Researchers have unravelled how an emerging mind-body technique, adapted from traditional Chinese medicine and practised by thousands in China, cuts down stress levels in just five days.
The integrative body-mind training (IBMT) is now being taught to undergraduates involved in research on the method at the University of Oregon (UO).
In October 2007, researchers led by visiting UO professor Yi-Yuan Tang and UO psychologist Michael Posner documented that doing IBMT prior to a mental math test led to low levels of the stress hormone cortisol among Chinese students.
The experimental group also showed lower levels of anxiety, depression, anger and fatigue than students in a relaxation control group.
“The previous paper indicated that IBMT subjects showed a reduced response to stress.” Tang said. “Why did it work so fast?”
The new findings point to how IBMT alters blood flow and electrical activity in the brain, breathing quality and even skin conductance, allowing for “a state of ah, much like in the morning opening your eyes, looking outside the grass and sunshine, you feel relaxed, calm and refresh without any stress, this is the meditation state,” he said.
Data were drawn from several technologies in two experiments involving 86 undergraduate students at Dalian University of Technology, where Tang is a professor, said an UO release.
The data were analysed and prepared for publication at the UO with help from Posner and psychology professor Mary K. Rothbart, who are not co-authors of the paper.
The study was published online in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences.
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Sources: The Times Of India