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Mind-Body Therapies

Parade magazine a couple months ago reported on mind-body therapies that have scientific backing as being helpful. This backing comes by way of scientific studies using the scientific method. Given that 62 percent of Americans use alternative medicine (according to National Institute of Health), that some of these methods have studies backing them up is a source of encouragement.

The Parade article pointed to three of the mind-body therapies that have "passed the litmus test of rigorous medical inquiry." These are:

meditation, biofeedback, and acupuncture. Below is the data given about these methods, often using the article’s words.

* Meditation. Activates the relaxation response and improves

blood pressure and hormonal balance. Can also help with insulin, blood sugar, and heart health. Can improve concentration, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress. Makes the brain waves become more calm.

* Biofeedback. Uses a small hand-held machine with sensors that monitor body functions, such as pulse rate or skin temperature. These rates show up on the small screen. By controlling your thoughts, you can learn to control the rates on the screen. According to studies, biofeedback can be used to improve blood pressure, stress, tension headaches, and back pain.

* Acupuncture: A traditional Chinese treatment with small skinny sterile needles placed into the skin. Studies find this method effective in pain reduction for knee arthritis, and also to help against the suffering of post traumatic stress disorder. Western science assumes that acupuncture works by triggering hormone-like chemicals in the nervous system that affect our mood and perception of pain.

SOURCE: Parade (December 14, 2008)

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The Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a webpage on Supported Employment that goes along with its general section on employment. The webpage is at this address:

http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=Issue_Spotlights&template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=68648

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