Improve Physical Fitness and Quality of Life of Substance Abusers with Mind-Body Practices

Improve Physical Fitness and Quality of Life of Substance Abusers with Mind-Body Practices.

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Available data suggest that mindfulness-based interventions may help significantly reduce the consumption of several substances including alcohol, cigarettes, opiates, and others.” – NCCIH Clinical Digest

 

Substance abuse is a major health and social problem. There are estimated 22.2 million people in the U.S. with substance dependence. It is estimated that worldwide there are nearly ¼ million deaths yearly as a result of illicit drug use which includes unintentional overdoses, suicides, HIV and AIDS, and trauma. Obviously, there is a need to find effective methods to prevent and treat substance abuse. There are a number of programs that are successful at stopping the drug abuse, including the classic 12-step program emblematic of Alcoholics Anonymous. Unfortunately, the majority of drug and/or alcohol abusers relapse and return to substance abuse.

 

Hence, it is important to find an effective method to treat substance abuse and prevent relapse but an effective treatment has been elusive. Most programs and therapies to treat addictions have poor success rates. Recently, mindfulness training has been found to be effective in treating addictions. Mind-Body practices such as yoga has been found to be effective in treating substance abuse and Tai Chi practice has also been found to improve addiction recovery.

 

In today’s Research News article “Long-Term Effects of Mind-Body Exercises on the Physical Fitness and Quality of Life of Individuals With Substance Use Disorder-A Randomized Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7775308/ ) Zhu and colleagues recruited men who were being treated for a substance use disorder (Amphetamines). They were randomly assigned to receive either 20 minutes, 3 times daily, 5 days per week, for 3 months of mind-body exercise or recreational activities. The mind-body exercises were selected from Tai Chi, Qigong, and Yoga movements. They were measured before and after training and 3 months later for physical fitness, physical, mental, social, and physical symptoms quality of life.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the recreational activities group, the group that performed mind-body exercises had significant reductions in body mass index (BMI), systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and heart rate, and significant increases in sit-and-reach, cardiovascular endurance, and physical, mental, social, and physical symptoms quality of life. These improvements were present at the endo of training and 3 months later at follow-up.

 

The results are clear. Mind-body exercise significantly improved the physical fitness and psychological well-being of the participants. The form of exercise was unique containing components from Tai Chi, Qigong, and yoga practices. But previous research has demonstrated physical and psychological improvements in a variety of healthy and ill individuals with Tai Chi and Qigong and also yoga practices. So, it is not surprising that using selective components of these practices would also have these benefits. But the study is unique in applying these practices to men recovering from amphetamine abuse. Although not reported, it would be expected that these benefits would help them with recovery from substance use disorder.

 

So, improve physical fitness and quality of life of substance abusers with mind-body practices.

 

What does this mean for treatment practice or for an addict in recovery? At their core, mind-body therapies improve overall mental and physical health while improving brain function.” – Constance Scharff

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Zhu, D., Jiang, M., Xu, D., & Schöllhorn, W. I. (2020). Long-Term Effects of Mind-Body Exercises on the Physical Fitness and Quality of Life of Individuals With Substance Use Disorder-A Randomized Trial. Frontiers in psychiatry, 11, 528373. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.528373

 

Abstract

Background: Mind-body exercises (MBE) are sequences of low to medium-intensity activities that benefit healthy performers physically and mentally. In contrast to the unmodified application of traditional tai chi, qi gong, or yoga in the healthy population, MBEs are typically tailored for individuals with substance abuse disorder (SUD). Despite numerous applications in practice, the detailed effects of tailor-made MBEs for SUD are unclear.

Objectives: This study aimed to analyze and compare changes in the physical fitness and quality of life of individuals with SUD that underwent conventional or tailor-made MBEs.

Methods: A total of 100 subjects obtained from the Shanghai Mandatory Detoxification and Rehabilitation Center with SUD were randomly assigned into two groups. The subjects in the experimental group (n = 50) practiced tailored MBE for 60 min a day, five times a week, for 3 months. The subjects (n = 50) in the control group were treated with conventional rehabilitation exercises with the same intervention protocol. The outcomes of fitness and quality of life for drug addiction were measured at the beginning and after 3 and 6 months by a questionnaire (QOL-DA). A two-way repeated measure analysis of variance was applied to compare the difference of treatments in the two groups.

Results: Statistically significant differences for the experimental group were found in systolic (p < 0.01, η2 = 0.124) and diastolic blood pressure (p < 0.01, η2 = 0.097), pulse (p < 0.01, η2 = 0.086), vital capacity (p < 0.05, η2 = 0.036), flexibility (p < 0.01, η2 = 0.143), and aerobic endurance (p < 0.01, η2 = 0.165). Results of the QOL-DA showed statistically significant differences between the experimental and control groups in total score (p < 0.01, η2 = 0.158) with greater effects on the former.

Conclusions: This study provided evidence that tailored MBE could lead to remarkable effects with regard to blood pressure, vital capacity, flexibility, and aerobic endurance in comparison with conventional rehabilitation methods.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7775308/

 

Improve Physiological Responses to Stress in Schools with Mind-Body Practices

Improve Physiological Responses to Stress in Schools with Mind-Body Practices

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness exercises have been shown to help students reduce stress and anxiety, gain conscious control over behaviors and attitudes, and improve focus.” – Robin L. Flanigan

 

In the modern world education is a key for success. Where a high school education was sufficient in previous generations, a college degree is now required to succeed in the new knowledge-based economies. There is a lot of pressure on students to excel so that they can get into the best schools and ultimately the best jobs. As a result, parents and students are constantly looking for ways to improve student performance in school. The primary tactic has been to pressure the student and clear away routine tasks and chores so that the student can focus on their studies. But, this might in fact be counterproductive as the increased pressure can actually lead to stress, depression, and anxiety which can impede the student’s mental health, well-being, and school performance.

 

It is, for the most part, beyond the ability of the individual to change the environment to reduce stress, so it is important that methods be found to reduce the students’ responses to stress; to make them more resilient when high levels of stress occur. Mind-body practices including meditationmindfulness training, and yoga practice have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. There is accumulating evidence of the effectiveness of mind-body practices on the students’ stress levels. So, it makes sense to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mind-Body Physical Activity Interventions and Stress-Related Physiological Markers in Educational Settings: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7795448/ ) Strehli and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies on the ability of mind-body practices to lower physiological indicators of stress in schools. They included studies involving elementary school, high school, and college students.

 

They identified 26 published studies, 80% of which were yoga based. They report that the published research found that the mind-body practices resulted in significant decreases in heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and stress hormone (cortisol) levels. These effects were stronger for the college students and less so for high school and elementary school children.

 

The results suggest that mind-body practices reduce the physiological indicators of stress in school children and adolescents. This fits with previous findings with a variety of groups that mindfulness practices reduce the physiological responses to stress. This is thought to result from increases in balance in the autonomic nervous system. Regardless the published research literature suggests that mind-body practices are beneficial for school students, particularly college students, reducing their levels of stress.

 

So, improve physiological responses to stress in schools with mind-body practices.

 

Students who engage in mindful movement activities can see a multitude of benefits, including increased strength and energy, better posture, reduced stress and improved attentiveness, self-confidence, self-awareness and self-care habits. Mind-body exercises also provide ways to build and strengthen relationships with others.” – Accredited Schools Online

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Strehli, I., Burns, R. D., Bai, Y., Ziegenfuss, D. H., Block, M. E., & Brusseau, T. A. (2020). Mind-Body Physical Activity Interventions and Stress-Related Physiological Markers in Educational Settings: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(1), 224. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18010224

 

Abstract

Mind–Body Physical Activity (MBPA) in educational settings is one possible preventive strategy for ameliorating stress-related physiological health parameters. The objectives of this study were to conduct a systematic review of the literature with meta-analyses on the effects of MBPA on stress-related physiological health markers in primary, secondary, and higher education students. In accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, the search for peer-reviewed articles published in English was conducted in PubMed, EBSCOhost, PsychInfo, Scopus, and Cochrane Library databases. Criteria for inclusion consisted of empirical studies targeting the student population (primary, secondary, higher education), studies examining the effectiveness of an MBPA intervention, studies including a control or comparison group (pre-test/post-test studies excluded), studies targeting physiological marker outcomes such as heart rate, blood glucose, cortisol, and blood pressure, and finally, studies examining interventions implemented within educational settings. Twenty-six interventions were eligible for the review and quantitative synthesis, which comprised a total of 1625 participants, with 783 students serving within the control/comparison group. There were statistically significant and large pooled effects for MBPA effectiveness for lowering heart rate (Hedges’ g = −1.71, 95% Confidence Interval (CI): −2.43, −0.98), cortisol (Hedges’ g = −1.32, 95% CI: −2.50, −0.16), and systolic and diastolic blood pressure (Hedges’ g = −1.04, 95% CI: −1.53, −0.58). These effects tended to be stronger in older students compared to younger students. Most analyses were characterized as having high heterogeneity and only 10 of the 26 studies were characterized as good quality (38.4%). MBPA interventions may have a positive impact on specific physiological health markers in students, especially in students within higher education. However, higher-quality research is needed in this area.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7795448/

 

Improve Psychological, Physiological, and Epigenetic Markers of Type 2 Diabetes with Mind-Body Practices

Improve Psychological, Physiological, and Epigenetic Markers of Type 2 Diabetes with Mind-Body Practices

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Diabetes, like many other chronic diseases, can also affect the mind. Similarly the mind has great power to influence the body.” – Diabetes UK

 

Diabetes is a major health issue. It is estimated that 30 million people in the United States and nearly 600 million people worldwide have diabetes and the numbers are growing. Type II Diabetes results from a resistance of tissues, especially fat tissues, to the ability of insulin to promote the uptake of glucose from the blood. As a result, blood sugar levels rise producing hyperglycemia. Diabetes is heavily associated with other diseases such as cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and circulatory problems leading to amputations. As a result, diabetes doubles the risk of death of any cause compared to individuals of the same age without diabetes.

 

Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable. One of the reasons for the increasing incidence of Type 2 Diabetes is its association with overweight and obesity which is becoming epidemic in the industrialized world. A leading cause of this is a sedentary life style. Current treatments for Type 2 Diabetes focus on diet, exercise, and weight control. Recently, mindfulness practices have been shown to be helpful in managing diabetes. Mindful movement practices such as Tai Chi and Qigong  and yoga are mindfulness practices that are also gentle exercises. There is accumulating research on the effectiveness of these mind-body practices for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes. So, it makes sense to examine what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Changes Induced by Mind-Body Intervention Including Epigenetic Marks and Its Effects on Diabetes.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7865217/ ) Yang and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies of the effects of mind-body practices on the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes including epigenetic markers.

 

They report that moving meditation practices such as Tai Chi and Qigong  and yoga have been shown to significantly improve blood glucose, HbA1c, postprandial blood glucose, total cholesterol, and both low-density and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Mindfulness meditation has been shown to significantly improve HbA1c, diabetes-related distress, depression, and stress. In addition, mind-body interventions produce epigenetic changes reflected in DNA methylation modification. More study is needed but these epigenetic changes may underlie the improvements in Type 2 Diabetes produced by mind-body interventions.

 

Mind-body interventions have been repeatedly demonstrated to significantly reduce depression, anxiety and stress. These psychological states tend to aggravate Type 2 Diabetes. Since mind-mind-body practices reduce depression, anxiety and stress, they produce improvements in the symptoms of diabetes. In addition, mind-body practices produce physiological changes that can improve the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes. These include activation of the parasympathetic (relaxation) nervous system, lower stress hormone (cortisol) secretion, reduced inflammation, and even reduced age based physiological changes.

 

These are remarkable findings that suggest that mind-body practices are effective in producing psychological and physiological changes that are very beneficial for the relief of the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes. These benefits are reflected in changes on the epigenetic level that might ultimately be responsible for the benefits. Clearly, mind-body practices should be incorporated into Type 2 Diabetes treatment programs.

 

So, improve psychological, physiological, and epigenetic markers of type 2 diabetes with mind-body practices.

 

meditation strategies can be useful adjunctive techniques to lifestyle modification and pharmacological management of diabetes and help improve patient wellbeing.” Gagan Priya

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

Yang, H. J., Koh, E., Sung, M. K., & Kang, H. (2021). Changes Induced by Mind-Body Intervention Including Epigenetic Marks and Its Effects on Diabetes. International journal of molecular sciences, 22(3), 1317. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms22031317

 

Abstract

Studies have evidenced that epigenetic marks associated with type 2 diabetes (T2D) can be inherited from parents or acquired through fetal and early-life events, as well as through lifelong environments or lifestyles, which can increase the risk of diabetes in adulthood. However, epigenetic modifications are reversible, and can be altered through proper intervention, thus mitigating the risk factors of T2D. Mind–body intervention (MBI) refers to interventions like meditation, yoga, and qigong, which deal with both physical and mental well-being. MBI not only induces psychological changes, such as alleviation of depression, anxiety, and stress, but also physiological changes like parasympathetic activation, lower cortisol secretion, reduced inflammation, and aging rate delay, which are all risk factors for T2D. Notably, MBI has been reported to reduce blood glucose in patients with T2D. Herein, based on recent findings, we review the effects of MBI on diabetes and the mechanisms involved, including epigenetic modifications.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7865217/

Reduce Opioid-Treated Pain and Opioid Dosage with Mindfulness

Reduce Opioid-Treated Pain and Opioid Dosage with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mind-body therapies — including meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy and hypnosis — were associated with improvements in pain and reduced opioid doses.” – Erin Michael

 

We all have to deal with pain. It’s inevitable, but hopefully it’s mild and short lived. For a wide swath of humanity, however, pain is a constant in their lives. At least 100 million adult Americans have chronic pain conditions. The most common treatment for chronic pain is drugs. These include over-the-counter analgesics and opioids. But opioids are dangerous and highly addictive. Prescription opioid overdoses kill more than 14,000 people annually. So, there is a great need to find safe and effective ways to lower the psychological distress and improve the individual’s ability to cope with the pain.

 

There is an accumulating volume of research findings that demonstrate that mindfulness practices, in general, are effective in treating pain. What is not known is the most effective mind-body treatments for chronic pain. There are a large variety of mind-body therapies including meditation, hypnosis, relaxation, guided imagery, therapeutic suggestion, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It is not known which are the most effective for reducing pain and opioid use in patients with chronic pain who are being treated with opioids.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mind-Body Therapies for Opioid-Treated Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6830441/ ) Garland and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials of the effectiveness of mind-body techniques for opioid-treated pain. They identified 60 published trials.

 

They report that the published research found that the studies that used Mind-Body Therapies produced significant reductions in pain outcomes and opioid use. This was true for studies that employed meditation, hypnosis, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), with the largest effect sizes found for meditation. Suggestion, imagery, and relaxation were all found to be less effective.

 

Hence, the published randomized controlled trials support the use of Mind-Body Therapies for the treatment of patients with chronic pain who are being treated with opioids. Meditation, hypnosis, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are particularly effective in both treating pain and reducing opioid use. This is compatible with other results that mindfulness meditation has been repeatedly shown to reduce pain and improve recovery from opioid addiction.

 

Meditation, hypnosis, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) have a common property of changing the patient’s thought patterns associated with their pain and thereby alter their relationship with the pain. These thought patterns such as worry, rumination, and catastrophizing tend to amplify the physical pain. Reducing these tendencies can eliminate the amplification and thereby reduce the experienced pain. With less pain, less opioids are needed to control it.

 

So, reduce opioid-treated pain and opioid dosage with mindfulness.

 

Using mindfulness, meditation, hypnosis, therapeutic suggestion, and cognitive behavior therapy, in addition to opioid treatment of acute or chronic pain, provides an additional benefit to patients by reducing pain scores. Some of these interventions will decrease the duration or amount of opioid needed.” – Sumi Sexton

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Garland, E. L., Brintz, C. E., Hanley, A. W., Roseen, E. J., Atchley, R. M., Gaylord, S. A., Faurot, K. R., Yaffe, J., Fiander, M., & Keefe, F. J. (2019). Mind-Body Therapies for Opioid-Treated Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA internal medicine, 180(1), 91–105. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2019.4917

 

Key Points

Question

Are mind-body therapies (ie, meditation, hypnosis, relaxation, guided imagery, therapeutic suggestion, and cognitive behavioral therapy) associated with pain reduction and opioid-related outcome improvement among adults using opioids for pain?

Findings

In this systematic review and meta-analysis of 60 randomized clinical trials with 6404 participants, mind-body therapies were associated with improved pain (Cohen d = −0.51; 95% CI, −0.76 to −0.27) and reduced opioid dose (Cohen d = −0.26; 95% CI, −0.44 to −0.08).

Meaning

Practitioners should be aware that mind-body therapies may be associated with moderate improvements in pain and small reductions in opioid dose.

Abstract

Importance

Mind-body therapies (MBTs) are emerging as potential tools for addressing the opioid crisis. Knowing whether mind-body therapies may benefit patients treated with opioids for acute, procedural, and chronic pain conditions may be useful for prescribers, payers, policy makers, and patients.

Objective

To evaluate the association of MBTs with pain and opioid dose reduction in a diverse adult population with clinical pain.

Data Sources

For this systematic review and meta-analysis, the MEDLINE, Embase, Emcare, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Cochrane Library databases were searched for English-language randomized clinical trials and systematic reviews from date of inception to March 2018. Search logic included (pain OR analgesia OR opioids) AND mind-body therapies. The gray literature, ClinicalTrials.gov, and relevant bibliographies were also searched.

Study Selection

Randomized clinical trials that evaluated the use of MBTs for symptom management in adults also prescribed opioids for clinical pain.

Data Extraction and Synthesis

Independent reviewers screened citations, extracted data, and assessed risk of bias. Meta-analyses were conducted using standardized mean differences in pain and opioid dose to obtain aggregate estimates of effect size with 95% CIs.

Main Outcomes and Measures

The primary outcome was pain intensity. The secondary outcomes were opioid dose, opioid misuse, opioid craving, disability, or function.

Results

Of 4212 citations reviewed, 60 reports with 6404 participants were included in the meta-analysis. Overall, MBTs were associated with pain reduction (Cohen d = −0.51; 95% CI, −0.76 to −0.26) and reduced opioid dose (Cohen d = −0.26; 95% CI, −0.44 to −0.08). Studies tested meditation (n = 5), hypnosis (n = 25), relaxation (n = 14), guided imagery (n = 7), therapeutic suggestion (n = 6), and cognitive behavioral therapy (n = 7) interventions. Moderate to large effect size improvements in pain outcomes were found for meditation (Cohen d = −0.70), hypnosis (Cohen d = −0.54), suggestion (Cohen d = −0.68), and cognitive behavioral therapy (Cohen d = −0.43) but not for other MBTs. Although most meditation (n = 4 [80%]), cognitive-behavioral therapy (n = 4 [57%]), and hypnosis (n = 12 [63%]) studies found improved opioid-related outcomes, fewer studies of suggestion, guided imagery, and relaxation reported such improvements. Most MBT studies used active or placebo controls and were judged to be at low risk of bias.

Conclusions and Relevance

The findings suggest that MBTs are associated with moderate improvements in pain and small reductions in opioid dose and may be associated with therapeutic benefits for opioid-related problems, such as opioid craving and misuse. Future studies should carefully quantify opioid dosing variables to determine the association of mind-body therapies with opioid-related outcomes.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6830441/Importance

Mind-body therapies (MBTs) are emerging as potential tools for addressing the opioid crisis. Knowing whether mind-body therapies may benefit patients treated with opioids for acute, procedural, and chronic pain conditions may be useful for prescribers, payers, policy makers, and patients.

Movement-Based Therapies are Affective for Rehabilitation from Disease

Movement-Based Therapies are Affective for Rehabilitation from Disease

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Tai chi is often described as “meditation in motion,” but it might well be called “medication in motion.” There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, has value in treating or preventing many health problems.” – Havard Health

 

Mindful movement practices such as yoga and Tai Chi and Qigong have been used for centuries to improve the physical and mental health and well-being of practitioners. But only recently has the effects of these practices come under scientific scrutiny. This research has been accumulating. So, it makes sense to pause and examine what has been learned about the effectiveness of these practice for rehabilitation from disease.

 

In today’s Research News article “Movement-Based Therapies in Rehabilitation.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7476461/ ) Phuphanich and colleagues review and summarize the published research studies of the effects of mindful movement practices on rehabilitation from disease.

 

They report that published research has found that yoga practice reduces fatigue, sleep disturbances, depression, and anxiety and improves the immune system in cancer patients. Yoga has been found to be an effective treatment for mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Yoga has been found to reduce pain levels, fear avoidance, stress, and sleep disturbance and increases self-efficacy and quality of life in chronic pain patients. Yoga has been found to improve the symptoms of traumatic brain injury, stroke, spinal cord injury, Parkinson disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and neuropathies. In addition, yoga has been found to improve systolic and diastolic blood pressures, heart rate, respiratory rate, waist circumference, waist/hip ratio, cholesterol, triglycerides, hemoglobin A1c, and insulin resistance in cardiopulmonary diseases.

 

They report that the published research has found that Tai Chi and Qigong practices reduce falls in the elderly. Tai Chi and Qigong has been found to reduce pain levels and increase quality of life in chronic pain patients. In addition, there is evidence that Tai Chi and Qigong practices improves depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, sleep disturbance, schizophrenia, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and immune disorders.

 

These are remarkable findings. The range of disorders that are positively affected by yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong practices is breathtaking. These practices are also safe and can be widely implemented at relatively low cost and can be performed alone or in groups and at home or in a therapeutic setting. This suggests that these practices should be routinely implemented for rehabilitation from disease.

 

So,  movement-based therapies are affective for rehabilitation from disease.

 

Being mindful through any physical activity can not only improve performance in the activity such as yoga, tennis, swimming, etc, but it can also increase flexibility, confidence in movement and generate a sense of body and mind connection that has the potential for improving your overall sense of well-being.“- Anupama Kommu

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Phuphanich, M. E., Droessler, J., Altman, L., & Eapen, B. C. (2020). Movement-Based Therapies in Rehabilitation. Physical medicine and rehabilitation clinics of North America, 31(4), 577–591. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmr.2020.07.002

 

Abstract

Movement therapy refers to a broad range of Eastern and Western mindful movement-based practices used to treat the mind, body, and spirit concurrently. Forms of movement practice are universal across human culture and exist in ancient history. Research demonstrates forms of movement therapy, such as dance, existed in the common ancestor shared by humans and chimpanzees, approximately 6 million years ago. Movement-based therapies innately promote health and wellness by encouraging proactive participation in one’s own health, creating community support and accountability, and so building a foundation for successful, permanent, positive change.

Key Points – Movement-based therapies

  • Decrease fear avoidance and empower individuals to take a proactive role in their own health and wellness.
  • Can benefit patients of any ability; practices are customizable to the individual’s needs and health.
  • Are safe, cost-effective, and potent adjunct treatments used to supplement (not replace) standard care.
  • Deliver patient-centered, integrative care that accounts for the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of health and illness.
  • Have diverse, evidence-based benefits, including reduction in pain, stress, and debility, and improvements in range of motion, strength, balance, coordination, cardiovascular health, physical fitness, mood, and cognition.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7476461/

 

Lower Stress and Improve the Psychological Health of Healthcare Workers with Mind-Body Practices

Lower Stress and Improve the Psychological Health of Healthcare Workers with Mind-Body Practices

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

mind-body programs. . . emphasize the importance of mindfulness, getting more sleep and reducing stress. Not long ago, those life strategies were viewed as irrelevant to a person’s health care. But these are all things that boost one’s mood. An added bonus? They make a huge difference in improving physical health.” – Hal Paz

 

Stress is epidemic in the western workplace with almost two thirds of workers reporting high levels of stress at work. In high stress occupations, like healthcare, burnout is all too prevalent. Burnout is the fatigue, cynicism, emotional exhaustion, sleep disruption, and professional inefficacy that comes with work-related stress. These stressors have been vastly amplified during the Covid-19 pandemic. Improving the psychological health of health care professionals, then, has to be a priority.

 

Contemplative practices have been shown to reduce the psychological and physiological responses to stress. Indeed, mindfulness has been shown to be helpful in treating and preventing burnoutincreasing resilience, and improving sleep.  Hence, it is reasonable to examine the ability of mind-body practices as a means to improve the well-being of healthcare professionals.

 

In today’s Research News article “Long-term beneficial effects of an online mind-body training program on stress and psychological outcomes in female healthcare providers: A non-randomized controlled study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7593019/ ) Lee and colleagues recruited female healthcare workers and randomly assigned them to a wait-list control condition or to receive an 8-week online program of mind-body training. The participants practiced at home for 10 minutes, 5 days per week, for 8 weeks. The training included relaxation training, breathing exercises, and meditation. The participants were measured before and after training and 4 weeks later for occupational stress, stress responses, emotional intelligence, resilience, coping strategies, positive and negative emotions, and anxiety.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group, the mind-body training group had significant reduction in overall stress levels, anger, and depression and a significant increase in a social support coping strategy that were maintained 4 weeks after the end of training. They also found that the mind-body group had a significant increase in emotion regulation, a problem-solving coping strategy ,and resilience and a significant decrease in negative emotions at the end of training but these improvements were no longer significant 4 weeks later.

 

This is an interesting study but conclusions must be tempered by the fact that the comparison condition was passive, leaving open the possibility for contaminants such as experimenter bias or participant expectancy, or attentional effects as alternative explanations. But the results are similar to other controlled studies that mindfulness training decreases stress, anger, negative emotions. and depression and increases emotion regulation and adaptive coping. So, it would appear that the mind-body training improves the psychological health of female healthcare workers with lasting improvements in stress levels, anger, depression and social support coping but transitory improvements in emotion regulation, resilience, negative emotions and problem-solving coping.

 

An important characteristic of the mind-body training in the present study was that it was provided online and only involved 10 minutes of daily practice. This type of program is convenient and doesn’t add a major time commitment to the healthcare workers’ already very busy schedule. So, it is easy to inexpensively and conveniently provide it to large numbers of healthcare workers without adding extra stress. Such a program, then, can improve the well-being of these stressed workers, potentially reducing burnout and improving job effectiveness. This is particularly important during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

So, lower stress and improve the psychological health of healthcare workers with min-body practices.

 

Mind-body therapies are safe, noninvasive techniques that have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety . . . Furthermore, they have demonstrated preliminary effects in improving psychological outcomes in physicians and health-care providers.” – Ting Bao

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Lee, D., Lee, W. J., Choi, S. H., Jang, J. H., & Kang, D. H. (2020). Long-term beneficial effects of an online mind-body training program on stress and psychological outcomes in female healthcare providers: A non-randomized controlled study. Medicine, 99(32), e21027. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000021027

 

Abstract

Mind-body training (MBT) programs are effective interventions for relieving stress and improving psychological capabilities. To expand our previous study which demonstrated the short-term effects of an 8-week online MBT program, the present study investigated whether those short-term effects persist up to a month after the end of the intervention.

Among previous participants, 56 (64%) participated in this follow-up study, 25 in the MBT group and 31 in the control group. Outcome measures included the stress response, emotional intelligence, resilience, coping strategies, positive and negative affect, and anger expression of both groups at baseline, at 8 weeks (right after the training or waiting period), and at 12 weeks (a month after the training or waiting period).

The MBT group showed a greater decrease in stress response at 8 weeks, and this reduction remained a month after the end of the intervention. The effect of MBT on resilience and effective coping strategies was also significant at 8 weeks and remained constant a month later. However, the improvement to emotional intelligence and negative affect did not persist a month after training.

These findings suggest that the beneficial short-term effects of MBT may last beyond the training period even without continuous practice, but the retention of these benefits seems to depend on the outcome variables. Through a convenient, affordable, and easily accessible online format, MBT may provide cost-effective solutions for employees at worksites.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7593019/

 

Mind-Body Skills Training Improves College Student Mental Health and Well-Being

Mind-Body Skills Training Improves College Student Mental Health and Well-Being

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

By focusing on and controlling our breath, we can change how we think and feel. We can use the breath as a means of changing our emotional state and managing stress.” —Tommy Rosen

 

There is an accumulating volume of research findings to demonstrate that Mind-body practices have highly beneficial effects on the health and well-being of humans. These include meditation, yoga, tai chi, qigong, biofeedback, progressive muscle relaxation, guided imagery, hypnosis, and deep breathing exercises. Because of their proven benefits the application of these practices to relieving human suffering has skyrocketed.

 

There is a lot of pressure on college students to excel. This stress might in fact be counterproductive as the increased pressure can actually lead to stress and anxiety which can impede the student’s physical and mental health, well-being, and school performance. Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health. Indeed, these practices have been found to improve psychological health in college students. So, it would be expected that training in mind-body practices would improve the psychological health of college students.

 

In today’s Research News article “Impact of a University-Wide Interdisciplinary Mind-Body Skills Program on Student Mental and Emotional Well-Being.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7686595/ ) Novak and colleagues recruited college students who were enrolled to take a mind-body skills program and an equivalent group of control college students. The program consisted of 9-weeks of once a week for 2 hours training and discussion of “mindfulness, guided imagery, autogenic training, biofeedback, and breathing techniques, as well as art, music, and movement practices” in groups of 10. The students were instructed to practice daily at home for 20 minutes. They were measured before and after training for perceived stress, positive and negative emotions, resilience, depression, anxiety, fatigue, sleep disturbance, mindfulness, interpersonal reactivity, and burnout. Subsets of each group were remeasured one year after the completion of the study. There were no significant differences in these measures between the groups at baseline.

 

They found that in comparison to the baseline and the control group, the students who received mind-body skills training had significant decreases in perceived stress, negative affect, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and burnout and significant increases in positive emotions, resilience, mindfulness, empathic concern, and perspective taking. In addition, the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of perceived stress, negative emotions and depersonalization and the higher the levels of positive emotions, resilience, and perspective taking. Unfortunately, these improvements, except for mindfulness, disappeared by the one year follow up.

 

The present study did not have an active control condition. So, it is possible that confounding factors such as participant expectancy, experimenter bias, attention effects etc. may have been responsible for the results. But in prior controlled research it has been demonstrated that mindfulness training produces decreases in perceived stress, negative emotions, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and burnout and significant increases in positive emotions, resilience, and empathic concern. So, it is likely that the benefits observed in the present study were due to the mind-body skills training.

 

These results then suggest that mind-body skills training produces marked improvements in the psychological health and well-being of college students. But the improvements were not lasting. This may signal the need for better training protocols or periodic booster session to maintain the benefits. Given the great academic stress, pressure, and social stresses of college life, the students were much better off for taking the mind-body skills training program. It was not measured but these benefits would predict increased academic performance and improved well-being in these students.

 

So, mind-body skills training improves college student mental health and well-being.

 

mind/body approaches to healing and wellness are gaining in popularity in the U.S. and research supports their efficacy in treating a number of psychological and physical health issues that are not easily treated by mainstream medicine.” – Doug Guiffrida

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are a also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Novak, B. K., Gebhardt, A., Pallerla, H., McDonald, S. B., Haramati, A., & Cotton, S. (2020). Impact of a University-Wide Interdisciplinary Mind-Body Skills Program on Student Mental and Emotional Well-Being. Global Advances in Health and Medicine, 9, 2164956120973983. https://doi.org/10.1177/2164956120973983

 

Abstract

Background

Positive effects of mind-body skills programs on participant well-being have been reported in health professions students. The success seen with medical students at this university led to great interest in expanding the mind-body skills program so students in other disciplines could benefit from the program.

Objective

The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of a 9-week mind-body skills program on the mental and emotional well-being of multidisciplinary students compared to controls. We also sought to determine if the program’s effects were sustained at 1-year follow-up.

Methods

A cross-sectional pre-post survey was administered online via SurveyMonkey to participants of a 9-week mind-body skills program and a control group of students from 7 colleges at a public university from 2017–2019. Students were assessed on validated measures of stress, positive/negative affect, resilience, depression, anxiety, fatigue, sleep disturbance, mindfulness, empathy, and burnout. Scores were analyzed between-groups and within-groups using bivariate and multivariate analyses. A 1-year follow-up was completed on a subset of participants and controls.

Results

279 participants and 247 controls completed the pre-survey and post-survey (79% response rate; 71% female, 68% white, mean age = 25 years). Participants showed significant decreases in stress, negative affect, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and burnout, while positive affect, resilience, mindfulness, and empathy increased significantly (P < .05). Only sleep disturbance showed a significant decrease in the control group. Follow-up in a subset of participants showed that only mindfulness remained elevated at 1-year (P < .05), whereas the significant changes in other well-being measures were not sustained.

Conclusion

Participation in a 9-week mind-body skills program led to significant improvement in indicators of well-being in multidisciplinary students. A pilot 1-year follow-up suggests that effects are only sustained for mindfulness, but not other parameters. Future programming should focus on implementing mind-body skills booster sessions to help sustain the well-being benefits.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7686595/

 

Improve Low Back Pain with Walking and Mind-Body Practices

Improve Low Back Pain with Walking and Mind-Body Practices

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindfulness training teaches us to be aware of, and accept, moment-to-moment physical sensations of discomfort, while letting go of our usual negative reactions. So instead of spending hours each day thinking about how much we hate our back pain, worrying about our prognosis, and seeking relief, we learn how to be with the pain — paying attention to how it actually feels at each moment and relaxing our tendency to tense up against it, while observing our worried or distressed thoughts and feelings coming and going.” – Ronald Siegel

 

Low Back Pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide and affects between 6% to 15% of the population. It is estimated, however, that 80% of the population will experience back pain sometime during their lives. There are varied treatments for low back pain including chiropractic care, acupuncture, biofeedback, physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, massage, surgery, opiate pain killing drugs, steroid injections, and muscle relaxant drugs. These therapies are sometimes effective particularly for acute back pain. But, for chronic conditions the treatments are less effective and often require continuing treatment for years and opiate pain killers are dangerous and can lead to abuse, addiction, and fatal overdoses.

 

Obviously, there is a need for safe and effective treatments for low back pain that are low cost and don’t have troublesome side effects. Mindfulness practices are effective in treating pain and have been shown to be safe and effective in the management of low back painYoga practice has been shown to have a myriad of health benefits. These include relief of chronic painYoga practice has also been shown to be effective for the relief of chronic low-back pain.  Other mind-body  practices such as Tai Chi  improves spinal health and reduces pain. The evidence is accumulating, so, it would seem reasonable to summarize what has been learned regarding the ability of mind-body practices to treat chronic low back pain.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of walking versus mind-body therapies in chronic low back pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis of recent randomized controlled trials.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7458239/ ) Nduwimana and colleagues reviewed, summarized, and performed a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials comparing the effectiveness of m1nd-body practices and walking for the relief of chronic low back pain. They identified 31 published trials containing a total of 3193 participants.

 

They report that the published research found that both walking and m1nd-body practices were effective in significantly reducing low back pain. Of the m1nd-body practices, yoga was particularly effective not only reducing pain but also producing significant reductions in activity limitations resulting from low back pain. On the short-term (up to 3 months) yoga produced significant pain reductions while on the intermediate-term (3 to 6 months), walking produced significant pain reductions.

 

These results are important as low back pain is ubiquitous and produces not only discomfort but also limitations on the ability of patients to conduct their lives. So, its relief greatly reduces the suffering and improves the quality of life. The comparison of mind-body practices to walking is important as both are exercises and their relative effectiveness assessed. The results suggest that yoga practice has better short-term effectiveness while walking appears to be better for the intermediate term. This further suggests that future research should explore the effectiveness of the combination of mind-body practices and walking in the treatment of low back pain.

 

So, improve low back pain with walking and mind-body practices.

 

Mindbody treatments (designed to change these attitudes, feeling, and beliefs about pain) can measurably reduce back pain over time.” – Curable

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Nduwimana, I., Nindorera, F., Thonnard, J. L., & Kossi, O. (2020). Effectiveness of walking versus mind-body therapies in chronic low back pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis of recent randomized controlled trials. Medicine, 99(35), e21969. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000021969

 

Abstract

Purpose:

Walking and mind-body therapies (MBTs) are commonly recommended to relieve pain and improve function in patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP). The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of walking and MBTs in CLBP.

Methods:

We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing walking or MBTs to any other intervention or control in adults with CLBP. Studies were identified through PubMed, Cochrane Library, PsycINFO, Scopus, and ScienceDirect databases. The research was limited to studies published in English and French between January 2008 and December 2018. Two reviewers independently selected the studies, extracted data, and assessed studies quality using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) scale. Statistical analyses were performed under a random-effects model. We analyzed pain and activity limitation, with the calculation of standardized mean differences and 95% confidence intervals for the different treatment effects.

Results:

Thirty one randomized controlled trials involving 3193 participants were analyzed. Walking was as effective as control interventions in the short-term and slightly superior in the intermediate term with respect to pain (Standardized mean differences (SMD)  = –0.34; 95% CI, –0.65 to –0.03; P = .03) and activity limitation (SMD = –0.30; 95% CI, –0.50 to –0.10; P = .003). In contrast, yoga was more effective than control interventions in the short term in terms of pain (SMD = –1.47; 95% CI, –2.26 to –0.68; P = .0003) and activity limitation (SMD = –1.17; 95% CI, –1.80 to –0.55; P = .0002). Yoga was no longer superior to the control interventions for pain at the 6-month follow-up.

Conclusion:

MBTs, especially yoga, seem to be more effective in the short term, and walking seems to be more effective in the intermediate term, for the relief of pain and activity limitation in patients with CLBP. A combination of walking and MBTs fits the biopsychosocial model and might be valuable therapy for CLBP throughout follow-up due to combined effects.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7458239/

 

Reduce the Symptoms of Schizophrenia with Mind-Body Practices

Reduce the Symptoms of Schizophrenia with Mind-Body Practices

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Research shows that some mindfulness-based interventions for psychotic symptoms can afford people a greater acceptance and insight into their experiences. They can also reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression which often accompany, and may exacerbate, psychotic disorders.” – Adrianna Mendrek

 

Schizophrenia is the most common form of psychosis. Its effects about 1% of the population worldwide. It appears to be highly heritable and involves changes in the brain. It is characterized by both positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms include hallucinations; seeing and, in some cases, feeling, smelling or tasting things that aren’t there, or delusions; unshakable beliefs that, when examined rationally, are obviously untrue. Negative symptoms include a reduced ability to function normally, neglect of personal hygiene, lack of emotion, blank facial expressions, speaking in a monotone, loss of interest in everyday activities, social withdrawal, an inability to experience pleasure, and a lack of insight into their symptoms. The symptoms of schizophrenia usually do not appear until late adolescence or early adulthood.

 

Schizophrenia is very difficult to treat with psychotherapy and is usually treated with antipsychotic drugs. These drugs, however, are not always effective, sometimes lose effectiveness, and can have some difficult side effects. Mindfulness training has been shown to be beneficial for a variety of mental health problems, including psychosis. Mindfulness has also been shown to associated with lower symptom severity of schizophrenia. Also, there is accumulating research that mindfulness and yoga practices may be beneficial for patients with major mental illnesses. Tai Chi and Qigong  practices have also been shown to improve the symptoms of schizophrenia. The evidence is accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned about mind-body practices as treatments for schizophrenia.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Mind-Body Exercises on Schizophrenia: A Systematic Review With Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7457019/ ) Wei and colleagues review, summarize and perform a meta-analysis of the published controlled research studies of the effectiveness of mind-body practices to improve the symptoms of schizophrenia. They included Tai Chi, Qigong, yoga, and other mindful movement practices. They identified 13 studies (11 randomized controlled trials) employing a total of 1159 patients with schizophrenia.

 

They report that the published studies found that mind-body practices produced significant improvements of both the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia and also depression. In addition, the greater the number of weekly mind-body sessions the greater the improvement in the positive symptoms and the greater the duration of the mind-body sessions the greater the improvements in the negative symptoms.

 

These results are impressive as schizophrenia is difficult to treat. But the results show that mind-body practices are safe and effective treatments that improve not only the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia but also the frequently co-occurring depression. There also appears to be a dose response effect such that the greater the frequency and duration of mind-body practices the greater the benefits. This suggests that mind-body practices should be recommended as a part of the treatment for schizophrenia.

 

So, reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia with mind-body practices.

 

yoga therapy is of particular benefit for those with schizophrenia . .  in lessening state anxiety and increasing subjective wellbeing, while also reducing both positive and negative symptoms and improving quality of life.” – Minded Institute

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Wei, G. X., Yang, L., Imm, K., Loprinzi, P. D., Smith, L., Zhang, X., & Yu, Q. (2020). Effects of Mind-Body Exercises on Schizophrenia: A Systematic Review With Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in psychiatry, 11, 819. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.00819

 

Abstract

Background

Mind–body exercises (MBEs) have been widely accepted as a complementary therapy for the patients with low exercise tolerance. Currently, the number of experimental studies investigating the effect of MBEs for improving symptoms in people with schizophrenia is increasing. However, results are inconsistent.

Methods

We systematically reviewed and meta-analyzed the effects of mind–body exercises on schizophrenia. Seven electronic databases (Pubmed, Web of Science, PsycINFO, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials [CENTRAL], CNKI and Wangfang) were screened through October 2019 and risks of bias of included studies were assessed in Review Manager 5.3.

Results

Meta-analysis on 13 studies with 1,159 patients showed moderately significant effects in favor of mind–body exercise intervention to improve positive symptoms (SMD = 0.31; 95% CI 0.01 to 0.60; p = 0.04), negative symptoms (SMD = 0.37; 95% CI 0.14 to 0.60; p = 0.002), and depression (SMD = 0.88; 95% CI 0.63 to 1.13; p<0.00001). Meta-regression analysis revealed that the improvement in positive symptoms was positively associated with the frequency of intervention (p = 0.04), while a marginally significant correlation was observed between the improved negative symptoms and duration of each session (p = 0.06).

Conclusions

This meta-analysis supports the therapeutic effects of MBEs to aid in the treatment of schizophrenia. Further studies need to incorporate rigorous design and large sample size to identify the optimal type and dose of mind–body exercise to inform clinical practices on MBEs’ recommendations for the management of schizophrenia symptoms.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7457019/

 

Improve the Physical and Psychological Well-Being of Cancer Survivors with Mind-Body Practices

Improve the Physical and Psychological Well-Being of Cancer Survivors with Mind-Body Practices

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mind-body techniques such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, and qigong have been found to lower distress and lead to improvements in different aspects of quality of life. . .  to help patients manage the psychosocial challenges of diagnosis and treatment of cancer.” – Alejandro Chaoul

 

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer has a huge impact on most people. Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing and potentially life-ending experience. But cancer diagnosis is not necessarily a death sentence. Over half of the people diagnosed with cancer are still alive 10 years later and this number is rapidly increasing. But, surviving cancer carries with it a number of problems. Anxiety, depression, fatigue and insomnia are common symptoms in the aftermath of surviving breast cancer. These symptoms markedly reduce the quality of life of the patients.

 

Mindfulness training has been shown to help with cancer recovery and help to relieve chronic pain. It can also help treat the residual physical and psychological symptoms, including stress, sleep disturbancefear, and anxiety and depression. Mind-body practices such as Tai Chi or Qigong, and yoga have been shown to be effective in improving the psychological symptoms occurring in breast cancer patients. There have been a number of research studies conducted on the effectiveness of mind-body practices for the relief of the physical and mental symptoms of cancer survivors. So, it makes sense to summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of Mind-Body Exercise in Cancer Survivors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7487122/ ) Duan and colleagues

review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published randomized controlled trials of the effectiveness of mind-body practices for the treatment of cancer survivors. They found 15 published controlled clinical trials including a total of 1461 patients.

 

They report that the published controlled clinical trials found that mind-body practices produced significant increases in physical fitness and sleep quality and decreases in fatigue, depression, anxiety, and body mass index. Of the different mind-body practices Tai Chi practice appears to be superior in decreasing fatigue and sleep problems, Qigong practice appears to be superior in increasing physical fitness, while yoga practice appears to be superior in decreasing depression and anxiety.

 

These results are important in that they demonstrate that mind-body practices are effective in relieving the psychological and physical symptoms present in cancer survivors. These findings are generalizable in that a wide variety of types of cancers with a wide variety of patients were included. This suggests that mind-body practices are applicable to relieving the suffering of cancer survivors in general.

 

The review suggested, however, that different mind-body practices may be superior in addressing specific symptoms. Qigong appears to be best for improving physical fitness, Tai Chi appears to be best for reducing sleep problems and fatigue, and yoga appears to be best for alleviating mental disorders. So, tailoring the program for the greatest problems experienced by specific cancer patients may maximize the benefits for the individual patient.

 

So, improve the physical and psychological well-being of cancer survivors with mind-body practices.

 

Life with cancer can be stressful. . . Mind-body medicine helps you relax and buffer some of these effects. It can also help you manage your condition better.” – WebMD

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Duan, L., Xu, Y., & Li, M. (2020). Effects of Mind-Body Exercise in Cancer Survivors: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2020, 7607161. https://doi.org/10.1155/2020/7607161

 

Abstract

Objective

Mind-body exercise may have potential benefits for cancer survivors according to previous studies. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to summarize the published evidence and evaluate the safety and efficacy of mind-body exercise on general quality of life (QOL) and symptom management in cancer survivors.

Methods

Four English language databases were systematically searched for existing randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of mind-body exercise in cancer survivors from database inception through October 23, 2019. Methodological quality was appraised with the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool. A meta-analysis of comparative effects was performed using the Review Manager v.5.3 software.

Results

Fifteen studies encompassing 1461 patients were included. Analysis results showed that mind-body exercise could have a statistically significant effect on the outcomes of physical fitness, fatigue, sleep quality, depression, anxiety, and BMI, while effects on general QOL and stress were not statistically significant (all p > 0.05). No serious adverse events were reported.

Conclusions

The current evidence demonstrates that mind-body exercise is relatively safe and modestly effective for symptom management in cancer survivors. Furthermore, randomized trials with larger sample sizes and of higher methodological quality are needed to confirm these results.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7487122/