Mind Body Medicine

March 16, 2010 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

Today I want to discuss a very special kind of pharmacy. It’s open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It doesn’t close for holidays and the staff is always on call. One of the best features of the place is that all medications in stock are 100% natural and entirely compatible with your individual physiology. I know what you may thinking: “This place sounds very expensive”. Or perhaps: “My doctor or health insurance company never works with these ‘holistic-type’ facilities”. Fortunately for us all, none of these concerns apply here.

This particular pharmacy resides between your ears and behind your eyes. Some medical authorities commonly write off this rather miraculous fact of life as “the placebo effect”. It can be a dismissive term given to a genuine healing process that is self-initiated. The placebo effect is also frequently mentioned when conventional scientists comment on mind-body therapies such as grounding, Reiki, Tai Chi and therapeutic touch. However that’s beginning to change.

A systematic review on “biofield therapies” was recently published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. 66 studies involving various mind-body approaches including healing touch, Johrei, polarity therapy and Qigong were evaluated in the analysis. The research team, consisting of scientists from UCLA and the University of California, San Diego, explain that biofield techniques “show strong evidence for reducing pain intensity in pain populations and moderate evidence for reducing pain intensity in hospitalized and cancer populations”. They go on to state that some data supports the use of these mind-body practices in the management of “negative behavioral symptoms in dementia” and “anxiety for hospitalized populations”. The concluding remarks of the authors recommend additional high-quality studies in order to clarify the true potential of these complementary modalities in a broader range of conditions. (1)

In January 2010, I wrote a column about an esoteric practice known as earthing or grounding. A new study in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine adds some much needed credibility to this controversial but popular practice. Researchers from the University of California, Irvine and the University of Oregon, Eugene enrolled 8 healthy adults in an experiment set to determine whether “grounding the body to the earth” could modify physiological reactions to exercise. The experiment was very carefully controlled in the following manner:

  • Only 1 volunteer was tested each week in order to ensure proper control variables and patient compliance.
  • All of the volunteers were provided with the exact same diet, slept the same amount of time, stayed at the same hotel and were grounded identically.
  • The participants were required to perform identical sets of eccentric exercises that were intended to provoke delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
  • The grounding technique involved “grounded patches and sheets” that included “conductive patches placed on their gastrocnemius and on the bottom of both feet”.
  • 4 of the participants were administered actual grounding therapy while the remainder used “ungrounded” patches and sheets.
  • This was a double-blind trial. Neither the test subjects nor the investigators knew which group was grounded.

“Complete blood counts, blood chemistry, enzyme chemistry, serum and saliva cortisols, magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy and pain levels were taken at the same time of day before the eccentric exercise and 24, 48, and 72 hours afterwards”. Significant differences in bilirubin, creatine kinase, glycerolphosphorylcholine, phosphorylcholine, phosphocreatine/inorganic phosphate ratios, the visual analog pain scale and white blood cell counts were documented. In total, 30 out of 48 health markers were altered in those receiving the grounded therapy. The results indicate that, “Grounding appears to be the first intervention with the potential to reduce time of recovery and improve muscle function from DOMS”. (2)

The ancient practice of Tai Chi was recently featured in scientific literature. A March 2010 trial examined the effects of Tai Chi in a group of 82 senior women with osteoarthritis. Over the course of 6 months, approximately half of the group learned and regularly practiced this mind-body exercise while the remainder of the participants served as a comparison group. At the completion of the study, the authors noted that the Tai Chi group differed in several important ways from their sedentary counterparts: a) they demonstrated improvements in muscle endurance (knee extensor endurance); b) they exhibited significantly greater bone density and; c) they reported feeling a reduction in fear of falling. This may not make the front page of New York Times or the Wall Street Journal but it’s vital to know when you consider that a recent meta-analysis in the Annals of Internal Medicine reports that “Older adults have a 5-to 8-fold increased risk for all-cause mortality after hip fractures”. Tai Chi may very well help protect against such an outcome in this at-risk population. (3,4)

Earthing or Grounding Reduces Exercise Related Inflammation
Source: J Altern Complement Med. 2010 Mar;16(3):265-73. (link)

If you’re not quite ready to try some of the more exotic mind-body techniques, then at least consider utilizing something more familiar. There’s a very literal example of an effective mind-body treatment protocol in this month’s Journal of Psychosomatic Research. The study in question tested the relative merits of four different treatment protocols in a study pool of 74 adults living with Class II to III heart failure. All of the volunteers were also diagnosed as clinically depressed. Over the course of 12 weeks, the participants took part in: a) an exercise + cognitive behavioral therapy program; b) cognitive behavioral therapy alone; c) exercise alone or; d) “usual care”. Pre and post testing revealed that those engaging in exercise plus therapy exhibited the greatest reduction in depression scores as evidenced by results on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. The combination therapy group also outshined the other treatment modalities with regard to physical capability – 6 minute walk distance test results. A 3 month follow up evaluation confirmed the initial results and suggested that these positive changes resulted in meaningful improvements in health-related quality of life. (5)

A new Japanese study provides my favorite citation of the day. The topic of the paper involves a traditional practice known as Shinrinyoku. This term generally refers to short-term treks to a wilderness setting in which natural bathing and walking are featured components. Scientists from the Department of Hygiene and Public Health at Nippon Medical School examined a group of men and women who “experienced a 3-day/2 night trip to forest areas”. Blood and urine samples were collected prior to the trips and at various points afterward in order to investigate any relevant changes in immune function. These same tests were also taken during a normal work day in order to serve as a control measure. The findings indicated that the forest trips lead to a statistically meaningful increases in Natural Killer (NK) cell activity and a reduction in stress response marked by a decline in urinary adrenaline. In addition, the benefits “lasted for more than 30 days after the trip, suggesting that a forest bathing trip once a month would enable individuals to maintain a higher level of NK activity”. It appears that exposure to nature is a necessary detail in the noted reaction in both men and women. The basis for the final claim comes from a follow-up test in which the volunteers visited “the city as a tourist”. This variety of time off did not provoke the same immune boosting phenomenon provided by Shinrinyoku. (6)

There is an unfortunate model that is largely in place in the modern medical paradigm. Many people feel as if they’re dependent on their doctors to stay well. From my perspective, this is an upside down notion. The quickest fix to the problem can be explained in a simple analogy. Let’s take a new car as an example. If you take the necessary steps to care for it, you generally won’t need to bring it in for service very often. It’s a different story if an accident occurs or if you happen to buy a “lemon”. However by and large, you won’t have to visit your mechanic frequently if you follow the basic guidelines laid out in your owner’s manual. These same principles apply to the human beings. Be kind to your body and mind. Trust that you have the potential to heal and to stay well. Have regular checkups and see a doctor if you feel as if something is wrong. But never forget that you have the majority control over your health destiny. As with most aspects of wellness, that begins with your mind and extends to every part of body.

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!

Be well!

JP


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Posted in Alternative Therapies, Exercise, Mental Health

15 Comments & Updates to “Mind Body Medicine”

  1. liverock Says:

    JP

    I just hope that anybody using these grounding patches on their feet dont go out when there is any lightning around. They could end up looking like Uncle Fester, of the Adam’s Family!

  2. JP Says:

    Ha! I think that wouldn’t be recommended!

    On the other hand, it could save the time and money of shaving. 🙂

    Have a great weekend, Liverock!

    Be well!

    JP

  3. JP Says:

    Update: Tai chi improves mental health and sociability in adolescents …

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25721879

    Int J Psychol. 2015 Mar;50(2):101-5.

    The beneficial effect of Tai Chi on self-concept in adolescents.

    Previous research has documented the beneficial effect of Tai Chi, but most of the studies focused on elders and patients with specific health conditions. The aim of the study was to test whether Tai Chi can help to improve self-concept in adolescents with a longitudinal study. The sample comprised 160 students from a Chinese middle school; half of students formed the experimental group and the rest formed the control group. A 1-year Tai Chi intervention was delivered in 60-minute sessions, five times a week. Both groups were instructed to complete the measure of self-concept at the beginning and end of the intervention. Statistical analysis shows the significant reduction of good behaviour, intellectual and school status, popularity and anxiety in the experimental group compared with the control group. The results suggest that the Tai Chi intervention could improve self-concept in adolescents.

    Be well!

    JP

  4. JP Says:

    Update 06/30/15:

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2015/06/23/1510459112.abstract

    PNAS 2015; published ahead of print June 29, 2015

    Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activation

    More than 50% of people now live in urban areas. By 2050 this proportion will be 70%. Urbanization is associated with increased levels of mental illness, but it’s not yet clear why. Through a controlled experiment, we investigated whether nature experience would influence rumination (repetitive thought focused on negative aspects of the self), a known risk factor for mental illness. Participants who went on a 90-min walk through a natural environment reported lower levels of rumination and showed reduced neural activity in an area of the brain linked to risk for mental illness compared with those who walked through an urban environment. These results suggest that accessible natural areas may be vital for mental health in our rapidly urbanizing world.

    Be well!

    JP

  5. JP Says:

    Updated 08/25/15:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4377926/

    Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Mar 2;12(3):2687-99.

    Effect of forest walking on autonomic nervous system activity in middle-aged hypertensive individuals: a pilot study.

    There has been increasing attention on the therapeutic effects of the forest environment. However, evidence-based research that clarifies the physiological effects of the forest environment on hypertensive individuals is lacking. This study provides scientific evidence suggesting that a brief forest walk affects autonomic nervous system activity in middle-aged hypertensive individuals. Twenty participants (58.0±10.6 years) were instructed to walk predetermined courses in forest and urban environments (as control). Course length (17-min walk), walking speed, and energy expenditure were equal between the forest and urban environments to clarify the effects of each environment. Heart rate variability (HRV) and heart rate were used to quantify physiological responses. The modified semantic differential method and Profile of Mood States were used to determine psychological responses. The natural logarithm of the high-frequency component of HRV was significantly higher and heart rate was significantly lower when participants walked in the forest than when they walked in the urban environment. The questionnaire results indicated that, compared with the urban environment, walking in the forest increased “comfortable”, “relaxed”, “natural” and “vigorous” feelings and decreased “tension-anxiety,” “depression,” “anxiety-hostility,” “fatigue” and “confusion”. A brief walk in the forest elicited physiological and psychological relaxation effects on middle-aged hypertensive individuals.

    Be well!

    JP

  6. JP Says:

    Updated 09/06/15:

    http://journals.lww.com/clinicalpain/pages/articleviewer.aspx?year=9000&issue=00000&article=99251&type=abstract

    Clin J Pain. 2015 Sep 3.

    Craniosacral Therapy for the Treatment of Chronic Neck Pain: A Randomized Sham-controlled Trial.

    OBJECTIVES: With growing evidence for Craniosacral Therapy (CST) effectiveness for pain management, the question about CST efficacy remained unclear. This study therefore aimed at investigating CST in comparison to sham treatment in chronic non-specific neck pain patients.

    METHODS: 54 blinded patients were randomized to either 8 weekly units of CST or light touch sham treatment. Outcomes were assessed before and after treatment (week 8) and a further 3 months later (week 20). The primary outcome was pain intensity on a visual analogue scale; secondary outcomes included pain on movement, pressure pain sensitivity, functional disability, health-related quality of life, well-being, anxiety, depression, stress perception, pain acceptance, body awareness, patients’ global impression of improvement and safety.

    RESULTS: In comparison to sham, CST patients reported significant and clinically relevant effects on pain intensity at week 8 (-21▒mm; 95%-CI: [-32.6|-9.4]; P=0.001; d=1.02) as well as at week 20 (-16.8▒mm; 95%-CI: [-27.5|-6.1]; P=0.003; d=0.88). Minimal clinically important differences in pain intensity at week 20 were reported by 78% of the CST patients, while 48% even had substantial clinical benefit. Significant differences at week 8 and 20 were also found for pain on movement, functional disability, physical quality of life and patients’ global improvement. Pressure pain sensitivity and body awareness were significantly improved only at week 8; anxiety only at week 20. No serious adverse events were reported.

    DISCUSSION: CST was both specifically effective and safe in reducing neck pain intensity and may improve functional disability and quality of life up to 3 months post intervention.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited.

    Be well!

    JP

  7. JP Says:

    Updated 1/18/16:

    http://jmt.oxfordjournals.org/content/52/3/323.abstract

    J Music Ther. 2015 Fall;52(3):323-52.

    Coping with Work-Related Stress through Guided Imagery and Music (GIM): Randomized Controlled Trial.

    BACKGROUND: Long-term stress-related sick leave constitutes a serious health threat and an economic burden on both the single worker and the society. Effective interventions for the rehabilitation and facilitation of return to work are needed.

    OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to examine the effects of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM), a psychotherapy intervention including relaxation, music listening, and imagery, on biopsychosocial measures of work-related stress.

    METHODS: Twenty Danish workers on sick leave were randomized to music therapy versus wait-list control. Data collection was carried out at an occupational health ward in the period 2008-2010. Changes in salivary cortisol, testosterone, and melatonin were explored, and self-reported data on psychological stress symptoms (perceived stress, mood disturbance, sleep quality, physical distress symptoms, work readiness, well-being, anxiety, depression, immediate stress) were collected. Data regarding sick leave situation and job return were collected from participants throughout the study.

    RESULTS: Significant beneficial effects of GIM compared to wait-list after nine weeks with large effect sizes were found in well-being, mood disturbance, and physical distress, and in cortisol concentrations with a medium effect size. A comparison between early and late intervention as related to the onset of sick leave showed faster job return and significantly improved perceived stress, well-being, mood disturbance, depression, anxiety, and physical distress symptoms in favor of early intervention. In the whole sample, 83% of the participants had returned to work at nine weeks’ follow-up.

    CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that GIM is a promising treatment for work-related chronic stress, and further studies are recommended.

    Be well!

    JP

  8. JP Says:

    Updated 06/26/16:

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs40520-016-0593-7

    Aging Clin Exp Res. 2016 Jun 18.

    The interrelationship between balance, Tai Chi and depression in Latino older adults.

    Falls and associated injuries are the most serious medical problem affecting the functional independence among both White non-Hispanics and Latino older adults. Studies have shown the effectiveness of Tai Chi exercise in reducing falls but have primarily focused on White non-Hispanic older adults. There is limited research that examines the effectiveness of this exercise on balance among different racial/ethnic minority older adults. This study focused on the interrelationship between functional status (balance performance) and psychosocial status (depression) before and after a 12-week Tai Chi program among Latinos in a Midwestern metropolitan city. Results indicated that at baseline, prior to the start of the Tai Chi program, participants who were more depressed had poorer functional status. Participants who had higher depression at baseline, experienced greater improvement in functional status, following the 12-week Tai Chi exercise program, compared with those who had lower levels of depression.

    Be well!

    JP

  9. JP Says:

    Updated 06/29/16:

    http://www.jpain.org/article/S1526-5900(16)30105-5/abstract

    J Pain. 2016 Jun 23.

    The effects of Tai Chi and neck exercises in the treatment of chronic non-specific neck pain: A randomized controlled trial.

    This study aimed to test the efficacy of Tai Chi for treating chronic neck pain. Subjects with chronic non-specific neck pain were randomly assigned to 12 weeks of group Tai Chi or conventional neck exercises with weekly sessions of 75-90 minutes, or a wait-list control. The primary outcome measure was pain intensity (visual analog scale, VAS). Secondary outcomes included pain on movement, functional disability, quality of life, well-being and perceived stress, postural and interoceptive awareness, satisfaction and safety. Altogether, 114 participants were included (91 females, 49.4±11.7 years). After 12 weeks Tai Chi participants reported significantly less pain compared to the wait list (average difference in mm VAS: -10.5; 95%CI:-20.3,-0.9;p=0.033). Group differences were also found for pain on movement, functional disability and quality of life compared to wait list. No differences were found for Tai Chi compared to neck exercises. Patients’ satisfaction with both exercise interventions was high, and only minor side effects were observed. Tai Chi was more effective than no treatment in improving pain in subjects with chronic non-specific neck pain. Since Tai Chi is probably as effective as neck exercises it may be considered a suitable alternative to conventional exercises for those with a preference towards Tai Chi.

    Be well!

    JP

  10. JP Says:

    Updated 08/07/16:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27493670

    Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:2587381.

    Effects of Forest Bathing on Cardiovascular and Metabolic Parameters in Middle-Aged Males.

    In the present study, we investigated the effects of a forest bathing on cardiovascular and metabolic parameters. Nineteen middle-aged male subjects were selected after they provided informed consent. These subjects took day trips to a forest park in Agematsu, Nagano Prefecture, and to an urban area of Nagano Prefecture as control in August 2015. On both trips, they walked 2.6 km for 80 min each in the morning and afternoon on Saturdays. Blood and urine were sampled before and after each trip. Cardiovascular and metabolic parameters were measured. Blood pressure and pulse rate were measured during the trips. The Japanese version of the profile of mood states (POMS) test was conducted before, during, and after the trips. Ambient temperature and humidity were monitored during the trips. The forest bathing program significantly reduced pulse rate and significantly increased the score for vigor and decreased the scores for depression, fatigue, anxiety, and confusion. Urinary adrenaline after forest bathing showed a tendency toward decrease. Urinary dopamine after forest bathing was significantly lower than that after urban area walking, suggesting the relaxing effect of the forest bathing. Serum adiponectin after the forest bathing was significantly greater than that after urban area walking.

    Be well!

    JP

  11. JP Says:

    Updated 08/16/16:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27515875

    Complement Ther Med. 2016 Aug;27:43-50.

    Practicing Tai Chi had lower energy metabolism than walking but similar health benefits in terms of aerobic fitness, resting energy expenditure, body composition and self-perceived physical health.

    OBJECTIVE: To examine the effects of Tai Chi and walking training on aerobic fitness, resting energy expenditure (REE), body composition, and quality of life; as well as analyzing the energy metabolism during exercises, to determine which one had better advantage in improving health status.

    METHODS: Three hundred seventy-four middle-aged Chinese subjects who were recruited from nine geographic areas in Sha Tin were randomized into Tai Chi, walking, or control groups at area level. The 12-week (45min per day, 5days per week) Tai Chi or brisk walking training were conducted in respective intervention groups. Measures were performed at baseline and end of trial. Another 30 subjects were recruited to compare the energy metabolism between practicing Tai Chi and walking.

    RESULTS: The between-group difference of VO2max was 3.3ml/min/kg for Tai Chi vs. control and 3.7ml/min/kg for walking vs. control (both P<0.001). BMI, skinfold thicknesses, and SF-12 physical component scores all improved significantly compared with the control group (all P<0.01). Tai Chi had higher effect on improving REE-VO2 and REE-kilocalorie expenditure than walking. Regarding to energy metabolism test, the self-paced walking produced approximately 46% higher metabolic costs than Tai Chi.

    CONCLUSION: Practicing Tai Chi consumes a smaller amount of energy metabolism but similar health benefits as self-paced brisk walking.

    Be well!

    JP

  12. JP Says:

    Updated 04/18/18:

    http://www.oncotarget.com/index.php?journal=oncotarget&page=article&op=view&path%5B%5D=24741&path%5B%5D=77604

    Oncotarget. 2018 Mar 27;9(23):16501-16511.

    Health effects of a forest environment on natural killer cells in humans: an observational pilot study.

    Health effect assessments based on natural killer (NK) cells are an important emerging area of human health. We recruited 90 forest staff members in Xitou, Taiwan and 110 urban staff members in Taipei to investigate the health effects of forest environment exposure on NK cells (CD3-/CD56+) and activating NK cells (CD3-/CD56+/CD69+) in humans. We also invited 11 middle-aged volunteers in a pilot study to participate in a five-day/four-night forest trip to Xitou forest to investigate the health effects of a forest trip on NK cells and activating NK cells. Results showed that NK cells were higher in the forest group (19.5 ± 9.1%) than in the urban group (16.4 ± 8.4%). In particular, the percentage of NK cells was significantly higher in the forest group than in the urban group among the subgroups of male, a higher body mass index (≥ 25 kg/m2), without hypertension, lower high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, hyperglycemia, without smoking habit, and with tea drinking habit. After the five-day trip in Xitou forest, the percentage of activating NK cells of the invited participants from Taipei increased significantly after the trip to Xitou forest (0.83 ± 0.39% vs. 1.72 ± 0.1%). The percentage of activating NK cells was 1.13 ± 0.43%, which was higher than the baseline value of 0.77 ± 0.38% before the forest trip among the seven subjects who participated in the follow-up study four days after returning to Taipei. This study suggests that exposure to forest environments might enhance the immune response of NK cells and activating NK cells in humans.

    Be well!

    JP

  13. JP Says:

    Updated 07/19/18:

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965229918300761?via%3Dihub

    Complement Ther Med. 2018 Aug;39:36-42.

    A modified 6-form Tai Chi for patients with COPD.

    BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: 24-form Tai Chi is a traditional exercise popular among old people in China, but it has some complex movements beyond of capabilities of patients with COPD. This study was to modify and simplify 24-form Tai Chi and evaluate effects of the modified Tai Chi on lung function, exercise capacity, dyspnea symptom and health status in patients with COPD.

    METHODS: A two-step procedure was applied: an initial qualitative research module consisting of focus group discussion, expert consultation and patient interviews was conducted to simplified and modified 24-form Tai Chi for patients with COPD. Then, a randomized controlled trial consisting of 60 patients with II to IV COPD was conducted to evaluate effects of the modified Tai Chi on lung function (FEV1%), exercise capacity (Six minutes walking distance,6MWD), dyspnea symptom (Modified Medical Research Council Scale, mMRC) and health status (COPD Assessment Test, CAT). All measures were obtained at baseline, 3-month follow-up and 9-month follow-up.

    RESULTS: A new simpler 6-form Tai Chi that combining characteristics of COPD, the experts’ wisdom and patients’ needs was developed. Patients with COPD can grasp it in about 3 h and participants showed 86.0% adherence to the Tai Chi training and no negative accidents occurred. Generalized estimating equations (GEE) showed that there were significant differences in FEV1%, 6MWD and CAT scores between modified Tai Chi (MTC) group and the control group over time (model group × time interaction χ2 = 13.68, P < 0.001; χ2 = 192.39, P < 0.001;χ2 = 6.05, P = 0.014, respectively), however, no statistical significance in mMRC scores was found between the 2 groups over time (model group × time interaction χ2 = 3.54, P = 0.06). The baseline of FEV1%,6MWD, mMRC scores and CAT scores are significant covariates for lung function, exercise capacity, dyspnea symptom and health status, respectively (χ2 = 149.43, P < 0.001; χ2 = 5.78, P = 0.016; χ2 = 66.71, P < 0.001; χ2 = 81.83, P < 0.001, respectively). CONCLUSIONS: This modified 6-form Tai Chi routine is easy to grasp, easy to adhere to, safe to practice and effective to improve lung function, exercise capacity, health status and to prevent dyspnea symptom from getting worse for patients with COPD and it can be recommended as a suitable exercise therapy for them. Be well! JP

  14. JP Says:

    Updated 12/19/18:

    https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2018/9653857/

    Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018 Feb 11;2018:9653857.

    Effects of Walking in Bamboo Forest and City Environments on Brainwave Activity in Young Adults.

    Background. In Japan, “Shinrin-yoku” or forest bathing (spending time in forests) is a major practice used for relaxation. However, its effects on promoting human mental health are still under consideration. The objective of this study was to investigate the physiological and psychological relaxation effects of forest walking on adults. Sixty participants (50% males; 50% females) were trained to walk 15-minute predetermined courses in a bamboo forest and a city area (control). The length of the courses was the same to allow comparison of the effects of both environments. Blood pressure and EEG results were measured to assess the physiological responses and the semantic differential method (SDM) and STAI were used to study the psychological responses. Blood pressure was significantly decreased and variation in brain activity was observed in both environments. The results of the two questionnaires indicated that walking in the bamboo forest improves mood and reduces anxiety. Moreover, the mean meditation and attention scores were significantly increased after walking in a bamboo forest. The results of the physiological and psychological measurements indicate the relaxing effects of walking in a bamboo forest on adults.

    Be well!

    JP

  15. JP Says:

    Updated 02/13/19:

    https://journals.humankinetics.com/doi/abs/10.1123/japa.2018-0232

    J Aging Phys Act. 2019 Feb 12:1-27.

    Effects of Tai Chi on Cerebral Haemodynamics and Health-related Outcomes in Older Community Adults at Risk of Ischaemic Stroke: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

    This study investigated the effects of Tai Chi compared to no exercise control on the cerebral haemodynamic parameters and other health-related factors in community older adults at risk of ischemic stroke. 170 eligible participants were randomly allocated to Tai Chi or control group. The cerebral haemodynamic parameters and physical fitness risk factors of cardiovascular disease were measured at baseline, 12 weeks and 24 weeks. After 12-weeks intervention, Tai Chi significantly improved the minimum of blood flow velocity (BFVmin), BFVmean, pulsatility index and resistance index of the right anterior cerebral artery, and BFVmax, BFVmin and BFVmean parameters of the right middle cerebral artery. Tai Chi training also decreased triglyceride, fasting blood glucose and homocysteine levels, and improved balance ability. Therefore, the supervised 12-week Tai Chi exercise had potential beneficial effects on cerebral haemodynamics, plasma risk factors and balance ability in older community adults at risk of ischaemic stroke.

    Be well!

    JP

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