Mindfulness Training Reduces Posttraumatic Stress Among Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence

Mindfulness Training Reduces Posttraumatic Stress Among Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“People with PTSD may sometimes feel as though they have a hard time getting any distance from unpleasant thoughts and memories. . . Mindfulness may help people get back in touch with the present moment, as well as reduce the extent with which they feel controlled by unpleasant thoughts and memories.” – Matthew Tull

 

The human tendency to lash out with aggression when threatened was adaptive for the evolution of the species. It helped promote the survival of the individual, the family, and the tribe. In the modern world, however, this trait has become more of a problem than an asset. These violent and aggressive tendencies can lead to violence directed to intimate partners, including sexual and physical violence. In the U.S. there are over 5 million cases of domestic violence reported annually. Indeed, it has been estimated that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced physical violence and 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual violence from an intimate partner.

 

Intimate partner violence frequently produces Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms in the survivors. Hence, there is a need to find ways to reduce the impact of intimate partner violence on the mental health of the survivors. Mindfulness training has been shown to reduce the symptoms of PTSD. Hence, mindfulness training may be effective in treating survivors of intimate partner violence.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effects of mindfulness training on posttraumatic stress symptoms from a community-based pilot clinical trial among survivors of intimate partner violence.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8052636/ ) In a small pilot study, Gallegos and colleagues recruited, through family court, women who were survivors of intimate partner violence. They were randomly assigned to receive either an 8-week program of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) or wellness education. MBSR met once a week for 2 hours and consisted of meditation, body scan, and yoga practices along with discussion and home practice. For wellness education the participants were provided a manual that provided information on various aspects of health, including diet, physical activity, sleep, stress management, and communication. They received a weekly check-in phone calls regarding the use of the manual. The participants were measured before and after training and 4-weeks later for physical and sexual assault experiences, post-traumatic stress symptoms, emotion regulation, and attention. They also had their heart rate variability measured at rest and during exposure to positive, neutral, or negative (trauma related) pictures.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline, the women who received mindfulness training had significantly lower levels of post-traumatic stress symptoms and higher levels of emotion regulation, while the wellness education participants did not. This was true immediately after treatment and also 4 weeks later. There were also non-significant increases in heart rate variability while viewing trauma-related pictures in the mindfulness group and decreases in the wellness education group.

 

This is a pilot study of a small sample (29 women) and was not powered to detect significant differences between groups. The results, however were encouraging, suggesting that mindfulness training tends to relieve the symptoms of trauma, improve emotion regulation and produce relaxation of the autonomic nervous system in women who were survivors of intimate partner violence. In previous research it has been shown that mindfulness training reduces post-traumatic stress symptoms, improves emotion regulation, and relaxes the autonomic nervous system. The contribution of the present study is to suggest that mindfulness training might also be effective in the treatment of women who have survived intimate partner violence. The results, then, suggest that a large randomized controlled trial should be conducted,

 

So, reduce posttraumatic stress among survivors of intimate partner violence with mindfulness.

 

PTSD is really a different way of seeing the world, and is also seen at the level of physiology. But by going through a couple of months of making an effort to change thoughts and behaviors, that physiological syndrome can also change back again.” – Tony King

 

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

Gallegos, A. M., Heffner, K. L., Cerulli, C., Luck, P., McGuinness, S., & Pigeon, W. R. (2020). Effects of mindfulness training on posttraumatic stress symptoms from a community-based pilot clinical trial among survivors of intimate partner violence. Psychological trauma : theory, research, practice and policy, 12(8), 859–868. https://doi.org/10.1037/tra0000975

Abstract

Objective:

Exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV) is a significant public health issue associated with deleterious mental and medical health comorbidities, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The hallmark symptoms of posttraumatic stress (PTS), even when not meeting the threshold for a diagnosis of PTSD, appear to be underpinned by poor self-regulation in multiple domains, including emotion, cognitive control, and physiological stress. Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) holds promise for treating PTS symptoms because evidence suggests it targets these domains. The current study was a pilot randomized clinical trial designed to examine changes in emotion regulation, attentional function, and physiological stress dysregulation among women IPV survivors with elevated PTS symptoms after participation in a group-based, 8-week MBSR program.

Method:

In total, 29 participants were randomized to receive MBSR (n = 19) or an active control (n = 10). Assessments were conducted at study entry, as well as 8 and 12 weeks later.

Results:

Between-group differences on primary outcomes were nonsignificant; however, when exploring within groups, statistically significant decreases in PTS symptoms, F(1.37, 16.53) = 5.19, p < .05, and emotion dysregulation, F(1.31, 14.46) = 9.36, p < .01, were observed after MBSR but not after the control intervention. Further, decreases in PTSD and emotion dysregulation were clinically significant for MBSR participants but not control participants.

Conclusions:

These preliminary data signal that MBSR may improve PTS symptoms and emotion regulation and suggest further study of the effectiveness of PTSD interventions guided by integrative models of MBSR mechanisms and psychophysiological models of stress regulation.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8052636/

 

Reduce Negative Moods and Depression in Healthy Individuals and Patients with Mood Disorders with Psychedelic Drugs

Reduce Negative Moods and Depression in Healthy Individuals and Patients with Mood Disorders with Psychedelic Drugs

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs in psychotherapeutic settings represents a promising and integrative treatment with enduring effects for mental health patients.” – Genis Oña

 

Psychedelic substances such as peyote, mescaline, LSD, Bufotoxin, ayahuasca and psilocybin have been used almost since the beginning of recorded history to alter consciousness and produce spiritually meaningful experiences. People find these experiences extremely pleasant. eye opening, and even transformative. They often report that the experiences changed them forever. Psychedelics have also been found to be clinically useful as they markedly improve mood, increase energy and enthusiasm and greatly improve clinical depression.

 

The research on the effectiveness of psychedelic drugs on mood and clinical depression is accumulating. So, it makes sense to step back and summarize what has been learned. In today’s Research News article “Classic serotonergic psychedelics for mood and depressive symptoms: a meta-analysis of mood disorder patients and healthy participants.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7826317/ )  Galvão-Coelho and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies of the effectiveness of psychedelic drugs in improving mood and reducing depression with healthy individuals and patients with mood disorders.

 

They identified 12 published randomized controlled trials; 8 used psilocybin, 3 LSD, and 1 ayahuasca. They report that the research found that psychedelic treatment produced significant reductions in negative moods and depression in both healthy participants and in patients with mood disorders. In mood disorder patients the improvements were still significant 2 months after treatment. It should be recognized that the application of the psychedelics in these studies occur in highly structured controlled environments. This produces few if any troubling side effects with the exception of occasional slight anxiety. The safety of these drugs in uncontrolled non-clinical settings are not known.

 

The published research is clear that psychedelic drugs are effective in improving mood and reducing depression in both healthy individuals and those with mood disorders. Mood disorders including depression are by far the most common psychological problems in humans. The research is suggesting that controlled administration of psychedelic drugs is a safe and effective treatment relieving the suffering.

 

So, reduce negative moods and depression in healthy individuals and patients with mood disorders with psychedelic drugs.

 

People who had recently used psychedelics such as psilocybin report a sustained improvement in mood and feeling closer to others after the high has worn off.” – Bill Hathaway

 

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

 

Galvão-Coelho, N. L., Marx, W., Gonzalez, M., Sinclair, J., de Manincor, M., Perkins, D., & Sarris, J. (2021). Classic serotonergic psychedelics for mood and depressive symptoms: a meta-analysis of mood disorder patients and healthy participants. Psychopharmacology, 238(2), 341–354. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-020-05719-1

 

Abstract

Rationale

Major depressive disorder is one of the leading global causes of disability, for which the classic serotonergic psychedelics have recently reemerged as a potential therapeutic treatment option.

Objective

We present the first meta-analytic review evaluating the clinical effects of classic serotonergic psychedelics vs placebo for mood state and symptoms of depression in both healthy and clinical populations (separately).

Results

Our search revealed 12 eligible studies (n = 257; 124 healthy participants, and 133 patients with mood disorders), with data from randomized controlled trials involving psilocybin (n = 8), lysergic acid diethylamide ([LSD]; n = 3), and ayahuasca (n = 1). The meta-analyses of acute mood outcomes (3 h to 1 day after treatment) for healthy volunteers and patients revealed improvements with moderate significant effect sizes in favor of psychedelics, as well as for the longer-term (16 to 60 days after treatments) mood state of patients. For patients with mood disorder, significant effect sizes were detected on the acute, medium (2–7 days after treatment), and longer-term outcomes favoring psychedelics on the reduction of depressive symptoms.

Conclusion

Despite the concerns over unblinding and expectancy, the strength of the effect sizes, fast onset, and enduring therapeutic effects of these psychotherapeutic agents encourage further double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials assessing them for management of negative mood and depressive symptoms.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7826317/

 

University Leaders and Teachers Mindfulness are Associated with Lower Emotional Exhaustion in Teachers

University Leaders and Teachers Mindfulness are Associated with Lower Emotional Exhaustion in Teachers

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“leader mindfulness significantly reduces the emotional exhaustion of university teachers.” – Beini Liu

 

Work is very important for our health and well-being. We spend approximately 25% of our adult lives at work. How we spend that time is immensely important for not only to productivity in the workplace but also to our psychological and physical health. Mindfulness practices have been implemented in the workplace and they have been shown to markedly reduce the physiological and psychological responses to stress. This, in turn, improves productivity and the well-being of the employees. As a result, many businesses have incorporated mindfulness practices into the workday.

 

Mindfulness may also help to promote leadership in the workplace. It can potentially do so by enhancing emotion regulation, making the individual better able to recognize, experience, and adaptively respond to their emotions, and making the leader better able to listen to and to understand the needs and emotion of the workers they lead. Hence, the mindfulness of the leader may well be associated with University teachers’ well-being.

 

In today’s Research News article “Influence of Leader Mindfulness on the Emotional Exhaustion of University Teachers: Resources Crossover Effect.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7959755/ ) Liu and colleagues recruited public university leaders and teachers and had them complete a questionnaire measuring leader mindfulness and teacher mindfulness, workplace telepressure, emotional exhaustion, self-efficacy, working hours, and years in current position.

 

They found that with gender, age, tenure, and hours worked statistically controlled that the higher the level of the leader’s mindfulness the lower the level of the teacher’s emotional exhaustion and the lower the levels of telepressure. A mediation analysis revealed the leader’s mindfulness was associated with lower teacher emotional exhaustion directly and also indirectly by being associated with lower telepressure and telepressure was associated with higher levels of teacher emotional exhaustion. This association between the leader’s mindfulness and the lower teacher’s emotional exhaustions was significantly stronger when the teachers had high levels of mindfulness. Finally, they found that the higher the levels of the teacher’s self-efficacy the weaker the relationship between telepressure and emotional exhaustion.

 

The study was correlational so no conclusions regarding causation can be reached. Nevertheless, the associations between the variables are interesting. It is clear that mindfulness is important both within the individual teacher and also in the leader for being associated with lower teacher emotional exhaustion. It has previously been shown that mindfulness decreases burnout. So, the relationships observed here probably results from a causal connection.

 

Workplace telepressure “is a psychological state in which employees are constantly concerned about urgently responding to work-related ICTs [Information and Communications Technologies] during non-working hours.” These communications appear to be associated with higher levels of emotional exhaustion and these, in part, appear to mediate the effects of mindfulness on emotional exhaustion. In addition, when the teachers had high self-efficacy, telepressure had less of an impact on emotional exhaustion.

 

Preventing teacher burnout is important not only for the teacher’s well-being but also for the students’ education. It is clear that mindful academic leadership is important, suggesting that mindfulness training for leaders may improve the workplace environment for the teachers. The teacher’s level of mindfulness and self-efficacy appear also to be important, suggesting that mindfulness and self-efficacy training for the teachers would also likely improve their well-being. The results also suggest that communications to the teachers should be limited and less urgent. Being cognizant of the importance of these relationships can help to improve the environment, psychological health, and performance of university teachers.

 

So, university leaders’ and teachers’ mindfulness are associated with lower emotional exhaustion in teachers.

 

administrators and school leaders can increase retention and efficacy by seeking out ways to support teachers’ self-care and learning of mindfulness techniques.” – Kelsey Milne

 

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

 

Liu, B., Zhang, Z., & Lu, Q. (2021). Influence of Leader Mindfulness on the Emotional Exhaustion of University Teachers: Resources Crossover Effect. Frontiers in psychology, 12, 597208. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.597208

 

Abstract

This study combined conservation of resources theory with the job demands-resources model to explore the influence of leader mindfulness on the emotional exhaustion of university teachers Using a time-lagged research design, 388 paired data sets were gathered. Multiple regression and bootstrapping were used to test each hypothesis. The results showed that first, leader mindfulness significantly reduces the emotional exhaustion of university teachers. Second, the results showed that workplace telepressure partially mediates the relationship between leader mindfulness and the emotional exhaustion of university teachers. Third, university teacher mindfulness positively moderates the relationship between leader mindfulness and workplace telepressure. Finally, the results of this study indicate that self-efficacy in managing negative emotions negatively moderates the relationship between workplace telepressure and the emotional exhaustion of university teachers. This study empirically examined the interpersonal influence of leader mindfulness and the initial resources effect of university teacher mindfulness and self-efficacy in managing negative emotions from the bilateral perspective of leaders and university teachers.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7959755/

 

Improve Sleep Quality in People with Insomnia with Mindfulness

Improve Sleep Quality in People with Insomnia with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“If you suffer from insomnia, mindfulness helps you be more accepting of your experience when you have difficulty sleeping. It may seem paradoxical, but this willingness to accept the experience of poor sleep can lead to less anxiety and better rest.” – Polan Orzech

 

Modern society has become more around-the-clock and more complex producing considerable pressure and stress on the individual. The advent of the internet and smart phones has exacerbated the problem. The resultant stress can impair sleep. Indeed, it is estimated that over half of Americans sleep too little due to stress. As a result, people today sleep 20% less than they did 100 years ago. Not having a good night’s sleep has adverse effects upon the individual’s health, well-being, and happiness. It has been estimated that 30 to 35% of adults have brief symptoms of insomnia, 15 to 20% have a short-term insomnia disorder, and 10% have chronic insomnia

 

Insomnia is more than just an irritant. Sleep deprivation is associated with decreased alertness and a consequent reduction in performance of even simple tasks, decreased quality of life, increased difficulties with memory and problem solving, increased likelihood of accidental injury including automobile accidents, and increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It also can lead to anxiety about sleep itself. This is stressful and can produce even more anxiety about being able to sleep. About 4% of Americans revert to sleeping pills. But these do not always produce high quality sleep and can have problematic side effects. So, there is a need to find better methods to treat insomnia. Mindfulness-based practices have been reported to improve sleep amount and quality and help with insomnia.

 

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a mindfulness-based psychotherapy technique that is employs many of the techniques of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). ACT focuses on the individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior and how they interact to impact their psychological and physical well-being. It then works to change thinking to alter the interaction and produce greater life satisfaction. ACT employs mindfulness practices to increase awareness and develop an attitude of acceptance and compassion in the presence of painful thoughts and feelings. ACT teaches individuals to “just notice”, accept and embrace private experiences and focus on behavioral responses that produce more desirable outcomes. It would seem reasonable to expect that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) might improve sleep and relieve insomnia.

 

In today’s Research News article “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Improves Sleep Quality, Experiential Avoidance, and Emotion Regulation in Individuals with Insomnia-Results from a Randomized Interventional Study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7916154/ ) Zakiei and colleagues recruited adults with clinical insomnia and randomly assigned them to receive 8 weekly sessions of 70 minutes of either Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) or group meetings to discuss daily activities and daily problems (active control condition). They were measured before and after treatment and 12 weeks later for experiential avoidance, sleep quality, sleep characteristics, dysfunctional thoughts on sleep, sleep problem acceptance, and emotion regulation.

 

They found that over training and the 12-week follow-up in comparison to the active control condition, the group that received Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) had significant reductions in experiential avoidance, dysfunctional thoughts on sleep, and significant increases in sleep quality, total sleep time, feelings of being restored by sleep, sleep problem acceptance, and emotion regulation. In addition, the greater the reduction in experiential avoidance the lower the levels of dysfunctional thoughts on sleep and the higher the levels of emotion regulation, sleep quality, and sleep problem acceptance.

 

These results demonstrate that Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) provided to patients with insomnia produces large improvements in sleep and decreases in cognitive-emotional processes related to insomnia. Although not demonstrated in the study, the results suggest that the improvements in sleep may occur due to ACT’s ability to alter dysfunctional thought processes and strengthen adaptive thinking. Mindfulness-based practices have been previously reported to improve sleep amount and quality and help with insomnia. The fact that ACT works so well for insomnia suggests that correcting dysfunctional thinking about sleep adds to the effectiveness of mindfulness in improving sleep. The effects were large, significant, and lasting suggesting that ACT should be prescribed for patients with clinical insomnia.

 

So, improve sleep quality in people with insomnia with mindfulness.

 

mindfulness improves regulation of stress and increases a sense of calm that results in a better ability to sleep.” – Melli O’Brien

 

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

Zakiei, A., Khazaie, H., Rostampour, M., Lemola, S., Esmaeili, M., Dürsteler, K., Brühl, A. B., Sadeghi-Bahmani, D., & Brand, S. (2021). Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Improves Sleep Quality, Experiential Avoidance, and Emotion Regulation in Individuals with Insomnia-Results from a Randomized Interventional Study. Life (Basel, Switzerland), 11(2), 133. https://doi.org/10.3390/life11020133

 

Abstract

Insomnia is a common problem in the general population. To treat insomnia, medication therapies and insomnia-related cognitive-behavioral interventions are often applied. The aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) on sleep quality, dysfunctional sleep beliefs and attitudes, experiential avoidance, and acceptance of sleep problems in individuals with insomnia, compared to a control condition. A total of 35 participants with diagnosed insomnia (mean age: 41.46 years old; 62.9% females) were randomly assigned to the ACT intervention (weekly group therapy for 60–70 min) or to the active control condition (weekly group meetings for 60–70 min without interventional and psychotherapeutic character). At baseline and after eight weeks (end of the study), and again 12 weeks later at follow-up, participants completed self-rating questionnaires on sleep quality, dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes about sleep, emotion regulation, and experiential avoidance. Furthermore, participants in the intervention condition kept a weekly sleep log for eight consecutive weeks (micro-analysis). Every morning, participants completed the daily sleep log, which consisted of items regarding subjective sleep duration, sleep quality, and the feeling of being restored. Sleep quality, dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes towards sleep, emotion regulation, and experiential avoidance improved over time, but only in the ACT condition compared to the control condition. Improvements remained stable until follow-up. Improvements in experiential avoidance were related to a favorable change in sleep and cognitive-emotional processing. Micro-analyses showed that improvements occurred within the first three weeks of treatment. The pattern of results suggests that ACT appeared to have improved experiential avoidance, which in turn improved both sleep quality and sleep-related cognitive-emotional processes at longer-term in adults with insomnia.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7916154/

 

Increase the Energy Metabolism of the Brain with Meditation

Increase the Energy Metabolism of the Brain with Meditation

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

As a form of mental training, meditation improves core physical and psychological assets, including energy, motivation, and strength. Studies on the neurophysiological concomitants of meditation have proved that commitment to daily practice can bring promising changes for the mind and the body.” –  Madhuleena Roy Chowdhury

 

Mindfulness training has been shown through extensive research to be effective in improving physical and psychological health and particularly with reducing the physical and psychological reactions to stress. There are a number of ways that meditation practices produce these benefits, including changes to the brain and physiology. The nervous system changes in response to how it is used and how it is stimulated in a process called neuroplasticity. Highly used areas grow in size, metabolism, and connectivity. Mindfulness practices in general are known to produce these kinds of changes in the structure and activity of the brain.

 

In today’s Research News article “Short-term meditation training influences brain energy metabolism: A pilot study on 31 P MR spectroscopy.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7821578/ ) Gizewski and colleagues recruited healthy adult meditation naïve yoga students and provided them with 7 weeks of twice a week 45-minute training in Raja yoga meditation. This focused meditation training emphasizes the cessation of thinking and includes meditation and breathing exercises. They were measured before and after training for meditative depth, health history, lifestyle, anxiety, depression, and angst. Before and after training they also underwent brain scanning with structural Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and for brain energy metabolism (31P-MRS).

 

They found that in comparison to baseline after Raja yoga meditation training there were significant increases overall mental health and decreases in anxiety and dysthymia. There were also significant increases in brain energy metabolism particularly in the right hemisphere in the occipital and temporal lobes and the basal ganglia.

 

This study did not contain a comparison, control, condition which opens the results up to some alternative interpretations. But ignoring these possible contaminants, the study suggests that 7 weeks of meditation training can alter the brain. This has been demonstrated with numerous studies of changes in the structure, connectivity, and electrical activity of the brain produced by mindfulness training. The present study adds to this understanding by demonstrating the focused meditation training increases the energy metabolism in the brain particularly in the posterior cerebral cortex and the motor control areas. Meditation training is thought to be relaxing and the technique used here is one that emphasizes reduction in mental activity. But the present study suggests that the brain can get very active. This suggests that there is considerable mental activity going on during meditation.

 

So, increase the energy metabolism of the brain with meditation.

 

Meditation is thought to work via its effects on the sympathetic nervous system, which increases heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure during times of stress. Yet meditating has a spiritual purpose, too. “True, it will help you lower your blood pressure, but so much more: it can help your creativity, your intuition, your connection with your inner self,” –  Burke Lennihan,

 

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

 

Gizewski, E. R., Steiger, R., Waibel, M., Pereverzyev, S., Sommer, P., Siedentopf, C., Grams, A. E., Lenhart, L., & Singewald, N. (2021). Short-term meditation training influences brain energy metabolism: A pilot study on 31 P MR spectroscopy. Brain and behavior, 11(1), e01914. https://doi.org/10.1002/brb3.1914

 

Abstract

Background

Meditation is increasingly attracting interest among neuroimaging researchers for its relevance as a cognitive enhancement technique and several cross‐sectional studies have indicated cerebral changes. This longitudinal study applied a distinct and standardized meditative technique with a group of volunteers in a short‐term training program to analyze brain metabolic changes.

Methods

The effect of 7 weeks of meditation exercises (focused attention meditation, FAM) was assessed on 27 healthy volunteers. Changes in cerebral energy metabolism were investigated using 31P‐MR spectroscopy. Metabolite ratios were compared before (T1) and after training (T2). Additional questionnaire assessments were included.

Results

The participants performed FAM daily. Depression and anxiety scores revealed a lower level of state anxiety at T2 compared to T1. From T1 to T2, energy metabolism ratios showed the following differences: PCr/ATP increased right occipitally; Pi/ATP decreased bilaterally in the basal ganglia and temporal lobe on the right; PCr/Pi increased in occipital lobe bilaterally, in the basal ganglia and in the temporal lobe on the right side. The pH decreased temporal on the left side and frontal in the right side. The observed changes in the temporal areas and basal ganglia may be interpreted as a higher energetic state, whereas the frontal and occipital areas showed changes that may be related to a down‐regulation in ATP turnover, energy state, and oxidative capacity.

Conclusions

The results of the current study indicate for the first time in a longitudinal study that even short‐term training in FAM may have considerable effects on brain energy state with different local energy management in specific brain regions. Especially higher energetic state in basal ganglia may represent altered function in their central role in complex cerebral distributed networks including frontal and temporal areas. Further studies including different forms of relaxation techniques should be performed for more specific and reliable insights.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7821578/

 

Different Aspects of Yoga Practice Affect the Psychological Benefits

Different Aspects of Yoga Practice Affect the Psychological Benefits

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Most styles of yoga are based on the same basic yoga poses (called asanas), however the experience of one style can be radically different than another.” – DoYoga

 

Yoga training has been shown to improve health and well-being. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. But there are a wide variety of different yoga training techniques and practices. Although the benefits of yoga practices in general are well studied there is little scientific research comparing different components of yoga practices and the benefits.

 

In today’s Research News article “Exploring how different types of yoga change psychological resources and emotional well-being across a single session.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7081324/ ) Park and colleagues recruited adults who had attended at least 5 yoga classes. There were 3 different practice sites engaged in a variety of types of yoga; Hatha yoga: Ashtanga, Baptiste, Bikram, Forrest, Iyengar, Kripalu, Kundalini, Pranayama, Restorative, Vinyasa Flow, and Yin. Before and after a 60-minute yoga class they were measured for psychological resources (mindfulness, body awareness, self-transcendence, peacefulness and contentment, social connectedness), and exercise induced feelings (positive emotions, revitalization, tranquility, and exhaustion). After the class they were measured for properties of yoga, physical taxation, and therapist warmth.

 

In comparison to before the yoga class, afterward there were significant increases exercise induced feelings (positive emotions, revitalization, tranquility, and decreased exhaustion), psychological resources (mindfulness, body awareness, self-transcendence, spirituality, and social connectedness). In addition, the greater the increase in positive emotions, revitalization, and tranquility, the greater the increase in mindfulness, self-transcendence, spirituality, and social connectedness. In addition, the greater the decrease in exhaustion the greater the increase in mindfulness, self-transcendence, spirituality, and social connectedness.

 

They also investigated different aspects of the yoga practice and their relationships to psychological resources and emotions. They found that the higher the levels of the restorative aspects of the yoga practice the greater the changes in self-transcendence, spirituality, and tranquility, the higher the levels of the breathwork aspects of the yoga practice the greater the changes in body awareness and self-transcendence, and the higher the levels of the therapist warmth the greater the changes in self-transcendence and positive engagement.

 

These results are correlative and need to be interpreted with caution. But they provide interesting clues as to how yoga practice may produce some of its benefits. It increases the psychological resources available to the participants and improves their emotions. They also showed that the larger the increases in psychological resources produced by yoga practice the greater the improvements in emotions. Finally, they showed that restorative and breathwork aspects of yoga practice and the therapist warmth were most related to improvements.

 

Much more research is needed. But this study suggests that yoga practice strengthens the psychological resources of the practitioners and these are related to improved emotions. It also demonstrates that certain aspects of yoga practice that are differently emphasized in different styles of yoga, particularly restorative and breathwork aspects of yoga practice and the therapist warmth, may contribute to yoga’s benefits.

 

So, different aspects of yoga practice affect the psychological benefits.

 

figure out your intention—do you want to do yoga to improve your health; lessen stress; increase mindfulness; gain strength; lose weight or relieve pain? Once you have the answer to this question you will know the practice that is right for you.” – Femina

 

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

 

Park, C. L., Finkelstein-Fox, L., Groessl, E. J., Elwy, A. R., & Lee, S. Y. (2020). Exploring how different types of yoga change psychological resources and emotional well-being across a single session. Complementary therapies in medicine, 49, 102354. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2020.102354

 

Abstract

Objectives:

Yoga demonstrates beneficial effects in many populations, yet our understanding of how yoga brings about these effects is quite limited. Among the proposed mechanisms of yoga are increasing psychological resources (mindfulness, body consciousness, self-transcendence, spiritual peace, and social connectedness) that may bring about salutary effects on emotional wellbeing. Further, yoga is a complex practice comprising meditation, active and restorative postures, and breathwork; however little is known about how different components may affect mechanisms. We aimed to determine how an acute session of yoga (and its specific components) related to pre- to post- session changes in proposed mechanisms (psychological resources) and whether those changes were associated with positive changes in emotions.

Design:

144 regular yoga practitioners completed measures of mindfulness, body consciousness, self-transcendence, social connectedness, spiritual peace, and exercise-induced emotions (positive engagement, revitalization, tranquility, exhaustion) immediately before and after a yoga session (N=11 sessions, each a different type of yoga). Perceived properties of each yoga session, exercise exertion and engagement with the yoga teacher were assessed immediately following the session.

Results:

Pre- to post- yoga, levels of positive emotions (engagement, tranquility and revitalization) increased while exhaustion decreased. Further, all psychological resources increased and closely tracked improved emotions. Additionally, aspects of the yoga session correlated with changes in psychological resources (mechanisms) and emotions.

Conclusions:

Yoga may influence multiple psychological mechanisms that influence emotional well-being. Further, different types of yoga may affect different mechanisms. Results can inform yoga interventions aiming to optimize effects through specific mechanisms such as mindfulness or spirituality.

Highlights

  • To gain a better understanding of how yoga brings about beneficial effects, we examined changes in psychological resources and emotions across a single session of yoga.
  • All five psychological resources (mindfulness, body consciousness, self-transcendence, spiritual peace, and social connectedness) increased from pre-to-post yoga session, and all emotions (positive engagement, revitalization, tranquility and exhaustion) improved.
  • Further, improvements in emotions were associated with improvements in psychological resources.
  • Different styles of yoga were associated with differential improvements in psychological resources and emotions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7081324/

 

Yoga Practitioners Have Better Psychological Health During the Covid-19 Lockdown

Yoga Practitioners Have Better Psychological Health During the Covid-19 Lockdown

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“the well understood underlying mechanisms for the use of yoga for stress reduction and immune modulation shall be considered as the basis for its complimentary role in the management of an infectious condition like COVID-19.“ – H. R. Nagendra

 

Yoga practice has been shown to improve health and well-being in healthy individuals. It has also been found to be effective for a large array of medical and psychiatric conditions, either stand-alone or in combination with more traditional therapies. The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged the mental and physical health of the population. It has created intense stress both for frontline workers but also for people simply isolating at home. Yoga practice is known to decrease the psychological and physical responses to stress. So, yoga practice may be helpful in coping with the mental and physical challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.

 

In today’s Research News article “Yoga an effective strategy for self-management of stress-related problems and wellbeing during COVID19 lockdown: A cross-sectional study.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7875402/ ) Sahni and colleagues recruited adults online during the Covid-19 lockdown. They separated the participants into three groups; those who practice yoga, other spiritual practices, and non-practitioners. The participants completed online measures of Covid-19 perceptions, depression, anxiety, perceived stress, general well-being, resilience, peace of mind, and emotion regulation.

 

They found that in comparison to the spiritual practices and non-practitioners, the yoga practitioners had a significantly higher level of Covid-19 perception of personal control, and significantly lower levels of illness concern and emotional impact of COVID19. In addition, the yoga practitioners had significantly lower levels of depression, anxiety, and perceived stress and significantly higher levels of peace of mind. well-being, and cognitive reappraisal strategies of emotion regulation. In general, they found that the longer that the yoga practitioners had practiced, the greater the benefits.

 

This study examined existing groups and there wasn’t random assignment. Hence, the findings could be due to systematic differences between people who choose to engage in yoga, other spiritual practices, or no practice. But previous controlled research has demonstrated that yoga practice causes decreased depression, anxiety, and perceived stress, and increased well-being. So, the difference seen here between groups probably represent the causal effects of yoga practice.

 

These results suggest that practicing yoga makes an individual more resistant to the deleterious psychological effects of the pandemic and the associated lockdown. It appears to improve the practitioners’ psychological well-being, peace of mind, attitude toward the pandemic, and ability to regulate emotions. In addition, the greater the amount of yoga practice, the greater the benefits. These yoga-produced abilities may well underlie yoga practice’s positive impact on various diseases.

 

So, yoga practitioners have better psychological health during the Covid-19 lockdown.

 

COVID-19 has caused levels of stress and anxiety to skyrocket and it’s (understandably) taking a toll on people’s mental health. One thing that can help? Yoga.”- CorePower Yoga

 

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

 

Sahni, P. S., Singh, K., Sharma, N., & Garg, R. (2021). Yoga an effective strategy for self-management of stress-related problems and wellbeing during COVID19 lockdown: A cross-sectional study. PloS one, 16(2), e0245214. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0245214

 

Abstract

This cross-sectional research aims to study the effect of yoga practice on the illness perception, and wellbeing of healthy adults during 4–10 weeks of lockdown due to COVID19 outbreak. A total of 668 adults (64.7% males, M = 28.12 years, SD = 9.09 years) participated in the online survey. The participants were grouped as; yoga practitioners, other spiritual practitioners, and non-practitioners based on their responses to daily practices that they follow. Yoga practitioners were further examined based on the duration of practice as; long-term, mid-term and beginners. Multivariate analysis indicates that yoga practitioners had significantly lower depression, anxiety, & stress (DASS), and higher general wellbeing (SWGB) as well as higher peace of mind (POMS) than the other two groups. The results further revealed that the yoga practitioners significantly differed in the perception of personal control, illness concern and emotional impact of COVID19. However, there was no significant difference found for the measure of resilience (BRS) in this study. Yoga practitioners also significantly differed in the cognitive reappraisal strategy for regulating their emotions than the other two groups. Interestingly, it was found that beginners -those who had started practicing yoga only during the lockdown period reported no significant difference for general wellbeing and peace of mind when compared to the mid- term practitioner. Evidence supports that yoga was found as an effective self- management strategy to cope with stress, anxiety and depression, and maintain wellbeing during COVID19 lockdown.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7875402/

 

Relieve Maternal Perinatal Depression with Smartphone-Based Mindfulness Training

Relieve Maternal Perinatal Depression with Smartphone-Based Mindfulness Training

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“the ideal treatment plan for perinatal depression and anxiety often includes mindfulness techniques.” – Edith Gettes

 

The period of pregnancy is a time of intense physiological and psychological change. Anxiety, depression, and fear are quite common during pregnancy. More than 20 percent of pregnant women have an anxiety disorder, depressive symptoms, or both during pregnancy. The psychological health of pregnant women has consequences for fetal development, birthing, and consequently, child outcomes. Depression during pregnancy is associated with premature delivery and low birth weight.

 

In addition, immediately after birth it is common for the mother to experience mood swings including what has been termed “baby blues,” a sadness that may last for as much as a couple of weeks. But some women experience a more intense and long-lasting negative mood called postpartum depression. This occurs usually 4-6 weeks after birth in about 15% of births; about 600,000 women in the U.S. every year. For 50% of the women the depression lasts for about a year while about 30% are still depressed 3 years later.

 

Hence, it is clear that there is a need for methods to treat depression, and anxiety during the perinatal period. Since the fetus can be negatively impacted by drugs, it would be preferable to find a treatment that did not require drugs. Mindfulness training has been shown to improve anxiety and depression normally and to relieve maternal anxiety and depression during pregnancy and to relieve postpartum depression.

 

The vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a trained teacher. The participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with busy employee schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. As an alternative, apps for smartphones have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. But the question arises as to the effectiveness of these apps and their ability to relieve depression during the perinatal period.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effectiveness of Smartphone-Based Mindfulness Training on Maternal Perinatal Depression: Randomized Controlled Trial.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7875700/ ) Sun and colleagues recruited pregnant women who were diagnosed with depression and randomly assigned them to receive 8-weeks of either health consultation or mindfulness training. Mindfulness training occurred in 8 weekly sessions delivered on a smartphone app. The training was Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) modified for pregnant women. Health consultation also occurred via smartphone app. They were measured before during, and after training, 10 weeks later, and 6-months after delivery for depression, anxiety symptoms, perceived stress, positive and negative emotions, sleep-related problems, fatigue, memory, and fear of childbirth. There was a 52% completion rate for the trainings.

 

They found that after training the mindfulness group had significantly lower levels of depression and anxiety and significantly higher levels of positive emotions but these were not maintained 6 months after delivery. The mindfulness group also had a significantly higher rate of depression symptom remission. Hence the smartphone-based mindfulness training improved the psychological health of the pregnant women.

 

These findings replicate previous findings that mindfulness training reduces anxiety and depression in non-pregnant individuals and relieves maternal anxiety and depression during pregnancy. The strength of the current study was that these effects were produced by mindfulness training with a smartphone app. This is important as this training is highly scalable at minimal cost and so can be made available to virtually all pregnant women who want it. Hence, it may be able to reduce the psychological misery that occurs in many women during the perinatal period, making pregnancy a happier time for the women and produce better outcoms for the infant.

 

So, relieve maternal perinatal depression with smartphone-based mindfulness training.

 

the risk of having moderate depressive symptoms was reduced by nearly 90% in participants receiving the MMT [Mindfulness] intervention.” – Ruta Nonacs

 

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

 

Sun, Y., Li, Y., Wang, J., Chen, Q., Bazzano, A. N., & Cao, F. (2021). Effectiveness of Smartphone-Based Mindfulness Training on Maternal Perinatal Depression: Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of medical Internet research, 23(1), e23410. https://doi.org/10.2196/23410

 

Abstract

Background

Despite potential for benefit, mindfulness remains an emergent area in perinatal mental health care, and evidence of smartphone-based mindfulness training for perinatal depression is especially limited.

Objective

The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a smartphone-based mindfulness training intervention during pregnancy on perinatal depression and other mental health problems with a randomized controlled design.

Methods

Pregnant adult women who were potentially at risk of perinatal depression were recruited from an obstetrics clinic and randomized to a self-guided 8-week smartphone-based mindfulness training during pregnancy group or attention control group. Mental health indicators were surveyed over five time points through the postpartum period by online self-assessment. The assessor who collected the follow-up data was blind to the assignment. The primary outcome was depression as measured by symptoms, and secondary outcomes were anxiety, stress, affect, sleep, fatigue, memory, and fear.

Results

A total of 168 participants were randomly allocated to the mindfulness training (n=84) or attention control (n=84) group. The overall dropout rate was 34.5%, and 52.4% of the participants completed the intervention. Mindfulness training participants reported significant improvement of depression (group × time interaction χ24=16.2, P=.003) and secondary outcomes (χ24=13.1, P=.01 for anxiety; χ24=8.4, P=.04 for positive affect) compared to attention control group participants. Medium between-group effect sizes were found on depression and positive affect at postintervention, and on anxiety in late pregnancy (Cohen d=0.47, –0.49, and 0.46, respectively). Mindfulness training participants reported a decreased risk of positive depressive symptom (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale [EPDS] score>9) compared to attention control participants postintervention (odds ratio [OR] 0.391, 95% CI 0.164-0.930) and significantly higher depression symptom remission with different EPDS reduction scores from preintervention to postintervention (OR 3.471-27.986). Parity did not show a significant moderating effect; however, for nulliparous women, mindfulness training participants had significantly improved depression symptoms compared to nulliparous attention control group participants (group × time interaction χ24=18.1, P=.001).

Conclusions

Smartphone-based mindfulness training is an effective intervention in improving maternal perinatal depression for those who are potentially at risk of perinatal depression in early pregnancy. Nulliparous women are a promising subgroup who may benefit more from mindfulness training.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7875700/

Have Better Sex with Mindfulness

Have Better Sex with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Mindful sex involves being able to observe and describe what’s happening inside your body and mind without sorting experiences into “bad” and “good” or trying to change your feelings. When we are able to do that, we can “turn off the autopilot.” – Gina Silverstein

 

Sex is a very important aspect of life. Problems with sex are very common and have negative consequences for relationships. While research suggests that sexual dysfunction is common, it is a topic that many people are hesitant or embarrassed to discuss. Women suffer from sexual dysfunction more than men with 43% of women and 31% of men reporting some degree of difficulty. Hence, sex has major impacts on people’s lives and relationships. Greater research attention to sexual activity and sexual satisfaction and the well-being of the individual is warranted.

 

Mindfulness trainings have been shown to improve a variety of psychological issues including emotion regulationstress responsestraumafear and worryanxiety, and depression, and self-esteem. Mindfulness training has also been found to improve relationships and to be useful in treating sexual problems. But there is little empirical research on the relationship of mindfulness with sexuality in normal, non-clinical, individuals.

 

In today’s Research News article “Mindfulness in Sexual Activity, Sexual Satisfaction and Erotic Fantasies in a Non-Clinical Sample.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7908537/ )  Sánchez-Sánchez and colleagues recruited online adults who were meditation naïve or who practiced meditation for at least 5 months. They completed measures online of mindfulness, body awareness, sexual satisfaction, sexual activity, and sexual fantasies.

 

They found that the meditation practitioners were significantly higher in emotion regulation, family, academics, relationships, sociability, attention, health, sexuality, and leisure and significantly lower in perceived stress. They were also significantly higher in mindfulness, body awareness, sexual satisfaction, sexual activity, and sexual fantasies. They also found that the higher the levels of mindfulness and the amount of mindfulness practice, the higher the levels of body awareness sexual satisfaction and sexual activity. Also, they found that the higher the levels of mindfulness the lower the levels of body dissociation.

 

It should be kept in mind that there was no random assignment and so the groups may be quite different, People who meditate may be systematically different from those who don’t in many ways including the variables measured in this study. But previous research including randomized studies demonstrated that mindfulness produced higher levels of emotion regulation, family, academics, relationships, sociability, attention, health, and sexuality, and lower levels of stress. So, the present findings likely also represent causal connections.

 

These findings suggest that mindfulness is associated with better psychological and physical health and well-being. They also suggest that mindfulness is associated with better sexual function in terms of sexual activity, satisfaction with sex, and relationship quality and even a better sexual fantasy life. Sex is such an important aspect of life that many of the other psychological and physical benefits of mindfulness may emanate from the improved sex life of the individuals. Much more research is needed.

 

So, have better sex with mindfulness.

 

Think of mindful sex as an invitation, as an opportunity to explore the mystery of sex. The reward is deeper intimacy, more meaningful connections, and (fingers crossed) greater physical pleasure.” – Kayti Christian

 

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

 

Sánchez-Sánchez, L. C., Rodríguez, M., García-Montes, J. M., Petisco-Rodríguez, C., & Fernández-García, R. (2021). Mindfulness in Sexual Activity, Sexual Satisfaction and Erotic Fantasies in a Non-Clinical Sample. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(3), 1161. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18031161

 

Abstract

The goal of this study is to better understand the relation between the practice of Mindfulness and the sexual activity, sexual satisfaction and erotic fantasies of Spanish-speaking participants. This research focuses on the comparison between people who practice Mindfulness versus naïve people, and explores the practice of Mindfulness and its relation with the following variables about sexuality: body awareness and bodily dissociation, personal sexual satisfaction, partner and relationship-related satisfaction, desire, subjective sexual arousal, genital arousal, orgasm, pain, attitudes towards sexual fantasies and types of sexual fantasies. The sample consisted of 106 selected adults, 32 men and 74 women, who completed six measures on an online survey platform: (a) Mindfulness Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS), (b) Scale of Body Connection (SBC), (c) New Sexual Satisfaction Scale (NSSS), (d) Scale of Sexual Activity in Women (SSA-W) and Men (SSA-M), (e) Hurlbert Index of Sexual Fantasy (HISF), (f) Wilson’s Sex Fantasy Questionnaire. In the MAAS, Body Awareness subscale (SBC), NSSS, SSA-W and SSA-M, HISF and intimate fantasies subscale (Wilson’s questionnaire), people in the Mindfulness condition showed higher scores and these differences were statistically significant. These results may have relevant implications in the sexuality of clinical and non-clinical samples.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7908537/

 

Increase Quality of Life and Decrease Weight of Patients with Diabetes with Tai Chi

Increase Quality of Life and Decrease Weight of Patients with Diabetes with Tai Chi

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“a regular tai chi exercise program may help lower blood glucose levels, allowing people with diabetes to better control their disease.” – Lindsey Getz

 

Diabetes is a major health issue. It is estimated that 30 million people in the United States have diabetes and the numbers are growing. Type 2 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 the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. In addition, 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 diabetesTai Chi is mindfulness practice and a gentle exercise that has been found to improve the symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes. The research is accumulating. So, it is reasonable to examine what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “Effect of Tai Chi on Quality of Life, Body Mass Index, and Waist-Hip Ratio in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: 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/PMC7851054/ ) Qin and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies of the effectiveness of Tai Chi practice in the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes. They found 18 published research studies, 15 of which were randomized controlled studies.

 

They report that the published research found that patients with Type 2 Diabetes who practiced Tai Chi had significant improvements in their quality of life including physical function, pain, overall health, vitality, social function, emotional function, and mental health dimensions. The research also found that Tai Chi practice produced significant reductions in body size as reflected in the waist-hip ration and the body mass index (BMI), but the improvements were equivalent to that produced by other aerobic exercises.

 

These are important findings as Type 2 Diabetes is so impactful on the health and longevity of large numbers of patients. The results suggest that Tai Chi practice reduces body size which is very important in improving metabolic and glucose control. As a consequence, it greatly improves the quality of life of the patients. It appears from the research that the exercise component of Tai Chi practice is important for the improvements as other aerobic exercises produce similar effects.

 

Some advantages of Tai Chi practice include the facts that it is not strenuous, involves slow gentle movements, and is safe, having no appreciable side effects, it is appropriate for all ages including the elderly and for individuals with illnesses that limit their activities or range of motion. It can also be practiced without professional supervision and in groups making it inexpensive to deliver and fun to engage in. This makes Tai Chi practice an excellent means to improve the physical and psychological symptoms experienced by patients with Type 2 Diabetes.

 

So, increase quality of life and decrease weight of patients with diabetes with Tai Chi.

 

Tai Chi exercises can improve blood glucose levels and improve the control of type 2 diabetes and immune system response.” – Anna Sophia McKenney

 

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

 

Qin, J., Chen, Y., Guo, S., You, Y., Xu, Y., Wu, J., Liu, Z., Huang, J., Chen, L., & Tao, J. (2021). Effect of Tai Chi on Quality of Life, Body Mass Index, and Waist-Hip Ratio in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in endocrinology, 11, 543627. https://doi.org/10.3389/fendo.2020.543627

 

Abstract

Background

Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a worldwide public health concern with high morbidity and various progressive diabetes complications that result in serious economic expenditure and social burden. This systematic review aims to evaluate the effect of Tai Chi on improving quality of life (QoL), body mass index (BMI) and waist-hip ratio (WHR) in patients with T2DM.

Method

A systematic review and meta-analysis was performed following PRISMA recommendation. Four English databases and three Chinese databases were searched. The PEDro scale was used to assess the methodological quality of including studies. Study inclusion criteria: randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-experimental studies were included, patients with T2DM that adopted Tai Chi as intervention and QoL, BMI and/or WHR as outcome measurements.

Results

Eighteen trials were included. The aggregated results of seven trials showed that Tai Chi statistically significantly improved QoL measured by the SF-36 on every domains (physical function: MD = 7.73, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.76 to 13.71, p = 0.01; role-physical function: MD = 9.76, 95% CI = 6.05 to 13.47, p < 0.001; body pain: MD = 8.49, 95% CI = 1.18 to 15.8, p = 0.02; general health: MD = 9.80, 95% CI = 5.77 to 13.82, p < 0.001; vitality: MD = 6.70, 95% CI = 0.45 to 12.94, p = 0.04; social function: MD = 9.1, 95% CI = 4.75 to 13.45, p < 0.001; role-emotional function: MD = 7.88, 95% CI = 4.03 to 11.72, p < 0.001; mental health: MD = 5.62, 95% CI = 1.57 to 9.67, p = 0.006) and BMI (MD = −1.53, 95% CI = −2.71 to −0.36, p < 0.001) compared with control group (wait list; no intervention; usual care; sham exercise).

Conclusion

Tai Chi could improve QoL and decrease BMI for patients with T2DM, more studies are needed to be conducted in accordance with suggestions mentioned in this review.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7851054/