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Belleruth Naparstek

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014 20:00

Yoga Nidra Helps College Students with Stress

Researchers from the Department of Health Promotion and Wellness and the Student Health Center at the University of Missouri, investigated whether iRest Yoga Nidra (, a form of therapeutic guided meditation, was effective in reducing perceived stress, worry and depression in college students.
Sixty-six students age 18-56 completed an 8-week iRest yoga-nidra intervention that was offered for 8 semesters. Assessment occurred 1 week prior to intervention onset and during the class period following the intervention. Qualitative data were collected at Weeks 4 and 8.

Statistically significant pre- to posttest improvements in perceived stress, worry, and depression were found. Pre-existing depression accounted for most of the change in worry and perceived stress scores. Pre- to post test improvements in mindfulness-based skills were also detected.

The investigators conclude that iRest yoga-nidra practice may reduce symptoms of perceived stress, worry, and depression and increase mindfulness-based skills.

Citation:  Eastman-Mueller H1, Wilson T, Jung AK, Kimura A, Tarrant J. iRest yoga-nidra on the college campus: changes in stress, depression, worry, and mindfulness. International Journal of Yoga Therapy. 2013; (23): pp.15-24.


Researchers from the Department of Psychology at the University of Vermont in Burlington looked at the recurrence of SAD (seasonal affective disorder or depression) in the fall/winter, one year after receiving cognitive behavioral treatment.

The investigators had previously developed a group cognitive-behavioral therapy approach (CBT) specifically targeted for SAD and tested its efficacy in 2 pilot studies that compared outcomes with light therapy.

This study examines impact during the subsequent winter season (approximately 1 year after acute treatment), following participants randomized to CBT, light therapy, and a combination of both treatments.  (N=69).

What is Guided Imagery, Anyway?

Guided imagery is an immersive, hypnotic, audio intervention, consisting of calming words, soothing music and positive images, designed to structure a relaxing, healing experience that targets specific health goals.

It can be spoken by a practitioner or self-administered with a recording.

Considered the “lazy man’s meditation”, because it takes no training or preparation whatsoever, it is extremely easy, user-friendly, portable and private, requiring only an audio player and the ability to press “Play”.

It works well as an adjuvant therapy alongside conventional treatment, and is also helpful on its own.

If you click on the links below, you’ll hear brief audio samples that will immediately convey to you the nature of this intervention.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013 00:00

An Epidemic of Sleeplessness

We are a nation of people who long for a good night’s sleep.  Restful Sleep is the new Holy Grail, sought by one in three bleary-eyed Americans. 

In fact, the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta has declared sleep insufficiency to be a nationwide public health epidemic, with a whopping 50-70 million US adults suffering from some sort of sleep or
wakefulness disorder. 

Even the Surgeon General of the Army, LTG Patricia Horoho, has focused considerable effort and resources on improving the quality and quantity of our soldiers’ sleep, seen as critical to their health and welfare.

The Downside of Sleep Insufficiency

Sleeplessness is associated with motor vehicle crashes, industrial accidents, weight gain and occupational errors.  People who don’t get enough sleep are more likely to suffer from hypertension, diabetes, depression, cancer and obesity.  And they die sooner. 

At the very least, sleep insufficiency results in irritability, poor judgment, muddy thinking, strained relationships, less satisfying sex, sub-par functioning and generally decreased enjoyment of life.

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