#OccupyHealthCare #MindBody Practices – They are FREE

Mindbody practices have so many benefits, you’d have to order online from outside the US to be able to afford them- Read the research!


With so much talk about the expense of healthcare, I wanted to put out a positive message about inexpensive mindbody self-care practices. Self- care doesn’t have to be expensive. Self-care is an important component of postpartum depression treatment. Low cost mindbody therapies are helpful on many levels. Research strongly indicates complementary therapies improve health on multiple levels and in concrete ways and are low cost.

For four rewarding years, I ran the MindBody Program at the Cancer Center at a hospital. The program provided relief for people with the burden of chronic illness on emotional and physical levels. Research indicates persons with chronic illness, co-morbidity, aging-related illness and persons with mental illness, such as depression and anxiety, are among the most likely to use complementary therapies (Cheung, Wyman, and Halcon, 2007), so it was a good fit. Research such as that conducted by Ben-Ayre, Frankel, Klein, Scharf (2008) indicates patients expect their physicians to refer to appropriate complementary care clinics as needed. The MindBody Program was a forerunner of the integrative medicine trend.

Gregg D. Jacobs, Ph.D. (2001), reviewed several hundred studies and concluded the relaxation response and mindbody interventions are clinically effective in the treatment of many health problem exacerbated by stress. Dr. Jacobs (2001) found the clinical research concluded complementary care therapies lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, reduce anxiety and depression, boost the immune system, are useful in fall prevention, and have virtually no side effects. Of course, these therapies are not intended to replace regular care by a medical doctor, but are to be used as preventative and adjunctive care.

It took a few months for the community members to learn about and then use the services, but once the word was out, the programs filled. There would easily be 30 people at the Monthly Community Reiki Share. The Singing Bowls program brought in 60 people. Imagine sixty people at a community event like singing bowls in a large auditorium. World Qi Gong Day event brought in 100 people to do qi gong outdoors, creating and riding the wave of healing qi going around the world.

The Reiki program was a volunteer effort, so it was totally free. I mean, realistically, my budget wouldn’t even cover what ibuprofen costs the hospital for twenty people. (So what’s with the cost of ibuprofen on hospital premises, anyway? Oh…that’s another blog post.)

Back to mindbody therapies….Numerous research studies have shown that complementary care therapies such as yoga, qi gong, tai chi, guided imagery, meditation, and energy therapies improve the quality of life of persons with health challenges. A small sampling of the studies follows. There are many more.

Meditation Studies

Diane Reibel and her associates (2001) in a study of a heterogeneous patient population practicing Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), found improvement on all indices, including vitality and pain reduction. Ramita Bonadonna (2003) found the practice of MBSR reframes discomfort and generalized malaise. Nicola MacKay and her colleagues (2004) found that, after a Reiki treatment, there is a significant decrease in heart rate and diastolic blood pressure in their research subjects. Larry Scherwitz and his colleagues (2005) found that Interactive Guided Imagery® was helpful in a heterogenous patient population in managing anxiety and depression.

In an interesting analysis of pain remediation, Catherine Kerr and her colleagues (2007) describe how chronic pain causes alterations in the target sensory areas of the brain. Kerr proposes that attentive relaxation during mindfulness meditation or Reiki, produces beneficial alterations in the sensory areas of the brain, helping to ease and manage the chronically stressed cortical map.

Yoga and Tai Chi

Lee Lipton (2008), in a systematic review of the extant research on yoga, found multiple positive benefits to patients with health challenges as diverse as cardiovascular illness, cancer, ADHD, anxiety, and chronic pain. Steven Wolf and his colleagues (1996), in a study of 200 seniors sponsored by the National Institute of Aging (NIA) found that fifteen (15) weeks of Tai Chi reduced their risk of falling by 48%. Later studies have validated the results about Tai Chi multiple times, including the recent study by Taylor- Piliae and her colleagues in 2006.

Anyway, the point of this is, is self-care is important, and there are studies that indicate that if you make small changes to your life, it can go a long way, on different levels.

The over-use and over-prescribing of pain medication could be mitigated if there were more support from the medical community for these research based mindbody practices. The hospital where I worked decided to cut the very low cost MindBody program. But you don’t have to cut common sense care out of your life.

#OccupyHealthCare – you own healthcare and notice the many positive steps you can take your well-being into your own hands.

What are some of the ways you brought healing into your life?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

19 Responses to “#OccupyHealthCare #MindBody Practices – They are FREE”

  • Hi Kathy! I was just pushing the benefits of yoga this past weekend to anyone who would listen to my proselytizing about the relief it’s brought due to numerous kickboxing injuries over the years. I’m sure some of the negative thoughts and energy I’ve carried around have been helped, too :).

    There’s so many things we can do as an alternative to psychotherapy that will bring relief. I say, look for what works for you, and if the holistic thing is your cup of chamomile, then go for it!

    Even if you’re not sold on meditation, don’t understand how it works, just remember this: Live in the moment and don’t let life as it is now pass you by. Don’t live in the past and question what you did or did not do, and worrying about the future is not going to get you where you want to go today.

    Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive and you’re worth it :).

    Thanks for sharing.
    Linda@TalkTherapyBiz recently posted..Why My Brain is For SaleMy Profile

  • I wonder why they decided to cut the programs? I wonder if they saw that they were working and maybe reducing the number of pain medications being prescribed. I think gardening should be included in this list. A good thing I have recently started doing is stretching before I go out to work in the garden. If I don’t I tend to get really sore at the end of the day. But other than the exercise and fresh air it is also very meditative to me.

  • Yoga, reiki, toning, gardening, the list of wonderful mindful approaches for meditating exists. The secret is to find the one that resonates with you and stick with a regular practice.

  • Hi Kathy,
    Thanks for the wonderful article. It is so true how these different modalities improve your life. It reminds me of my 80 year old mom who started yoga and tai Chi last year. She was always taking her sit-down walker around town, but now after one year, she is strutting her stuff.
    Thanks for the great post,
    Donna Merrill recently posted..LinkedIn – My Secret WeaponMy Profile

  • Kathy,

    This is such an important topic, and the news channels get a little clogged with articles and soundbites. You did a great job of breaking down the research and making it accessible.

    Ann Becker-Schutte recently posted..What Do You Need?My Profile

  • Dear Kathy,

    This is a great topic. Thanks for including research findings. The Catherine Kerr study is fascinating. And I’m so glad you mentioned Tai Chi.

    When I started learning Tai Chi about 2 years ago, I fell in love with it. It is meditation in motion. It quiets the mind and gets the energy flowing in a way that I never experienced with any other meditative art that I have practiced over the years. The emphasis on the concept of yin and yang in all of the movements has helped me to have greater appreciation for the need to strive for balance in all aspects of my life, especially in how I divide my time and energies. This is something that doesn’t come easily to me.


    • Hi Andrea – I am so happy you find Tai Chi calming, and it is such a blessing that you can recommend this to your clients. who are in need of mindbody healing.

  • Hi Kathy, This is a great post. I have been integrated mind-body techniques into my life and my practice and feel that it is so important for folks in our over programed stressed out world. I love that you highlight several different practices. There is so much good stuff that each of us can find the right fit for our unique selves.

  • Hi Kathy,

    Great article with so much information.
    A couple of weeks ago I listened to Dan Siegel’s videos on youtube about the brain, mindsigt and the wheel of awareness meditation practices, while I was doing laundry for the week. Never have doing chores been so delightful. Dan gives out free information to help getting started. Here is the link: http://drdansiegel.com/resources/wheel_of_awareness/

    Thank you Kathy for helping people finding free resources. Many people have lost their health insurance.
    irenesavarese recently posted..What Geese Can Teach Couples About TeamworkMy Profile

  • Great summary of the benefits of mind-body practices. I believe that if we all made whatever mind-body practice that speaks to us a regular part of our routine, the collective need for medication would drop dramatically. Inner peace resonates out to the world in so many ways.
    Colleen recently posted..How Do You Know it’s Love?My Profile

  • […] Substantial research supports mindbody therapies as a way to manage your emotions. Yoga, mindfulness, massage/shiatsu/acupressure, exercise and counseling have all been shown to help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. […]

  • […] If you can spare ten – twenty minutes a day, you can re-train your mind on different levels to manage your stress, fear and anxiety.  Numerous studies show that practicing FREE do-it-yourself mindbody stress-reduction just a few minut… […]

  • […] of course you know the other modalities I’ve studied are bodywork and energy work.  There are reams of research supporting that bodywork and energy work elicits the relaxation response and also, over time, […]

  • […] Read more information about the benefits of mindbody medicine. […]

  • […] every day to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.  And mindbody practices are free! #OccupyHealthcare your own healthcare  and well-being! Please use this as part of your self-care program! Metta, or Loving-kindness, is […]

Welcome to my mental health blog!
What is BirthTouch®?
Character and kindness is all.
Perinatal Mental Health
Mindbody Pregnancy Tool!
Mindbody Partner Support in the NICU
Health and Beauty Aids
Clothing for you!
Amazon Fresh and Delivered!
New Features from Amazon Making Life Easier for You!
Blog Categories
Blog Archives