Saturday, December 11, 2010

Research Study of Labyrinths on Psychiatric Patients

The Orlando Regional Healthcare System (MD Anderson Cancer Center) commissioned a study through the Mind Body Spirit Center explored the value of the labyrinth on hospitalized psychiatric patients. I am not able to tell when the study was commissioned but it appears that it was completed around 2000 or 2001.

For the study, a replica of the Chartres Cathedral labyrinth was used at the Orlando Regional South Seminole Hospital. Patient found in the psychiatric observational unit over a two week period were involved in the study. Participants were provided with no explanation of the intervention to detach assumptions or presuppositions from the study. Participants were divided into a study and control group based on their desire to participate and/or physician clearance.

Physiological data was accumulated consisting of heart rate and blood pressure four times a day including immediately before and after the labyrinth experience. In addition a Hope Index was administered three times per day including immediately before and after as well as four hours post intervention.

Sample size of this study was 73 with 33 being in the control group and 40 in the study group. The patients who participated in walking the labyrinth were found to exhibit a lower pulse rate than those who did not. Regarding the Hope Index, patients who walked the labyrinth were more impacted, either by an increase or decrease than those who who were in the control group. They also found that four ours after walking the labyrinth, both the control group and the study group showed a marked decrease in their Hope Index scores.

According to the research paper published, the pilot study suggests that physiological results of lowered pulse rate that the labyrinth may serve as an effective tool in achieving the relaxation response. In addition, it would appear that this spiritual intervention may strongly impact a patient's sense of hope, stress, loneliness, despair and control (as measured with the Hope Index parameters).

For More Information, contact:
Dr. Beth Boyer Kollas
Director & Research Conductor
Orlando Regional Mind/Body/Spirit Center
1414 Kuhl Avenue
Orlando, FL. 32806

Blog Post & Images (c) 12/5/10 Don Shetterly - use by permission only

1 comment:

  1. Try qigong--the abdominal breathing has great effects on the body and the mind.

    Qigong—Chinese mind/body exercises--helped me immensely in my successful battles with four bouts of supposedly terminal bone lymphoma cancer in the early nineties. I practiced standing post meditation, one of the most powerful forms of qigong--as an adjunct to chemotherapy, which is how it should always be used.
    Qigong kept me strong in many ways: it calmed my mind--taking me out of the fight-or-flight syndrome, which pumps adrenal hormones into the system that could interfere with healing. The deep abdominal breathing pumped my lymphatic system—a vital component of the immune system. In addition, qigong energized and strengthened my body at a time when I couldn't do Western exercise such as weight-lifting or jogging--the chemo was too fatiguing. And it empowered my will and reinforced it every day with regular practice. In other words, I contributed to the healing process, instead of just depending solely on the chemo and the doctors. Clear 14 years and still practicing!

    Bob Ellal
    Author, ‘Confronting Cancer with the Qigong Edge’