What a fabulous evening! It would not have been so without the generosity of all of our friends, family, and colleagues.
My colleague Alex Baker and I just had an article published in the peer-reviewed journal Sexual and Relationship Therapy. The article introduces a hypothetical group model of Sexual Wellness Enhancement and Enrichment Training (SWEET) that focuses on a number of research-based healing modalities, including conscious breathing, mindfulness meditation, mindful eating, movement exercises, autogenics and biofeedback, as a possible option for improving sexual wellness through adequate and informed self-care.
In the article, we address not only the potential benefits of a mind-body skills group that is modified to address sexual and reproductive health and sexual wellbeing from a behavioral perspective, but we also elaborate on the potential impact of the intervention on stress and reproductive hormones.
Much credit goes to Alex Baker because she laid the groundwork for this article with her Master’s project on sexual and reproductive health and sexual wellbeing. We just put our heads together to see how we could demonstrate the impact of the mind-body approaches of the group on a person’s stress and reproductive hormones. In our conclusion, we pen that the model seems to be solidly grounded in the scientific literature to address sexual and reproductive health and sexual wellbeing.
Alex is toiling on the mind-body facilitator’s handbook. Once Alex completes this piece, addressing sexual health with SWEET in the real world will be our next step. Follow-up studies to quantify the influences of SWEET on sexual and reproductive health are planned.
The elegance about SWEET is that it is not a magic bullet approach (presupposing one particular modality will be the key); alternately it offers participants a variety of modalities to pick and choose from so they may append their toolbox from which participants then can commit themselves to their most appropriate tool for self-care.
Whys is this important to cancer patients? Cancer affects many couples’ most intimate aspects of their lives. Maintaining/improving sexual wellbeing as well as sexual and reproductive health is one way to increase the quality of life for cancer patients.
You can subscribe below to stay tuned for regular updates on our progress with the next steps… Here is the citation.
Baker, A. C., & Absenger, W. (2013). Sexual Wellness Enhancement and Enrichment Training (SWEET): A hypothetical group model for addressing sexual health and wellbeing. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 1–15. doi:10.1080/14681994.2013.770142
Now you can practice meditation every Wednesday at 12:30 PM EST with Werner Online. Start a regular mindfulness meditation practice while Werner leads you through a 17-minute Mindfulness Meditation session. Mindfulness meditation practice focuses on the powerful ways in which you can participate in your own health and healing. By learning to quiet your mind and let go of discursive thinking, you can open the door to a healthier, happier life.
Thoughts, feelings, beliefs and attitudes can influence and affect every aspect of biological functioning, and how you care for your body can affect how you think and feel and what you believe.
Mind body medicine gives you many opportunities and can do many things to take control of your own health. You can use mind body medicine practices, some ancient and some recent to shape your own health and overall well-being.
For example, Tang et al. (2010) have shown that IBMT (integrative body–mind training, IBMT), increases anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) activity and improves self-regulation. Tang et al. (2010) go on to say that deficits in activation of the anterior cingulate cortex have been associated with many disorders. For further reading see Fernandez-Duque & Black, 2006; Hong et al., 2009; Posner, 2007; Posner, Rothbart, Sheese, & Tang, 2007 and Segal et al., 2010.
The ability to increase cingulate cortex connectivity through mindfulness meditation practice could provide a means for improving self-regulation and your own health. Greeson (2009) writes that greater mindfulness meditation practice can reduce stress, stress-related medical symptoms, increase positive emotions and increase quality of life. Greeson (2009) goes on to say “studies are beginning to show a relationship between (a) how much people practice meditation, (b) how much more mindful they become, and (c) the positive effects they experience in terms of mental and physical health” (p.10).
In this class, you will engage in mindfulness meditation practice, a mind body medicine modality . Werner will guide you through the mindfulness meditation practice giving you an experiential learning experience.
Through the mastery of mind body techniques, you might experience deeper relaxation, fewer physical symptoms of illness, less pain, less fatigue and more energy, as well as enhanced immune system functioning (Tang et al., 2010). In other words, mindfulness allows you to play an active role in your own health and wellness. You probably will be able to more successfully deal with pain, chronic illness, stress, and anxiety, as well. Over time, you may experience greater self-awareness and more positive perceptions about your life.
To learn how to take control of your own health and wellness through mindfulness meditation practice, register for Werner’s 17-Minute Midweek Meditation now! Its FREE and happening online in Werner’s Learn It Life Classroom.
This class is aimed at beginners and novices to meditation, as well as participants suffering from chronic health conditions and cancer.
See you Wednesday,
Writing a Paper or Report? Cite This Post As:
APA: Absenger, W. (2013, February 22). Practice Meditation Online for FREE with a Mind-Body Medicine Expert [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://amacf.org/2013/02/practice-meditation-online-for-free-with-a-mind-body-medicine-expert/
Fernandez-Duque, D., & Black, S. E. (2006). Attentional networks in normal aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Neuropsychology, 20(2), 133–143. doi:10.1037/0894-4220.127.116.11
Greeson, J. M. (2009). Mindfulness Research Update: 2008. Complementary Health Practice Review, 14(1), 10–18. doi:10.1177/1533210108329862
Hong, L. E., Gu, H., Yang, Y., Ross, T. J., Salmeron, B. J., Buchholz, B., … Stein, E. A. (2009). Association of Nicotine Addiction and Nicotine’s Actions With Separate Cingulate Cortex Functional Circuits. Archives of General Psychiatry, 66(4), 431. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2009.2
Posner, M. I. (2007). Educating the human brain (1st ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Posner, M. I., Rothbart, M. K., Sheese, B. E., & Tang, Y. (2007). The anterior cingulate gyrus and the mechanism of self-regulation. Cognitive, affective & behavioral neuroscience, 7(4), 391–395.
Segal, D., Haznedar, M. M., Hazlett, E. A., Entis, J. J., Newmark, R. E., Torosjan, Y., … Hof, P. R. (2010). Diffusion tensor anisotropy in the cingulate gyrus in schizophrenia. NeuroImage, 50(2), 357–365. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2009.12.071
Tang, Y.-Y., Lu, Q., Geng, X., Stein, E. A., Yang, Y., & Posner, M. I. (2010). Short-term meditation induces white matter changes in the anterior cingulate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(35), 15649–15652. doi:10.1073/pnas.1011043107
Announcing the initiation of an exploratory, randomized controlled interventional study to evaluate the effects of Clinical Hypnosis on the immune system of cancer patients suffering from pancreatic cancer (PaCa). This small, exploratory study will enroll up to 21 cancer patients suffering from pancreatic cancer in a 2-week (2 sessions, 1 per week) study starting January 28, 2013 and concluding on February 11, 2013.
Please visit Werner’s Project Page on RocketHub.com for a short video on how you can get involved in this project.
The purpose of this research is to examine clinical hypnosis, a mind-body medicine modality, and its impact on the immune system via quantification of cytokine Interleukin-1beta (IL-1β) as it pertains to cancer patients afflicted with pancreatic cancer. This project is being conducted by Werner Absenger, M.Sc. who is a graduate student of Saybrook University, San Francisco, California, as part of MBM 5551 Doctoral Research I, which serves as a pilot study for dissertation research.
Because of a lack of tests for early cancer screening of the general population, roughly half of pancreatic cancer patients are diagnosed at a late stage. Unfortunately, the median survival rate for advanced pancreatic cancer patients is six months, in comparison to two years for pancreatic cancer patients who were able to undergo surgery (National Cancer Institute, 2010). Clinical hypnosis and guided imagery have been shown to affect a person’s immune function. This project will examine clinical hypnosis(CH) and its impact on the immune system as it pertains to a person afflicted with pancreatic cancer.
Approach: Study participants will be divided into three groups, (1) TAU (Treatment As Usual), (2) TAU plus CH administered face-to-face or (3) TAU plus CH administered
Impact: Evaluation of clinical hypnosis in patients suffering from pancreatic cancer will provide preliminary data, whether or not clinical hypnosis might serve as an adjunct therapy impacting the immune system of patients suffering from pancreatic cancer. This will provide initial, early stage evidence for clinical hypnosis as an integrative cancer treatment.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM, 2012), as many cancer patients seem to seek refuge in complementary and alternative modalities, evidence-based integrative therapies are sorely needed for adjunct cancer therapies after diagnosis with metastatic cancer.
The study titled “Does Clinical Hypnosis, When Offered in Addition to TAU, Modulate the Expression of IL-1β Compared to TAU in Patients with Pancreatic Cancer?” will add to existing scientific body of Mind-Body Medicine while participants may gain a greater personal awareness, knowledge, and understanding of clinical hypnosis and pancreatic cancer.
An orientation for interested participants will take place:
When: Saturday, January 26, 2013
Time: 11am EDT (will last approximately 1.5 hours)
Where: Spring Lake District Library, 123 E. Exchange Street, Spring Lake, MI, 494546 Please contact Werner to reserve your space.
The study proposal underwent review at the Saybrook University Institutional Review Board, Saybrook University, 747 Front St., 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94111-1920.
Please visit Werner’s Project Page on RocketHub.com for a short video on how you can get involved in this project.
Werner Absenger, M.Sc.
Ph.D. Student at Saybrook University’s School of Mind-Body Medicine, Research Track
I finished the final intervention session for the MBM Skills pilot project today. Now I will move on to “crunching the numbers.” Below is a brief overview of the pilot project.
Aim: To answer the questions of whether a Mind-Body Medicine (MBM) skills group facilitated face-to-face and online can improve measures of Quality of Life (QOL) in a population of cancer patients.
Value of Study: Technological advances have contributed to new venues for healthcare delivery. It is imperative that these new delivery methods, for individual and/or group psychological services are sufficiently tested and validated. Owen, Bantum, and Golant (2009) claim that there is very little knowledge about differences in communication styles between online and face-to-face groups, nor is there much knowledge on the overall efficacy of online group interventions.
Phenomenon Studied: Can MBM skills groups improve the quality of life of cancer patients? Is there a difference in outcome between a MBM skills group delivered face-to-face and a MBM skills group delivered online.
Reasons Leading to Proposing the Project: Despite encouraging research showing that psychosocial interventions have positive effects in the lives of cancer patients, more research is needed due to lack of use of technological advances such as use of video conferencing and relatively few existing studies on the effectiveness of MBM therapies in the oncological setting.
Hypothesis 1: There is no difference between baseline QOL measures and QOL measures at the end of face-to-face facilitated MBM skills groups (Operational null hypothesis).
Hypothesis 2: There is no difference between baseline QOL measures and QOL measures at the end of online facilitated MBM skills groups (Operational null hypothesis).
Hypothesis 3: Participation in either, online facilitated MBM skills groups or face-to-face facilitated MBM skills groups will improve QOL measures when compared to control group (Literary alternative).
Hypothesis 4: Patients in the control group (waitlisted control, care as usual group) will have no improvement on QOL measures (Operational Alternative).
Brief Description of the Research Design Study Type
Interventional Study Design: Supportive Care, Parallel Assignment, Open Label, Efficacy Study
Primary Outcome Measure: Change in Quality of Life as assessed by the World Health organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL-BREF) Instrument
Secondary Outcome Measure: Change in distress, anxiety, depression and need for help as assessed by the Emotion Thermometers Tool© (ET5)
Time Frame: Baseline, Week 4
Data Collection, Analysis, and Reporting: Data was collected at baseline and at week 4. Data analysis will be performed using IBM® SPSS® Statistics Software Version 19. Significance threshold is set a p < .05. Pre- and post-skills training comparisons of WHOQOL-BREF and ET5 scores will be performed.
Anticipated Value to the Larger Community: According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) “…there is a need for reliable, objective, evidence-based information regarding the usefulness and safety—or lack thereof—of CAM” (National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2011, p.3). This study will add to general scientific knowledge of CAM.
Treatment Procedures: The mind-body skills group is a form of educational intervention, combining the learning of such mind-body skills as meditation, breath exercises, relaxation, and imagery, with a sharing of emotions and experiences in a small group (6-10 participants) setting. The mind-body skills group provides a setting for the development of increased self-awareness and self-discovery, along with the mastery of mind-body skills that are useful for personal health and wellness.
Risk-to-Benefit Ratio: Mind-Body interventions seem to carry with them relatively little risk when compared to the potential benefits. Thus the benefits of participation in this proposed research seem to outweigh the potential adverse events significantly.
The Bottom Line: As mentioned above, today was the last day for group intervention with final collection of data. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll crunch the numbers and write up a final report. I will announce the final outcomes of this pilot project right here on The Alternative Medicine Blog. I am also looking to have the data scrutinized via peer review by locating an appropriate scientific journal.
In the meantime, if you are a cancer patient, loved one/caretaker of a cancer patient or a health care professional wanting to participate in an Online MBM Skills group, please go to my cancer support group page or check out the entry titled “Dealing with Cancer is Crazy Enough; Attending a Support Group Shouldn’t Be!” right here on The Alternative Medicine Blog.
On the other hand, if you are a fellow researcher interested in investigating Mind-Body Medicine modalities in the oncological setting, please do not hesitate to contact me for possible research collaboration for existing projects or to develop, plan and implement future research projects.
National Institutes of Health (U.S.). Medical Arts and Photography Branch. (1994). Mind-body interactions and disease a symposium on the relationships between mental states, immune function, and health. Retrieved from Images from the History of Medicine (NLM) website at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/hmd/ihm/
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (2011). NCCAM’s Third Strategic Plan: Exploring the Science of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (No. Third Strategic Plan) (p. 62).
Owen, J. E., Bantum, E. O., & Golant, M. (2009). Benefits and challenges experienced by professional facilitators of online support groups for cancer survivors. Psycho-Oncology, 18(2), 144–155. doi:10.1002/pon.1374
Writing an essay, paper, or report? Cite this story:
APA: W Absenger. (2012.06.25). Pilot Project: Quality of life outcomes following mind-body skills training for cancer patients facilitated either face-to-face or online ends today [Web log post]. Retrieved from The Alternative Medicine Blog at http://amacf.org/2012/06/pilot-project-quality-of-life-outcomes-following-mind-body-skills-training-for-cancer-patients-facil.html
MLA: Absenger, Werner. ” Pilot Project: Quality of Life Outcomes Following Mind-Body Skills Training for Cancer Patients Facilitated either Face-To-Face or Online Ends Today.” The Alternative Medicine Blog. The Alternative Medicine Blog. 25 June. 2012. Web. Insert your date of access here.
Spring Lake, MI. — May 15, 2012—The Absenger Cancer Education Foundation, Spring Lake, Michigan, is pleased to announce the initiation of an interventional, supportive care, randomized efficacy study to evaluate the effects of a Mind-Body Skills Group on measures of Quality of Life (QoL) in a population of cancer patients. The study will enroll 24 cancer patients in a 4-week (8 sessions, 2 per week) study starting May 28, 2012 and concluding June 21, 2012.
According to the National Cancer Institute, distress is common to almost every cancer patient because of many stressors associated with different stages of cancer and the associated oncological treatment, but only a small number of distressed patients receive the help necessary to address their distress.
I am soon starting to recruit (Saybrook University Institutional Review Board approval is pending) for a pilot study, to begin on May 21, 2012, dealing with distress and Quality of Life of cancer patients/survivors titled:
A Pilot Study To Assess Guidance in and Subsequent Use of Mind-Body Techniques on the Quality of Life of Cancer Patients
Clinical Trials.Gov Identifier: NCT01586546
I am hoping to enlist your help in spreading the word about this important research to let eligible, would-be-participants know about this opportunity to add to scientific knowledge. More importantly, participants will learn about Mind-Body Medicine (MBM) skills and how to better deal with the distress associated with a wide variety of stressors at different stages of cancer and cancer treatment.