|Department of Physiology & Biophysics
Complementary and Alternative Medicine Masters Program
Mind-Body Medicine Exercises
Autogenic Training is an approach to relaxation that uses specific verbal commands to bring about the relaxation response. Images of heaviness and warmth and attention to breath are used to evoke specific physiological responses. The autogenic techniques should be approached with an attitude of passive concentration for optimal results.
Biofeedback is the use of a measuring device to detect physiological changes and report these changes by means of auditory or visual aids. Biofeedback instruments typically measure behavior of the autonomic nervous system. A simple example of a biofeedback instrument is the thermistor. This device measures skin temperature and displays the results as a simple digital readout.
Studies show that group experience is beneficial in maintaining both physical and mental health. The experience of social connectedness enhances an individual's ability to cope with physical illness and is suggested for a wide variety of physical and emotional conditions.
Imagery refers to the images that spontaneously arise from the subconscious mind to help the mind, the body and the spirit heal. Imagery may involve using symbols to imagine that the changes you desire in your body are actually happening. For example, you might imagine that pain is melting away and dripping like a warm liquid out of your fingertips. Or you might develop an image of your immune cells actively subduing and preying on cancer cells or viruses. This is a highly personalized method and it is most beneficial for each individual to use images that are uniquely meaningful for him/her.
Keeping a written journal of thoughts, feelings, and ideas helps to integrate and organize our complicated lives. Several proven benefits of journal writing include helping to resolve traumas that stand in the way of important tasks, remembering and healing significant events and turning points in our lives, capturing creative stories, poems and ideas, and helping to discover and define values and purpose in our lives.
Meditation is a process by which we go about deepening and focusing our attention and awareness intentionally and non-judgmentally in the present moment. Through careful systematic self-observation, we learn to live our lives with greater satisfaction, wisdom and harmony. Meditation may provide periods of stability, clarity, inner peace, balance, and perspective, while reducing pain, anxiety and depression.