A study published in September 2009 by scientists at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, reported on the experiences of 25 obese women who took a 12-week course in yoga. Throughout the course, the women kept a personal journal where they reported on their thoughts and feelings about food, how much they ate, what they ate, the quality of their eating experiences, how they felt on an emotional level, and of course their experiences of the yoga.
A Harvard University study published in 2008 found the first compelling evidence that the Relaxation Response (RR) – the physiological response to meditation, yoga, tai chi, Qi Gong or repetitive prayer – affects our genes. Nineteen adults were long-term daily practitioners of various RR techniques, 20 were trained in RR eliciting techniques (breathing, mantra and mindfulness meditation) for 8 weeks, and 19 served as controls.
Your brain cannot tell the difference between something that’s real and whether you are just imagining it. Neuroscientists at Harvard taught a simple 5-fingered combination of piano notes to a group of people – thumb, index finger, middle finger, ring finger, little finger – which they played over and over again for 2 hours a day. They did this for 5 consecutive days.
A 2008 study at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak demonstrated the power of visualisation for the treatment of interstitial cystitis. Fifteen women visualised for 25 minutes, twice a day, for a total of 8 weeks, where they pictured healing the bladder, relaxing the pelvic-floor muscles and quietening the nerves involved. Fifteen women in a control group rested during these times so that the researchers could compare visualisation vs. non-visualisation.
From 2002 to 2006, the number of drugs that were axed after Phase-II clinical trials (volunteer trials) increased by 20% because the drugs couldn’t beat the placebos they were compared against. More recently, in 2008, a new gene therapy for Parkinson’s disease failed against the placebo. Similarly, in March 2009, Eli Lilly withdrew a new drug for schizophrenia because the placebo effect was double that expected. Also in March 2009, Osiris Therapeutics’ new drug for Crohn’s disease was also withdrawn due to a high placebo effect.
Scientists at Ohio State University, Ronald Glaser and Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, created small blisters on the skin of volunteers who were married to each other. First they asked the married couples to discuss a neutral topic, then they monitored the levels of a protein that is produced during wound healing over the next 3 weeks.
A study published by medics at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario, showed that Therapeutic Touch (TT) – the laying on of hands – benefited premature infants. It was a double blind and randomized trial involving 20 infants of gestational age less than 29 weeks. Ten received 5-minute TT sessions on 3 consecutive days and ten did not. Measurements of Heart Period Variability (HPV) were taken 5 minutes before, during and after the treatment.