Integrative body-mind training (IBMT) was adapted from traditional Chinese medicine in the 1990s and thousands of Chinese people practise it. It avoids struggles to control thoughts and relies instead on a state of restful alertness. Coaches provide breathing tips, mental imagery and other techniques while soothing music plays in the background. People learn to control their thoughts through posture, relaxation, body-mind harmony and balanced breathing. Researchers in China compared the effectiveness of IBMT and traditional relaxation techniques in a study of 86 undergraduate students at Dalian University of Technology. Both the students using relaxation and those using IBMT showed an improvement but those using IBMT showed dramatic differences. They had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and lower levels of depression, anxiety and fatigue. They had more blood flow in their right anterior cingulate cortex - a region of the brain associated with the regulation of cognition and emotion. They also had lower heart rates and breathed more through their stomachs, which is a more relaxed way of breathing.
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