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15 Aug

That dynamic Danish research machine from Aarhus University, R. Zachariae, the same fellow who brought you scores of studies about the effects of hypnosis and imagery on reactions to poison ivy, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and other histamine and autoimmune afflictions, also did a nice study with psoriasis. We get a lot of questions about psoriasis and imagery, so we’re pleased to show you this: Fifty-one patients with psoriasis vulgaris were randomly assigned to a treatment group (where they got 7 individual sessions over 12 weeks, learning stress management, guided imagery and relaxation skills) or a control group. All subjects were measured on the Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI), Total Sign Score (TSS) and Laser Doppler Skin Blood Flow (LDBF) at weeks #4, #8 and after treatment was completed. The treatment group showed slight but significant changes in TSS and LDBF. The control group did not. With more in depth analysis, investigators found that the treatment group indeed displayed significant reductions for all three psoriasis activity measures, whereas no changes were found in the controls. The study concludes that behavioral training may produce moderate improvement on this condition.

Citation: Zachariae R, Oster H, Bjerring P, Kragballe K. Effects of psychologic intervention on psoriasis: a preliminary report. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 1996. June;34(6): 1008-1015.

15 Aug

Researchers at the University of Iowa studied how 3 conditions: stress, relaxation and a control condition, can affect an inflammatory response artificially induced by injecting capsaicin, the pungent compound in chili peppers, under the skin. 50 subjects 28 men and 22 women were pre-trained in relaxation, using an imagery-based relaxation tape, and then randomized to one of the experimental groups a 20-minute stress test, a relaxation tape or a video control, followed by a capsaicin injection in the forearm. Digitized measurements of flare were taken for 1 hour after the injection, as well as measurements at regular intervals of cardiovascular variables, cortisol, adrenocorticotrophic hormone, and norepinephrine. Investigators found that the size of the maximum capsaicin-induced flare was significantly smaller in the relaxation group than in the stress or control conditions, which appeared about the same. Increases in norepinephrine, heart rate, and systolic blood pressure during the experimental task, but not after capsaicin, significantly predicted size of maximum flare and total area under the curve of flare measurements. The study concludes that stress reduction may well affect local inflammatory processes. Results are consistent with sympathetic modulation of the effects of relaxation on the flare response.

Citation: Lutgendorf S, Logan H, Kirchner HL, Rothrock N, Svengalis S, Iverson K, Lubaroff D. Effects of relaxation and stress on the capsaicin-induced local inflammatory response. Psychosomatic Medicine 2000 Jul-Aug; 62 (4):pp. 524-34

15 Aug

Contact information for the Transcend program of Drs. Bev Donovan and Edgardo Padin-Rivera, at the Brecksville, OH V.A. hospital.

Drs. Bev Donovan and Edgardo Padin-Rivera, at the Brecksville, OH V.A. hospital, just completed analyzing their research on 48 subjects, showing that their wonderful Transcend program is getting astonishing results with their population of dual diagnosis (substance abuse plus post traumatic stress disorder) Vietnam vets. A full 12 months out of this intensive, multi-modal 12-week program, 85% of their guys aren’t just still clean and sober, but their PTSD symptoms are continuing to improve. This is dramatically different from the usual decline in efficacy a few weeks or months after a typical treatment program.

15 Aug

We have strong indications that our Healing Trauma imagery gives an assist to existing cognitive behavioral and multi-modal programs for PTSD in recovering vets, but Leslie Root, PhD, Ellen Koch, PhD & colleagues at the VA Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System in Biloxi, Mississippi, wanted to measure the effects of the trauma-specific imagery as the only add-on intervention after each of 5 group treatment sessions for PTSD. This breaks new ground.

15 Aug

A survey of the emergence of stress symptoms in U.S. citizens since the terror attacks of September 11th showed that 44% of adults reported at least one substantial new symptom; 68% reported the emergence of at least one moderate symptom; and 90% a more minor symptom. Reactions varied by sex, race/ethnicity, presence or absence of prior emotional problems, distance from the locus of the attack and by region of the country. Rates of stress were higher with women, nonwhites; in people with previous psychological problems and in people closest to New York City. Stress levels were also associated with extent of television viewing immediately following the attacks. People most typically responded to their upset by turning to religion, turning to one another for support, checking on the safety of others, talking about their thoughts and feelings, participating in vigils and other community rituals, and making donations and doing charitable acts. Some found that to stop watching TV was helpful.

15 Aug

Predictors of secondary trauma in sexual assault trauma counselors.
15 Aug

Skills training in affective and interpersonal regulation followed by exposure: a phase-based treatment for PTSD related to childhood abuse.
15 Aug

B. Bledsoe, a researcher from the Department of Emergency Medicine at The University of North Texas Health Sciences Center in Fort Worth reviewed the literature and analyzed the results of various studies of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), a method of debriefing survivors or emergency responders involved in traumatizing events, in common use since 1983. The focus for the review was to look at findings related to the efficacy and safety of CISM.

15 Aug

At the Centre for Sport and Exercise Science, Sheffield Hallam University, researchers examined the effects of hypnotic intervention on flow states and golf-chipping performance of 3 participants. The intervention involved teaching the golfers relaxation, imagery, hypnotic induction, hypnotic regression, and trigger control procedures over 5 weeks and 7 trials. Analysis indicated that the 3 participants increased their mean golf-chipping performance from the trials in Baseline 1 to intervention, with 2 returning to Baseline 1 performance after the intervention phase at Baseline 2. The intensity of flow experienced by the participants during the performance trials was measured using Jackson and Marsh''s 1996 Flow State Scale. Two participants experienced higher flow during the intervention phase and much lower flow during Baselines 1 and 2. Finally, participants reported that the intervention seemed useful in keeping them confident, relaxed, and in control. These results support the hypothesis that relaxation, imagery & hypnosis can improve golf-chipping performance and increase feelings and cognitions associated with flow.

Citation: Pates J, Maynard I. Effects of hypnosis on flow states and golf performance. Perceptual & Motor Skills. 2000, Dec;91(3 Pt 2): Pages 1057-75.

 

15 Aug

A study out of The University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, looked at whether a combination of biofeedback and relaxation could decrease oxygen consumption in long distance runners and thus improve their running economy and performance. Seven long distance runners were tested for running economy, peak oxygen consumption (VO2peak), peak running velocity, and stretch-shortening cycle efficiency. These runners then participated in a 6-wk training program in which they learned and practiced relaxation techniques and ran on the treadmill at a velocity eliciting 70% of peak running velocity for 10 min while biofeedback of heart rate (HR), ventilation (VE), and VO2 was presented to them. Data indicated that participants were able to lower their VO2, HR, and VE at lactate threshold by 7.3%, 2.5%, and 9.2%, respectively, using relaxation techniques (P<0.05). Post-tests of lactate threshold, VO2peak, peak running velocity, and stretch-shortening cycle efficiency showed that these changes did not occur as a result of a training effect. The researchers concluded that the improvements in running economy occurred as a result of the relaxation and biofeedback intervention.

Citation: Caird SJ, McKenzie AD, Sleivert GG. Biofeedback and relaxation techniques improves running economy in sub-elite long distance runners. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 1999 May;31(5): pp. 717-22.

15 Aug

Stress reactivity to and recovery from a standardised exercise bout: a study of 31 runners practising relaxation techniques.

Researchers at Ulleval University Hospital in Oslo, Norway, compared the value different kinds of relaxation techniques for improving post-exercise muscle pain in adult, male runners over a 6 month period. Thirty-one runners were divided up into 3 groups: a meditation group (n = 11); an autogenic training group (a simple self-hypnosis technique similar to the Relaxation Response) (n = 11) and a control group (n = 10). Before and after the six months relaxation training, measures of reactivity to exercise were taken immediately after and 10 minutes after exercise, as well as indicators of metabolic activity (blood lactate concentration, heart rate (HR), and oxygen consumption (VO2)). Resting heart rate was also assessed weekly at home during the trial. State anxiety was measured before and after the training period. Investigators found that after the relaxation training, post-exercise blood lactate concentration - a key factor in post exercise muscle pain - was significantly decreased in the meditation group (p<0.01) as compared with the control group. No difference was observed in lactate responses between the autogenic training group and the control group. There were no significant differences among the groups with regard to heart rate, oxygen consumption, or levels of anxiety. The study tentatively concludes that meditation training may reduce the lactate response to a standardized exercise bout.

Citation: Solberg EE, Ingjer F, Holen A, Sundgot-Borgen J, Nilsson S, Holme I. Stress reactivity to and recovery from a standardised exercise bout: a study of 31 runners practising relaxation techniques. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2000 Aug;34(4): pp. 268-72. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

15 Aug

Researchers at the School of Kinesiology at The University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, investigated the effects of imagery on the soccer playing of both skilled and novice players. An initial assessment of performance on a specific soccer task was undertaken, and then 22 skilled and 22 novice players were randomly assigned to either a control or an experimental group. The experimental group was given a 6-week imagery training program consisting of both visual and kinaesthetic imagery at the soccer task. The subjects attended bi-weekly sessions of approximately 15 min each. The control group developed a competitive strategy that was totally unrelated to the performance task. Similar to the experimental group, the controls did this over a 6-week period, attending bi-weekly sessions of 15 min duration. Two performance measures were recorded--response time (i.e. the time to complete the soccer task) and performance accuracy (i.e. errors in performing the soccer task recorded in the form of time penalties). Performance on the post-test as measured by response time revealed a significant improvement for both the skilled and novice players in the imagery group. The control group failed to show any such improvement. No effects were found for performance accuracy.

Citation: Blair A, Hall C, Leyshon G. Imagery effects on the performance of skilled and novice soccer players. Journal of Sports Science 1993 Apr;11(2): pp. 95-101