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18 Aug

Researchers from the Sensory Motor Performance Program at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago examined the effectiveness of a program of imagining movement, or motor imagery training, in the rehabilitation of hemiparesis, using a before-after trial with clinical and behavioral analyses of single cases.

Two survivors of embolic middle cerebral artery stroke that resulted in chronic hemiparesis received training consisting of 12 one-hour sessions, 3 times a week, for 4 consecutive weeks, of imagining wrist movements (extension, pronation-supination) and mental simulations of reaching and object manipulation, making use of a mirror box apparatus.

18 Aug

In honor of our brand, new site, we have lots of new specials - discounts on our Stress Pack and hand-picked, brand new titles geared to help with going back to school….
15 Aug

A one year follow-up study on the effects of accupuncture in the treatment of stroke patients in the subacute stage: a randomized, controlled study.

Similarly, in a Norwegian study, Kjendahl, Sallstrom, Osten and Stanghelle studied the effects of acupuncture on both short term and long term improvement among 45 stroke patients. Acupuncture, administered for 6 weeks, 3-4 times a week for 30 minutes, was found to significantly improve functioning in the treatment group, as opposed to the control group, during the 6 weeks of treatment and during the entire following year.

Citation: Kjendahl A, Sallstrom S, Osten PE, Stanghelle JK, Borchgcevink CF. A one year follow-up study on the effects of accupuncture in the treatment of stroke patients in the subacute stage: a randomized, controlled study. Clinical Rehabilitation. 1997 Aug ; 11(3): 192-200).

15 Aug

Hesketh and Zhu looked at the effects of acupuncture on stroke patients in rehabilitation in China, and found that improvement was significantly greater among the acupuncture group than in the controls.

Citation: Hesketh T, Zhu WX. Health in China. Traditional Chinese medicine: one country, two systems. Behavioral Medicine Journal. 1997 Jul; 315 (7100): 115-117.

15 Aug

In a small but intriguing pilot study, Page, Levine, Sisto and Johnston of the Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research and Education Corporation, randomly assigned 13 stroke patients with stable motor deficits in their affected upper limbs to either standard care (one hour of therapy three times a week for six weeks, administered by the same physical and occupational therapists) or standard care plus a 10-minute guided imagery session after each regular therapy session. The imagery group also practiced imagery at home twice each week. The standard care patients participated in a control intervention consisting of exposure to stroke information. After the intervention, the The Fugl-Meyer Assessment of Motor Recovery (Fugl-Meyer) and the Action Research Arm Test (ARA) was used to assess outcomes. The standard care group remained virtually the same. The standard care plus imagery group’s scores improved by 13.8 and 16.4 points respectively, on the Fugl-Meyer and ARA. The study concludes that imagery is a clinically feasible, cost-effective complement to therapy that may improve outcomes more than participation in therapy only for this population.

Citation: Page SJ, Levine P, Sisto S, Johnston MV. A randomized efficacy and feasibility study of imagery in acute stroke. Clinical Rehabilitation. 2001: Jun;15(3):233-40.
15 Aug

Tiller, McCraty and Atkinson of the Institute of HeartMath found that subjects who were trained to use a heart-focused stress-reduction technique that shifted their attention away from stress and toward their hearts, while focusing on feelings of love, caring and appreciation, showed evidence of increased cardiac coherence and stability. This supports the imagery methodology we''ve been using on many of our tapes.

Citation: Tiller WA, McCraty R, Atkinson M. Cardiac coherence: a new, noninvasive measure of autonomic nervous system order. Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine. 1996 Jan;2(1):52-65.

15 Aug

Stress management and exercise training in cardiac patients with myocardial ischemia: effects on prognosis and evaluation of mechanisms.

A placebo controlled, randomized study by J.A. Blumenthal et al, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 1997; 157: 2213-2223, (called Stress Management and Exercise Training in Cardiac Patients with Myocardial Ischemia: Effects on Prognosis and Evaluation of Mechanisms) showed that teaching stress reduction techniques to cardiac patients reduced their risk of having further heart problems by a whopping 75%. Of 107 patients, 40 received standard medical care; 34 additionally engaged in vigorous exercise for 35 minutes, 3 times a week for 16 weeks; and 33 additionally were given weekly group sessions where they learned relaxation and stress reduction techniques (education, progressive muscle relaxation, biofeedback, thought-stopping, anger management). Results: 30% of the standard care group had additional heart problems; 21% in the exercise group; and only 10% in the stress management group.

Citation: Blumenthal JA, et al. Stress management and exercise training in cardiac patients with myocardial ischemia: effects on prognosis and evaluation of mechanisms. Archives of Internal Medicine. 1997(157):2213-2223.

15 Aug

Williams, Kolar, Reger and Pearson from the Department of Community Medicine, West Virginia University, ran clinical trials to see whether an 8-week, group-facilitated, Jon Kabat-Zinn-styled, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program could decrease daily stress and medical symptoms in 103 adults. (See our Practitioners We Love page for more about Jon K-Z.)

15 Aug

A controlled pilot study of stress management training of elderly patients with congestive heart failure.

Researchers at the Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention evaluated the effects of stress management on the quality of life, functional capacity, and heart rate variability in a pilot study of 33 elderly patients with New York Heart Association class I-III congestive heart failure. Subjects were randomized to one of two treatment groups or a wait-listed control group. The 14 participants who completed the treatment attended eight training sessions during a 10-week period. The training consisted of 75-minute sessions adapted from the Freeze-Frame stress management program developed by the Institute of HeartMath. (This is a very simple and easy to use formula for stress relief, using relaxation and imagery.) Subjects were assessed at baseline and again at the completion of the training. Depression, stress management, optimism, anxiety, emotional distress, and functional capacity were evaluated, as well as heart rate variability. Significant improvements (p<0.05) were noted in perceived stress, emotional distress, 6-minute walk, and depression, and positive trends were noted in each of the other psychosocial measures. The 24-hour heart rate variability showed no significant changes in autonomic tone. The authors noted that CHF patients were willing study participants and their emotional coping and functional capacity were enhanced. They concluded that this program offered a simple and cost-effective way to augment medical management of CHF. Given the incompleteness of CHF medical management and the exploding interest in complementary medical intervention, they recommended that further work in psychosocial treatment be undertaken.

Citation: Luskin F, Reitz M, Newell K, Quinn TG, Haskell W. A controlled pilot study of stress management training of elderly patients with congestive heart failure. Preventive Cardiology 2002 Fall; Issue 5 (Volume 4): pp. 168-72.

15 Aug

Cognitive behavioral stress management effects on injury and illness among competitive athletes: a randomized clinical trial.

In previous research, cognitive behavioral stress management (CBSM) has been found to reduce fatigue, depression, and cortisol response to heavy exercise training among competitive collegiate athletes, and to speed physical and psychological recovery from surgery. This study assessed the efficacy of a CBSM program to reduce the frequency of injury and illness among competitive, collegiate rowers in a randomized, single-blind, controlled clinical trial. A multi-disciplinary team of researchers from the Division of Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine, the Department of Psychology, University of Miami, and the Department of Exercise Physiology, West Virginia University collaborated on this study. Following the assessment of baseline medical history, mood state, stress, cortisol, sleep, alcohol use, and exercise training, collegiate rowers were stratified by gender and competitive level, and randomly assigned to either a control group or a CBSM group. Exercise training information and psychosocial assessments were repeated immediately following the intervention period. Health care providers who were blinded to whether the participant was in the intervention group or the control group recorded the frequency of medical visits and the number of days the athlete was either injured or ill throughout the season. The study found that athletes randomly assigned to a CBSM group experienced significant reductions in the number of illness and injury days, as compared to control group athletes. CBSM participants also had half the number of health service visits as did controls. The data suggest that a time-limited CBSM intervention designed specifically for an athlete population may be an effective prophylactic treatment to reduce the incidence of injury and illness among competitive collegiate athletes.

Citation: Perna FM, Antoni MH, Baum A, Gordon P, Schneiderman N. Cognitive behavioral stress management effects on injury and illness among competitive athletes: a randomized clinical trial. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 2003 Winter; 25 (1): pp. 66-73.

15 Aug

A review of three pilot studies by J.H. Gruzelier examines the effect of relaxation, self-hypnosis and guided imagery on basic immune functions, and offers a wide range of exciting findings. The author and his colleagues investigated self-hypnosis training that incorporated imagery of the immune system. In two of his studies, hypnosis was found to buffer the effects of stress on immune functions in medical students at exam time. When he compared self-hypnosis with and without immune system imagery, the data confirmed that there were advantages to the targeted imagery. Results in the imagery group showed heightened immune function, improvements in mood, and fewer winter viral infections. A third study looked at patients with virulent and chronic herpes simplex virus-2 HSV-2. Six weeks of training almost halved recurrence, improved mood and reduced levels of clinical depression and anxiety in the intervention group. Immune functions were up-regulated, notably functional natural killer cell activity to HSV-1. The review concludes that these preliminary studies show that hypnosis with targeted imagery provides immune control along with enhanced mood and well-being, and that larger studies with controls are warranted.

Citation: Gruzelier JH. A review of the impact of hypnosis, relaxation, guided imagery and individual differences on aspects of immunity and health. Stress 2002 Jun;5(2):147-63.

15 Aug

Catherine Sykes and David Marks of Middlesex University in London, in an attempt to see what might reduce smoking among economically disadvantaged, heavy smokers, studied 260 smokers in this randomized, controlled clinical study. 131 subjects were randomly assigned to a cognitive behavioral program (called QFL, or Quit for Life), where they were taught in one hour how to be vigilant around their internal rationalizing to smoke, and to how use guided imagery, relaxation and meditation. After 7-10 days of smoking reduction, they quit and move into a 3-month relapse prevention program over 3 months time. Nicotine replacement therapy is optional (but not free), and was used by an insignificant minority of participants. Subjects are advised that quitting is not a matter of will power but of self-efficacy. 129 subjects were placed in the control condition, a program called SSME (Stopping Smoking Made Easier), which consists of a leaflet or audiotape telling people how to quit, offering facts and figures, and advice around picking a date to stop cold turkey, using will power, getting support from family and friends, arranging for a self-administered reward system after a successful first day, week and month; and to call the "Quitline" if further help is needed. Here too nicotine replacement therapy was optional, and again used only by a small minority of subjects. At the 6-month follow-up, 21 (17.2%) of the 122 participants receiving CBT and relaxation therapy were abstinent and 14 (11.5%) had reduced cigarette consumption by at least 25% of their pre-treatment level. On the other hand, only six (5.6%) of 107 participants in the control group were abstinent and none had reduced consumption. This was in spite of the fact that amount of contact with the program was the same, and use of nicotine replacement therapy was the same. The study concludes that cognitive behavioral and relaxation therapy is more effective than health education advice in helping smokers quit. Smokers need more than information; they need the skills and techniques to enable them to control the psychological processes that underly smoking.

Citation: Sykes, Catherine and Marks, David. Effectiveness of a cognitive behaviour therapy self-help programme for smokers in London, UK. Health Promotion International 2001 Sep;16(3):255-60.