What is mindfulness? It is a technique to heighten attention, empathy and other emotions through an awareness of thoughts, external stimuli, or bodily sensations such as breath. Mindfulness originates from Buddhist meditation but was developed for secular use in 1979 by Jon Kabat-Zinn, who founded the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programme at the University of Massachusetts in the United States.
Teachers were the subjects in a recent study; they were selected due to the nature of their stressful jobs. The study found that those who received the mindfulness training displayed reductions in psychological stress, improvements in classroom organization and increases in self-compassion. In comparison, the group that did not receive the training showed signs of increased stress and burnout over the course of the school year. These results provide objective evidence that MBSR techniques are beneficial to teachers (and possibly for others in high stressful jobs).
Teachers play a critical role in nurturing children’s well-being; however, progress in addressing teaching-related stress has been elusive. Stress and burnout among teachers and in any other profession is a major concern, affecting the quality of work and incurring increased costs in recruiting and sustaining them.
One way to reduce stress is to indulge in a Thai Massage. Thai Massage is the combination of yoga stretching, calmness of meditation, with accupressure, exercise movement and reflexology that makes it a healing art. It is worked on a floor with the client dressed in comfortable loose clothing. Thai method uses mainly point pressure and muscle stretching. And it is not just the hands that are used to free tension stored in the recipient’s body, but the feet and elbows are used as well. It improves a person’s outlook towards life and builds an emotional balance. It also helps with concentration and creativity, and can especially be helpful to gain mental clarity.
Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide. Colorectal cancer better known as colon cancer is the top 2 leading cause of deaths among Malaysians garnering 12.3% according to the 2007 National Cancer Registry record. Patients with colorectal cancer are usually treated with chemotherapy, which reduces the number of blood cells, especially white blood cells, and consequently increases the risk of infections.
In a recent research study conducted by the Department of Epidemiology at Khon Kaen Univesrity, Khon Kaen, Thailand, it has been reported that aromatherapy massage affects the immune system and improves immune function by increasing the numbers of natural killer cells and peripheral blood lymphocytes. Sixty-six patients with colorectal cancer in Phichit Hospital, Thailand, were enrolled in a single-blind, randomized-controlled trial. The intervention consisted of three massage sessions with ginger and coconut oil over a 1-week period. The control group received standard supportive care only. Assessments were conducted at pre-assessment and at the end of one week of massage or standard care. Changes from pre-assessment to the end of treatment were measured in terms of white blood cells, neutrophils, lymphocytes, CD4 and CD8 cells and the CD4/CD8 ratio and also the severity of self-rated symptom scores. The main finding was that after adjusting for pre-assessment values the mean lymphocyte count at the post-assessment was significantly higher in the treatment group than in the control group. The size of this difference suggested that aromatherapy with Thai massage could boost lymphocyte numbers by 11%. The secondary outcomes were that at the post assessment the symptom severity scores for fatigue, presenting symptom, pain and stress were significantly lower in the massage group than in the standard care control group.
It can be concluded that aromatherapy with light Thai massage can be beneficial for the immune systems of cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. The combination can help increase the number of lymphocytes and reduce the severity of common symptoms.
Dementia is a term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is the common type of dementia and people with dementia may have problems with short-term memory, keeping track of a purse or wallet, paying bills, planning and preparing meals, remembering appointments or traveling out of the neighborhood. Most of dementia cases are progressive, which means symptoms start out slowly and gradually worsen over time. The treatment of dementia depends on its cause.
Dementia impacts a patient’s life greatly, as well as that of his family. It can take a toll in a patient’s behavior and how he relates with his family. And though the cure for such illness is not yet discovered, in recent studies it was found out that aromatherapy has some benefits for people with dementia who display behavioral symptoms.
One study was conducted in Hong Kong where a significant reduction in agitated behavior using lavender oil was identified in a cross-over randomized trial. Seventy older Chinese people with moderate to severe dementia were recruited for a study of the effects of six-weeks of lavender or sunflower inhalations, with a two-week washout. At the end of the study, total mean scores showed a positive reduction in agitated behavior.
In another study, lavender oil also had a positive effect on the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD). A placebo controlled trial with 15 participants with severe dementia using 2% lavender oil aromatherapy steam every second day for a total of 10 sessions resulted in 60% of participants showing improvement, 33% showed no change and 7% showed a worsening of agitated behavior when compared to the control group. This study was limited by the small sample size.
If you know an elder person with dementia, aromatherapy massage could help ease some of his behavioral symptoms. Just call our Centre and make an appointment with us.
Yoga has been around for centuries and its practices are believed to be good for the overall health. Let’s take a look at what exactly it does for the body, scientifically speaking:
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Did you know that traditional Thai massage relies heavily on stretching, compression and yoga-like body manipulations? You need not do the yoga poses yourself, but it is your body, mind and soul that will benefit from them. If you are eager to gain from yoga, why not come to our Centre? With the help of a qualified and experienced therapist, you will experience these benefits almost immediately.