treatment), and at six-month follow-up. The main data analyses were conducted with a two-way MANOVA and additional t-tests. Forty-six participants (treatment, n = 24; control, n = 22) were included in the analyses.

    RESULTS: A significant Time x Group interaction effect for GAD-symptomatology [F (2,88) = 2.93, p < .001, η p (2)  = .062] was found. Further analyses showed that the GAD-symptomatology was significantly reduced for the treatment group (t (23) = 4.47, p  .05), when comparing baseline to post-treatment scoring. Regarding clinical significant change, 37 % in the treatment group reached full remission at post-treatment. Significant beneficial effects were also found for sleep difficulties, difficulties in emotional regulation, and depression, while the treatment had ambiguous or non-existent effects on pathological worry and mindfulness. All improved outcome variables at post-treatment, except for depression, were maintained at 6-months follow. No negative effects were found.

    CONCLUSION: The findings suggest that the method has potential as a complementary treatment alongside existing treatment for GAD. More studies are warranted to further evaluate the treatments efficacy.

    Be well!

    JP

  13. JP Says:

    Updated 09/25/16:

    http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/acm.2015.0316

    J Altern Complement Med. 2016 Sep 19.

    A Randomized Controlled Comparison of Emotional Freedom Technique and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy to Reduce Adolescent Anxiety: A Pilot Study.

    OBJECTIVE: The objective of this pilot study was to compare the efficacy of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) with that of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) in reducing adolescent anxiety.

    DESIGN: Randomized controlled study.

    SETTINGS: This study took place in 10 schools (8 public/2 private; 4 high schools/6 middle schools) in 2 northeastern states in the United States.

    PARTICIPANTS: Sixty-three high-ability students in grades 6-12, ages 10-18 years, who scored in the moderate to high ranges for anxiety on the Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale-2 (RCMAS-2) were randomly assigned to CBT (n = 21), EFT (n = 21), or waitlist control (n = 21) intervention groups.

    INTERVENTIONS: CBT is the gold standard of anxiety treatment for adolescent anxiety. EFT is an evidence-based treatment for anxiety that incorporates acupoint stimulation. Students assigned to the CBT or EFT treatment groups received three individual sessions of the identified protocols from trained graduate counseling, psychology, or social work students enrolled at a large northeastern research university.

    OUTCOME MEASURES: The RCMAS-2 was used to assess preintervention and postintervention anxiety levels in participants.

    RESULTS: EFT participants (n = 20; M = 52.16, SD = 9.23) showed significant reduction in anxiety levels compared with the waitlist control group (n = 21; M = 57.93, SD = 6.02) (p = 0.005, d = 0.74, 95% CI [-9.76, -1.77]) with a moderate to large effect size. CBT participants (n = 21; M = 54.82, SD = 5.81) showed reduction in anxiety but did not differ significantly from the EFT (p = 0.18, d = 0.34; 95% CI [-6.61, 1.30]) or control (p = 0.12, d = 0.53, 95% CI [-7.06, .84]).

    CONCLUSIONS: EFT is an efficacious intervention to significantly reduce anxiety for high-ability adolescents.

    Be well!

    JP

  14. JP Says:

    Updated 11/29/16:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5111093/

    Nephrourol Mon. 2016 Jul 31;8(5):e38347.

    The Effect of Aromatherapy on Anxiety in Patients.

    BACKGROUND: Anxiety is the most common mental disorder in end-stage renal disease patients. The use of aromatherapy as a treatment for anxiety has increased substantially in most countries.

    OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to investigate the effect of inhaling rose water aromatherapy on anxiety in hemodialysis patients.

    METHODS: This randomized controlled clinical trial was carried out in the hemodialysis ward of Birjand Vali-Asr hospital on 46 patients who were randomly divided into control and experimental groups. The standard state-trait anxiety inventory of Spielberger was used to investigate the anxiety level of the samples. The experimental group inhaled rose water for 4 weeks, but the control group did not undergo any intervention. At the end of week 2 and week 4, the participants’ anxiety was measured, and the results were statistically analyzed.

    RESULTS: Mean scores of state and trait anxiety in the experimental group before intervention were 47/47 ± 7/6 and 49/56 ± 13/8, respectively; those after week 4 following the intervention were reduced to 37/1 ± 6/5 and 42/9 ± 10/1; inhalation of rose water fragrance in the experimental group caused a significant decrease (P < 0.001) in the state and trait anxiety levels compared with controls (P = 0.43). CONCLUSIONS: According to the present study, rose water noticeably reduces the anxiety of hemodialysis patients. Therefore, inhalation of rose water can improve the patient's emotional and spiritual condition during hemodialysis treatment. Be well! JP

  15. JP Says:

    Updated 06/14/17:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28608523

    J Clin Psychol. 2017 Jun 13.

    The Effects of Twelve Weeks of Tai Chi Practice on Anxiety in Stressed But Healthy People Compared to Exercise and Wait-List Groups-A Randomized Controlled Trial.

    OBJECTIVE: This randomized controlled trial was undertaken to determine whether 12 weeks of Tai Chi (TC) practice can reduce anxiety in healthy but stressed people.

    METHOD: Fifty participants were randomized into TC (n=17), exercise (n=17), and wait-list (WL) groups (n=16). Outcome measures used were State Trait Anxiety Inventory, Perceived Stress Scale 14 (PSS14), blood pressure and heart rate variability, visual analogue scale (VAS), and Short Form 36.

    RESULTS: Significant improvements were observed from baseline for both TC and exercise groups for both state (p <0.01) and trait (p <0.01) anxiety, PSS14 (p <0.01), VAS (p <0.01), mental health domain (p <0.01), and vitality domain (p <0.01). Superior outcomes were also observed for TC when compared with WL for state and trait anxiety (p <0.01) and mental health domain (p <0.05).

    CONCLUSION: TC reduces stress levels in healthy individuals and provides a safer, cost effective, and less physically vigorous alternative to exercise.

    Be well!

    JP

  16. JP Says:

    Updated 12/20/17:

    http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0890117117744913?url_ver=Z39.88-2003&rfr_id=ori:rid:crossref.org&rfr_dat=cr_pub%3dpubmed

    Am J Health Promot. 2017 Jan 1:890117117744913.

    Differential Experimental Effects of a Short Bout of Walking, Meditation, or Combination of Walking and Meditation on State Anxiety Among Young Adults.

    INTRODUCTION: Single bouts of aerobic exercise and meditation have been shown to improve anxiety states. Yet to be evaluated in the literature, we sought to examine the effects of a single, short bout of aerobic exercise or meditation, as well as exercise and meditation combined on state anxiety among young adults.

    DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial.

    SETTING: University.

    SUBJECTS: Participants (N = 110, mean age = 21.4 years) were randomly assigned to walk, meditate, walk then meditate, meditate then walk, or to sit (inactive control).

    MEASURES: All walking and meditation bouts were 10 minutes in duration. Participants’ state anxiety was monitored before and after the intervention using the State Trait Anxiety Inventory questionnaire.

    RESULTS: Significant group × time interaction effects were observed ( P = .01). Post hoc paired t tests revealed that state anxiety significantly decreased from baseline to postintervention in the meditation ( P = .002), meditation then walk ( P = .002), and walk then meditation ( P = .03) groups but not the walk ( P = .75) or control ( P = .45) groups.

    CONCLUSION: Meditation (vs a brisk walk) may be a preferred method of attenuating anxiety symptomology. Individuals desiring the health benefits associated with aerobic exercise may achieve additional anxiolytic benefits if they employ a brief meditation session before or after exercising.

    Be well!

    JP

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