Tai Chi Qigong is enjoyable for our Clients

9 03 2011

We teach Tai Chi Qigong and AccuMassage to dementia clients here in Sydney.  The clients love the gentle movements, practising breath awareness, the mind stimulation following the various postures and feeling energised from the exercise.

We have a few laughs and it is great to bring the group together during the hour. We all feel peaceful, loving and calm at the close of our time together.

Clients enjoy Qigong

 

Read more of what’s happening in the world of research into dementia:

 

More brain news, this time from researchers in Sweden who have found strong links between dementia in ageing and exposure to risk factors throughout life.

As the average age of the population in many countries increases, so does the occurrence of diseases such as cognitive impairment and dementia.

A study team from the Karolinska Institutet, led by professor Laura Fratiglioni, discovered that the risk of developing dementia is partly determined by genetic susceptibility and that actively participating in mental, physical and social activities can preserve cognitive functions, thereby delaying the onset of dementia.

Fratiglioni said, ‘The brain, just as other parts of the body, requires stimulation and exercise in order to continue to function. Elderly people with an active life – mentally, physically and socially – run a lower risk of developing dementia, and it doesn’t matter what the particular activities are.’

Regarding the importance of physical activity, the researchers found that in addition to extremes of blood pressure (both too high and too low), diabetes and obesity in middle-age also enhance the risk of dementia in older age; ‘What is good for the heart is good for the brain’ she said.

Source: Karolinska Institutet and ScienceDaily

 

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Mindfulness meditation improves brain function

9 03 2011


Just two months participation in a mindfulness meditation program can have a considerable effect on the regions of the brain linked to sense of self, memory, stress and empathy.

A team of researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) used MR imaging to study the brain structure of 16 study participants two weeks before taking part in the eight-week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Program at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness. The same measurements were also taken of a control group of 16 people.

The meditation participants took part in weekly meetings in which they focused on awareness of sensations, feelings and state of mind, and also used recorded resources with which to guide meditation each day. With an average daily practice of just under half an hour, participants responses to a mindfulness questionnaire exhibited improvements. MR images showing an increased density of grey-matter in the hippocampus and decreased density in the amygdala pointed to positive improvements in the areas of learning and memory, compassion, self-awareness and introspection, and also to reduced stress.

The study’s senior author, Sara Lazar, PhD, of the hospital’s Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program, said ‘Although the practice of meditation is associated with a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, practitioners have long claimed that meditation also provides cognitive and psychological benefits that persist throughout the day. This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.’

Britta Hölzel, PhD, a research fellow at MGH and Giessen University in Germany and first author of the paper commented; ‘It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life. Other studies in different patient populations have shown that meditation can make significant improvements in a variety of symptoms, and we are now investigating the underlying mechanisms in the brain that facilitate this change.’

Source: Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging