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Cardiac Psychology













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Cardiac Psychology

This program is modeled after the Cardiac Wellness program pioneered at Harvard Medical School’s Mind Body Institute. The main components are

· Elicitation of the relaxation response

· Cognitive behavioral strategies

The Mind/Body Medicine Cardiac Wellness Program provides a range of interventions through individual and group sessions and is the basis of a relative new discipline called Cardiac Psychology.

This Cardiac Psychology program addresses psychosocial factors such as stress, relationships, behavior patterns etc. Management of these in conjunction with medical treatments have shown to improve cardiac health by 85%.

How You’ll Benefit from Cardiac Psychology Interventions

You’ll learn strategies to:

· Reduce physical symptoms

· Increase coping skills

· Modify adverse lifestyle behaviors

· Take an active role in managing your health care and improving quality of life

The Mind/Body Medical Institute's work is based on the inseparable connection between the mind and body - the complicated interactions that take place between thoughts, body, and the outside world. Mind/body medicine integrates modern scientific medicine, psychology, nursing, nutrition, exercise physiology and belief to enhance the natural healing capacities of body and mind.

During his 30 years of extensive research Herbert Benson, M.D., a cardiologist and founder of the Mind/Body Medical Institute of Harvard Medical School found that there was a counterbalancing mechanism to the fight-or-flight response. Just as stimulating an area of the hypothalamus can cause the stress response, so activating other areas of the brain results in its reduction.

The relaxation response is a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress (e.g., decrease in heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension). If practiced regularly, it can have lasting effects when encountering stress throughout the day and can improve health. Elicitation of the relaxation response is at the heart of the M/BMI's research and clinical mind/body programs.

Clinical Findings

Two of the numerous Mind/Body Medical Institute’s clinical findings are:

· Open-heart surgery patients have fewer post-operative complications. Behavioral Medicine, Volume 5, pages 111-117, 1989

· Eighty percent of hypertensive patients have lowered blood pressure and decreased medications - 16% are able to discontinue all of their medications. These results lasted at least three years. Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation, Volume 9, pages 316-324, 1989

Research also demonstrates that after completing a Cardiac Wellness Program, ongoing lifestyle management decreases progression of heart disease

Reduce Your Risks Of Future Cardiac Events

Mind/body approaches work because they go beyond the physical to address the framework of attitudes and behaviors that surround health. They deal with the cycle of stress, anxiety, physical tension, symptoms, and disease. They teach individuals to break old harmful patterns and develop positive attitudes and healthy behaviors.

How Patients Have Benefited

A 68 year old female patient with chronic high blood pressure, was unable to get it stabilized despite increased dosages of medications. Her cardiologist referred her to Dr. Rao ( clinical cardiac psychologist), Within a matter of 6-weeks the patient was able to take control of her acute anxiety issues through relaxation and guided imagery techniques. Not only did her BP stabilize but also her medications were reduced.

A 52-year old delivery-truck driver suffered a heart attack on the job. Doctors performed angioplasty and prescribed a regiment of drug therapy, which stabilized his condition. However, despite his excellent prognosis he was devastated, anxious and depressed about his future. His wife called and made an appointment with Dr. Rao. Within 8 weeks of mind-body interventions he has undergone a significant transformation and is willing and able to take on life's challenges.























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Copyright © 2005 Center For Creative Human Performance
Last modified: 06/22/06