Research On the Mind-Body-Connection
Dr. Gary Gibbs is a strong believer in the connection between the Mind, Body and Spirit. He has devoted his life to learning and teaching this cherished concept. Other Doctors, scientists and researchers have also spent years of their lives trying to understand this vital connection. Below are some interesting publications on a variety of topics about meditation.
Fifteen Minutes of Chair-Based Yoga Postures or Guided Meditation Performed in the Office Can Elicit a Relaxation Response
This study evaluated the effect of brief yoga posture and meditation practice, performed while seated in the office workspace, on physiological and psychological markers of stress. Both yoga and meditation reduced perceived stress versus the control condition (i.e., the continuation of regular office work), and these effects were maintained throughout the 15 min postintervention period. Physiological responses also indicated a relaxation effect during yoga and meditation.
Effects of a Randomized Controlled Trial of Transcendental Meditation on Components of the Metabolic Syndrome in Subjects With Coronary Heart Disease
Use of TM for 16 weeks in CHD patients improved blood pressure and insulin resistance components of the metabolic syndrome as well as cardiac autonomic nervous system tone compared with a control group receiving health education. These results suggest that TM may modulate the physiological response to stress and improve CHD risk factors, which may be a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of CHD.
Long-Term Effects of Stress Reduction on Mortality in Persons ≥55 Years of Age With Systemic Hypertension
Psychosocial stress contributes to high blood pressure and subsequent cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Previous controlled studies have associated decreasing stress with the Transcendental Meditation (TM) program with lower blood pressure. The objective of the present study was to evaluate, over the long term, all-cause and cause-specific mortality in older subjects who had high blood pressure and who participated in randomized controlled trials that included the TM program and other behavioral stress-decreasing interventions. Patient data were pooled from 2 published randomized controlled trials that compared TM, other behavioral interventions, and usual therapy for high blood pressure. There were 202 subjects, including 77 whites (mean age 81 years) and 125 African-American (mean age 66 years) men and women. In these studies, average baseline blood pressure was in the prehypertensive or stage I hypertension range. Follow-up of vital status and cause of death over a maximum of 18.8 years was determined from the National Death Index. Survival analysis was used to compare intervention groups on mortality rates after adjusting for study location. Mean follow-up was 7.6 ± 3.5 years. Compared with combined controls, the TM group showed a 23% decrease in the primary outcome of all-cause mortality after maximum follow-up (relative risk 0.77, p = 0.039). Secondary analyses showed a 30% decrease in the rate of cardiovascular mortality (relative risk 0.70, p = 0.045) and a 49% decrease in the rate of mortality due to cancer (relative risk 0.49, p = 0.16) in the TM group compared with combined controls. These results suggest that a specific stress-decreasing approach used in the prevention and control of high blood pressure, such as the TM program, may contribute to decreased mortality from all causes and cardiovascular disease in older subjects who have systemic hypertension.
Mind-Body MedicinePractical Applications in Dermatology
It is only recently that Western physicians are rediscovering the link between thought and health. The spectrum of causative factors in inflammatory dermatoses are often multifactorial. Stress and negative thoughts are major factors in dermatologic conditions. This article begins with some basic information on the ways that thoughts affect health. Practical methods of intervention including meditation, journal writing, affirmations, prayer, biofeedback, and hypnosis are presented.
A Randomized, Controlled Trial of Meditation for Work Stress, Anxiety and Depressed Mood in Full-Time Workers
This study has a number of strengths that assert progress in the field of meditation research. First, the use of a large sample, and rigorous methodology, particularly the efforts taken to exclude the effects of nonspecific factors is a notable methodological strength. This is one of the largest RCTs to make an earnest attempt to control for nonspecific effects and one of the only independent RCTs to compare two different conceptual understandings of meditation. Second, in this study there was no evidence of adverse effects associated with either intervention since both intervention groups generated significantly fewer negative responders than the untreated group. This is an important though often neglected consideration. Third, this study provides evidence to suggest that a “mental silence” definition of meditation is more likely to be associated with specific benefit. The implications of this third point are particularly fascinating, and we discuss some of them below.
Yoga Meditation Practitioners Exhibit Greater Gray Matter Volume and Fewer Reported Cognitive Failures: Results of a Preliminary Voxel-Based Morphometric Analysis
The present study identified significant differences in gray matter volume and self-reported cognitive failures between hatha yoga meditation practitioners (YMP) and a sample of well-matched controls (CG), such that YMP exhibited volumetrically larger brain structures and fewer lapses in executive function in daily life. Structural differences were particularly evident in brain regions subserving higher-order control of cognitive and motor responses. Concomitantly, the extent to which YMP and CG differed with regard to gray matter volume in these regions was significantly associated with the occurrence of self-reported cognitive failures. Moreover, yoga meditation experience was significantly predictive of gray matter volume in many of these same neuroanatomical regions. Taken together, study findings suggest that the practice of hatha yoga (a multimodal discipline involving physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation) is associated with enhanced cognitive function coupled with enlargement of brain structures held to instantiate executive control.