Have you ever heard the term mental imagery? If you are a sports fan you likely have. Mental imagery is frequently discussed in the realm sports psychology. It is a familiar concept in athletics as it is customarily implemented with athletes and by athletes (Arya, Pandian, Verma, and Garg, 2011).
Mental imagery is a thought process. When engaging in mental imagery, the participant draws up sensory experiences through their thoughts. These experiences engage a five sense focusing on auditory, visual, tactile, and kinesthetic sensations. A common mental imagery technique used with athletes and physical rehabilitation patients alike, is motor imagery. Motor imagery involves thinking about every minute part of a specific movement without actually moving. Simply put, the participant imagines himself engaging in the movement. Motor imagery has been referred to as a voluntary rehearsal of the movement with awareness of the environment in which the movement will take place in the future (Arya, Pandian, Verma, and Garg, 2011).
The theory of mental imagery is built on brain activation. Mental imagery of a movement will create activation in the brain that mirrors the brain activation that occurs during actual movement. Through the use of brain mapping, researchers have demonstrated this mirroring event. Implications of this conclusion are significant for recovering stroke patients and injured persons. However, mental imagery in and of itself is not sufficient to achieve recovery from these conditions. Alternatively, mental imagery is recommended as a component of an integrated rehabilitation program that involves an additional evidenced based motor rehabilitation method (Arya, Pandian, Verma, and Garg, 2011).
The evolution of motor imagery recently expanded in scope. This technique is reportedly a rehabilitation prospect for patients with neurological disorders. Recent studies found that such techniques assisted patients diagnosed with Parkinson ’s disease to compensate for some of their motor deficits. Researchers identified motor imagery as a tool to assist patients with preparation for future movement sequences by reducing attentional load during the actual movement (Arya, Pandian, Verma, and Garg, 2011).
Arya, K. N., Pandian, S., Verma, R., & Garg, R. (2011). Rehabilitation: Movement therapy induced neural reorganization and motor recovery in stroke: A review. Journal Of Bodywork & Movement Therapies, 15528-537. doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2011.01.023
Heremans, E., Feys, P., Nieuwboer, A., Vercruysse, S., Vandenberghe, W., Sharma, N., & Helsen, W. (2011). Motor imagery ability in patients with early- and mid-stage Parkinson disease. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, 25(2), 168-177.
What is acupuncture? Where did it come from? Why do people use it? Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine dating as far back as 10,000 BC. The practice of acupuncture in Chinese medicine originated in the area of the Yellow River in China. Acupuncture treats illness and ailment by targeting precise points on the body through insertion of sharpened objects such as needles (Leung, 2012).
Built on principles of traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is founded in the laws of Yin-Yang and the five elements: wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. Acupuncture is intertwined in the relationships between Qi, Xue, and the meridians of the body. By interjecting sharpened objects into precise body points, it is believed that the flow of Qi and Xue will resume homeostasis through the meridians and consequently, body organs will also re-establish homeostasis. Meridians are known as the pathways of circulation throughout the body. There are twelve in the human body (Leung, 2012).
Acupuncture thrives on the premise that a healthy body will self-balance Yin-Yang and the Five Elements through Zhongs-Fus. Specific points along the meridian are known in Chinese medicine as acupuncture points. Three hundred and sixty five acupuncture points exist in the human body.These are the points through which the acupuncturist manipulates the meridian to regulate the flow of Qi and Xue thereby promoting homeostasis (Leung, 2012).
Acupuncture is known for its effectiveness in pain management. In Chinese medicine it is believed that any pain in the body is a result of blockage along the meridian. Blockage may be associated with old age or chronic illness which are both known for a deficiency of Yang. Alternatively, blockage may be the result of acute trauma or injury. The goal of acupuncture is to restore balance to the Yin and Yang as well as to the Zhong and Fus thereby relieving physical pain in the body. Acupuncture differs from traditional western medicine in the sense that it seeks first to rectify the root cause of the pain before treating the symptom of pain. Conversely, western medicine aims first to alleviate pain and suffering then to rectify the root cause of the pain and suffering (Leung, 2012).
Leung, L. (2012). Neurophysiological basis of acupuncture-induced analgesia—an updated review. Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, 5(6), 261-270.
Herbal remedies have been used by various cultures to treat illness and promote health for thousands of use. They are actually the grandparent of healthcare as they are the oldest form of health intervention known to humanity. The earliest evidence of herbal remedy use dates back sixty thousand years ago. The practice of herbal remedies evolved over the years laying the foundation for traditional medicine and pharmaceutical interventions (Kunle, 2012).
Many cultures continue to rely on herbal intervention as a foundational element in their healthcare systems. These techniques involve the use of herbal products (derivative of leaves, roots, bark, seeds, and flowers) for their medicinal or therapeutic value. The components with medicinal benefit are referred to as the active ingredients. The herbal products are comprised of phytopharmaceuticals; the results of processing plan parts through harvesting, drying, and storage. Herbal products are consumed by a variety of means and can be eaten, swallowed whole, drunk, inhaled, or applied topically (Kunle, 2012).
Herbalism or use of herbal remedies for health promotion and illness treatment, has been standardized in recent years. Standardization involves the process of evaluating, identifying, and prescribing a specific set of technical standards or best practices for the use of herbal remedies. These standards may include assessment and regulation of product characteristics and parameters for use. They may include explicit definitions for product quality and quantitative characteristics that support such quality. They may also include explicit definitions regarding product efficacy and efficacy of use as well as safety considerations and components of reproducibility. Standards are arrived at via a process of evaluation, experimentation, observation, and conclusion (Kunle, 2012).
Kunle (2012). Standardization of herbal medicines - A review. Int. J. Biodvers. Conserv.International Journal of Biodiversity and Conservation, 4(3). doi:10.5897/ijbc11.163
The theory of body movement in complementary and alternative medicine can be understood within the context of physical or anatomic theories of illness (Silenzio, 2002). These theories may be best understood through application to the treatment of specific conditions. For the purpose of theoretical application, the following paragraphs will examine body movement interventions for treatment of stroke patients and for psychosocial treatment of cancer patients (Arya, Pandian, Verma, and Garg, 2011; Bradt, Shim, and Goodill, 2015).
A common consequence of a stroke is decreased functional movement. Traditional interventions for improving functioning have limited efficacy with motor deficits. They also lack evidentiary support for their effectiveness. Alternatively, body movement interventions rely on neuroplasticity by inducing changes in the structure and function of brain areas. This results in permanent functional recovery gains than are greater than those achieved through traditional rehabilitation methods (Arya, Pandian, Verma, and Garg, 2011).
Body Movement therapies include task-specific training, constraint-induced movement therapy (CIMT) and mental imagery. These therapies strategically target neuromuscular deficits through intentionally triggering skilled motor action. Many of these theories rely on the principals of motor learning to permanently change behavior through practice or repetitive experiences. These experiences result in structural and functional changes in the motor cortex and cerebellum and are indicative of motor recovery. Motor learning recovery is delineated into two categories: true motor recovery and compensatory motor recovery. True motor recovery occurs when neuromuscular communication successful activates the same muscles that were used to produce the identified movement prior to the stroke. Compensatory motor recovery occurs when neuromuscular communication produces the identified movement using alternative muscles post-stroke than it did pre-stroke (Arya, Pandian, Verma, and Garg, 2011).
Movement therapies are also commonly used in psychosocial treatment of cancer patients. After completing invasive medical treatments, movement therapies assist cancer patients with increasing self-acceptance and self-confidence. Research findings also indicate that movement therapies are assist patients with addressing feelings of isolation, depression, anger, fear and distrust. Movement therapies have also been found to increase quality of life and vigor for these patients (Bradt, Shim, and Goodill, 2015).
Arya, K. N., Pandian, S., Verma, R., & Garg, R. (2011). Rehabilitation: Movement therapy induced neural reorganization and motor recovery in stroke: A review. Journal Of Bodywork & Movement Therapies, 15528-537. doi:10.1016/j.jbmt.2011.01.023
Bradt, J., Shim, M., & Goodill, S. W. (2015). Dance/movement therapy for improving
psychological and physical outcomes in cancer patients. Cochrane Database of
Systematic Reviews Reviews. doi:10.1002/14651858.cd007103.pub3
Silenzio, V. M. B. (2002). What Is the Role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Public Health? American Journal of Public Health, 92(10), 1562–1564.
The impact of prayer on biological healing processes is a long-standing debate within western culture. This debate has gained more traction in recent years as researchers conducted studies examining potential relationships between these variables. For some people, scientific support is irrelevant as their spirituality is grounded in faith regardless of scientific alignment. For others, prayer holds value only so far as science supports its impact potential (Dezutter, Wachholtz, and Corveleyn, 2011; Stewart, Adams, Stewart,and Nelson, 2013).
Research findings highlight the role spirituality plays in self-management of illness. Religion and spirituality are highly rated as significant within the framework of patient value system. In one particular study, findings revealed that 62% of surveyed patients reportedly participated in prayer and spiritual healing. Prayer is the most commonly reported spiritual intervention for patients seeking healing (Stewart, Adams, Stewart,and Nelson, 2013).
Prayer is commonly implemented to target medical conditions. Patients report high levels of perceived helpfulness. Results from yet another study indicated that an inverse relationship between religious activities and state of health; individuals with poor health engaged in more religious activities than those with better health. Significant correlation existed between spiritual perspective and well-being among terminally ill hospitalized adults (Stewart, Adams, Stewart,and Nelson, 2013).
Patients report experiencing spiritual care from a multitude of sources including their health care professionals. There is value for health care professionals and caregivers in knowing the spiritual beliefs of their patient as it informs them on how to best respond to the patient’s needs. One recent study examined spiritual impacts on a subject population of persons diagnosed with eye disease. Among this population, prayer was the most common alternative medicine intervention implemented with the goal of improving their disease state (Stewart, Adams, Stewart, and Nelson, 2013).
The effect of prayer on disease progression is reportedly inconsistent; particularly with cardiovascular disease and systemic hypertension. Studies involving these specific diseases revealed that prayer had no effect on the disease state or progression. Conversely, studies involving non-cardiovascular diseases found prayer to be associated with positive clinical outcomes. The reason behind the efficacy of prayer in these instances remains unknown. However, researchers note that a patient’s spiritual interaction and participation in religious behaviors may result in feelings of comfort, increased treatment compliance and understanding about their disease, and increased quality of life (Stewart, Adams, Stewart, and Nelson, 2013).
Dezutter, J., Wachholtz, A., & Corveleyn, J. (2011). Prayer and pain: the mediating role of positive re-appraisal. Journal Of Behavioral Medicine, 34(6), 542. doi:10.1007/s10865-011-9348-2
Stewart, W. C., Adams, M. P., Stewart, J. A., & Nelson, L. A. (2013). Review of clinical
medicine and religious practice. Journal of Religion and Health, 52(1), 91-106.doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10943-012-9578-9
Hypnosis is a frequently misunderstood practice. It is exploited on television and movies, its benefits and scope of reach exaggerated and mystified. What exactly is hypnosis? Who benefits from it, and why is it used?
Hypnosis promotes mental relaxation and focus. It can be implemented autonomously, apart from any other treatment, or in conjunction with medical treatments (for example, pain management) or psychological treatments (for example, cognitive behavior therapy). Hypnosis is a therapeutic intervention that occurs between a participant and a trained hypnotherapist (American Psychological Association, n.d.; Yeh, Schnur and Montgomery, 2014). The intervention is guided by the hypnotherapist. During the intervention, the hypnotherapist implements a set of techniques to enhance the participant’s concentration and responsiveness to suggestions. The hypnotherapist guides the participant through an alteration of sensations, perceptions, thoughts, affect or behaviors. The strategic use of suggestions most often includes themes of relaxation, calmness, and well-being (American Psychological Association, n.d.; Yeh, Schnur and Montgomery, 2014).
Prior to beginning hypnosis, the hypnotherapist will dispel any misconceptions that the participant may have regarding hypnosis. The hypnotherapist will clarify the intent of hypnosis as well as the scope of outcomes that may result from hypnosis. After these topics are discussed, the hypnotherapist obtains informed consent from the participant. Then the hypnotic intervention begins. The hypnotherapist generally suggests that the participant experience mental and physical relaxation while visualizing calming imagery. A deepening metaphor may also be used. Then the hypnotherapist will make symptom-specific suggestions depending on the participant’s medical needs. At the end of the hypnotherapy session, the hypnotherapist verbally prompts the participant to return to an alert state of mind (Yeh, Schnur and Montgomery, 2014).
Hypnosis has many health benefits. It has also earned efficacy support through research. For example, hypnotherapy can aid in stress reduction and management of irritable bowel syndrome symptoms (Lowén et al., 2013; Lindfors, 2012). It has been found effective in managing symptoms of depression (Alladin, 2010), sleep disorders (Graci and Hardie, 2007), asthma (Brown, 2007), anxiety (Lindfors, 2012; Hammond, 2010), stress (Hammond, 2010), and chronic pain (Lowén et al., 2013).
Alladin, A. (2010). Evidence-based hypnotherapy for depression. The International Journal Of Clinical And Experimental Hypnosis, 58(2), 165-185. doi:10.1080/00207140903523194
American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Hypnosis. Retrieved June 03, 2016, from http://www.apa.org/topics/hypnosis/
Brown, D. (2007). Evidence-based hypnotherapy for asthma: a critical review. The International Journal Of Clinical And Experimental Hypnosis, 55(2), 220-249.
Graci, G., & Hardie, J. (2007). Evidenced-based hypnotherapy for the management of sleep disorders. International Journal Of Clinical & Experimental Hypnosis, 55(3), 288-302 15p.
Hammond, D. C. (2010). Hypnosis in the treatment of anxiety- and stress-related disorders. Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics, 10(2), 263+. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.proxy1.ncu.edu/ps /i.do?id=GALE%7CA251006374&v=2.1&u=pres1571&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w&asid=a43ec50af5b66db39830dcd5e5c3e91f
Lindfors, P., Unge, P., Arvidsson, P., Nyhlin, H., Björnsson, E., Abrahamsson, H., & Simrén, M. (2012). Effects of gut-directed hypnotherapy on IBS in different clinical settings-results from two randomized, controlled trials. The American Journal Of Gastroenterology, 107(2), 276-285. doi:10.1038/ajg.2011.340
Lowén, M. O., Mayer, E. A., Sjöberg, M., Tillisch, K., Naliboff, B., Labus, J., & ... Walter, S. A. (2013). Effect of hypnotherapy and educational intervention on brain response to visceral stimulus in the irritable bowel syndrome. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 37(12), 1184. doi:10.1111/apt.12319
Saadat, H., & Kain, Z. N. (2007). Hypnosis as a therapeutic tool in pediatrics. Pediatrics, 120(1), 179-181. doi:10.1542/peds.2007-1082
Yeh, V. M., Schnur, J. B., & Montgomery, G. H. (2014). Disseminating hypnosis to health care settings: Applying the RE-AIM framework. Psychology Of Consciousness: Theory, Research, And Practice, 1(2), 213-228. doi:10.1037/cns0000012
Despite the growing popularity of complementary and alternative medicine interventions in the United States, the topic remains controversial to some extent. One question born of this controversy is: Is alternative medicine compatible with mainstream public health? This question is vital for practitioners, consumers, and policy-makers alike (Silenzio, 2002).
Examination of this question was presented in the American Journal of Public Health (Silenzio, 2002). During the examination, journal author and researcher, Vincent Silenzio stressed the importance of increased understanding among all parties impacted by the answer to this question. In order for the question to be answered fully, with comprehensive awareness of implications, all parties must understand the history and historical implications of complementary and alternative medicine practices. They must also understand cultural implications and the extent to which these practice comprise a vital part of the public health structure available to any society. Of additional importance are the interrelationships between cultural, personal, public, and individual health (Silenzio, 2002).
In developing societies, much of the health care provided and consumed consists of indigenous practices. In some countries, the ratio of professionally trained physicians to health care consumers is one to fifty thousand while the ratio of indigenous healers to health care consumers is one to every two hundred. Meanwhile, the value placed on complementary and alternative medicine by consumers in developed countries is growing. Many developed countries, like the United States, statistically report 50% or more of the population use alternative medicine (Silenzio, 2002).
Due diligence in answering the question: Is alternative medicine compatible with mainstream public health, also involves an examination of the efficacy of such practices. This involves recognition of a healthcare system as an intertwining of three distinct lines: popular, folk, and professional. Alternative health care systems, for example, developed separately and autonomously from conventional biomedicine. Ignorance or insensitively of healthcare professionals to alternative or indigenous healthcare practices is reflective of the evolution of healthcare. Some say it may even demonstrate “Intellectual, emotional, and spiritual violence committed in the name of the very public we have sworn to protect” (Silenzio, 2002).
Silenzio, V. M. B. (2002). What Is the Role of Complementary and Alternative
Medicine in Public Health? American Journal of Public Health, 92(10), 1562–1564.
The mind-body connection has been a studied by philosophers and medical professionals for centuries. It is a phenomenon of intrigue; one that leads to unending questions and mystery. As far back as ancient times medical professionals recognized the power of influence the body and mind can have on each other. Early physicians spoke of illness occurring when the mind was out of sync with various body parts (Koenig, 2002 pp 43).
Centuries later, the birth of professional psychology expanded this concept through exploration of various psychological states (i.e trauma, hypnosis, catharsis, mesmeric trance) and their influence on the body’s physical functioning. During this exploratory period, scientists believed that the neurological system was the sole communication source between physiological and behavioral events (Viljoen, Panzer, Roos and Bodemer, 2003). They would later find that they were mistaken.
Understanding of the mind-body connection expanded over time as scientists found that the immune system played a significant role. As the science of immunology expanded, reports of physical disease in conjunction with stressful experiences increased. One relationship that evidences this is the relationship between depression and immune system function (Shattuck, 2016).
For example, a 2016 research study examined immune system function in individuals who were diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder. Researchers found that those individuals who were younger than 28 years of age had impaired immune function. In another example, research findings suggested that prolonged psychological stress or social stress resulted in inflammation -an immune system response- in the body. When this inflammation continued on a long-term basis, the result was physical disease (Shattuck, 2016).
Another 2016 study examined this relationship as well. Delany et al. (2016) focused specifically on child populations. Children are perpetually growing and rapidly advancing from one development stage to another. In light of this, researchers questioned what role physical development played in the relationship between immunity and depression during puberty. The relationship was reportedly similar to that found in adults (Delany et al., 2016).
For more information on the connection between immunology and mental health, visit the following websites and articles:
Azar, B. (2001). A new take on psychoneuroimmunology. Monitor on Pscyhology, 32(11). doi:10.1037/e304072004-016
Delany, F. M., Byrne, M. L., Whittle, S., Simmons, J. G., Olsson, C., Mundy, L. K., & ... Allen, N. B. (2016). Depression, immune function, and early adrenarche in
children. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 63228-234. doi:10.1016/j.psyneuen.2015.10.003
Koenig, Harold G. (2002). The Link between Religion and Health: Psychoneuroimmunology and the Faith Factor. New York, US: Oxford University Press. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 21 May 2016.
Shattuck, E. C. (2016). The dilemma of immune stimulation and suppression during depression: One step closer to a solution?. Brain, Behavior, And Immunity, 5415-16. doi:10.1016/j.bbi.2016.02.004
Viljoen, M. m., Panzer, A., Roos, J., & Bodemer, W. (2003). Psychoneuroimmunology: from philosophy, intuition, and folklore to a recognized science. South African Journal Of Science, 99(7/8), 332-336.
Ziemssen, T., & Kern, S. (2007). Psychoneuroimmunology--cross-talk between the immune and nervous systems. Journal Of Neurology, 254 Suppl 2II8-II11. doi: 10.1007/s00415-007-2003-8
This April during Alcohol Awareness Month, I encourage you to educate yourself and your loved ones about the dangers of excessive drinking. To spread the word and prevent alcohol abuse, Minds Moving Forward is joining other organizations across the country to honor Alcohol Awareness Month.
Every day 28 people die in the U.S. as result of motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. Excessive alcohol consumption has shown to increase people’s risk of injuries, violence, drowning, liver disease, and some types of cancer. If you believe you may be drinking too much or drinking too often, invest in yourself and your loved ones by cutting back or quitting. Here are some tips to get started: