My Shaking Made Me Feel Like I Was ‘Going Nuts!’

March is National Essential Tremor Awareness Month and throughout the month we will be shining a light on people who have essential tremor. Everyone has a story to tell. We hope that these stories will resonate with others, validating the everyday struggles people with ET feel physically and emotionally. As we shine a light on these individuals, we are shining a light on ET and raising awareness. Please share these stories with others.

By Jody,

My tremors started when I was 21. My daughter was almost one-year-old when I noticed my head feeling like it was shaking inside but not noticeable to others. I went to my regular doctor and said, “I think I’m going nuts… I feel my head shaking and it’s not stopping.”

My doctor sent me to a neurologist who tested me and I got the diagnosis of tremors. At that time it was just my head shaking; but it went from not noticeable to others to very noticeable within six months. I was prescribed an anti-seizure medication.

NETA month 2019 Logo

Then I also started doing my own research on essential tremor. My mother-in-law saw an older lady in the hospital waiting room one day and noticed she shook just like me. She started talking to her and found out her doctor prescribed Botox injections. So I made an appointment with that doctor who diagnosed me with both essential tremor and muscular dystonia. She prescribed many different medications including muscle relaxers, and most of the medications had bad side effects.

After a few years I started Myobloc injections. Those worked for about nine years. I then went to the Mayo Clinic to explore the option of DBS surgery but decided against it.

I went a few years without seeing a doctor then found another specialist. We again started the process of trying to find a medication that would help relieve my tremors. Today I have exhausted all of the medications out there that they use to treat tremors.

“Over the 20 years of me having this I now have tremors throughout my whole body. My head shakes, shoulders, trunk down to my legs. I do not stop shaking at all.”

I am now doing Botox under an orthopedic specialist. I also see a chiropractor and use CBD oil when the Botox runs out of my system.

I work in an office setting full time and have a cleaning business on the side so I work seven days a week. In my office job we have changed a few things to help me get along easier. I have been at this job for 22 years so they have seen the tremors progress with me as the years have gone by. I use weighted pens and pencils. I have a standing desk now so I can move around as much as I need to. I feel better the more I can move. If I’m not working and just laying around at home I hurt – my muscles hurt, my body hurts. But, I can still move. Some days are harder than others. Writing is getting harder.

I’m amazed at how many people have had this condition their whole life. I sometimes have to remind myself of the people who can’t work or can’t write at all because of their tremors. Mine are bad but others have them much worse than me.

Go to a Doctor Who Listens and Believes in You

March is National Essential Tremor Awareness Month and throughout the month we will be shining a light on people who have essential tremor. Everyone has a story to tell. We hope that these stories will resonate with others, validating the everyday struggles people with ET feel physically and emotionally. As we shine a light on these individuals, we are shining a light on ET and raising awareness. Please share these stories with others.

NETA month 2019 LogoBy Lucy,

Gradual, insidious, and nasty are three words that I use to describe essential tremor (ET). I am an 84-year-old widow with ET everywhere. I am also hearing impaired and my speech is affected. I wanted to share my story to try to help others. I think the biggest misconception about ET is the general belief that it is a little condition for the aged, which is merely an inconvenience.

I am a retired junior high teacher and it was actually one of my students who made me pay attention to my shaky right hand. I knew I was shaking but I guess, like many others, I tried to ignore it. This was in the 1980s.

I asked my general practice doctor about my shaking. He just smiled and said, “You don’t have Parkinson’s disease.” But he didn’t give me a diagnosis or any treatment suggestions.

My tremor remained static for a few years. Then when I retired in 1995 it had moved to my right leg as well, but was not too noticeable. In fact, when my husband passed away in 1999, he was not aware of it. But, then it began to worsen.

I began doing some research online and disagreed with my doctor. I was sure I had essential tremor. He finally sent me to Akron Hospital and after some tests they said I was correct, but still no one suggested treatments, medications, or advice. I tried weighted eating utensils, but didn’t have much luck.

Soon shaking began in my arm and leg on my left side. I had given up my volunteer work with Hospice and concentrated on my hobbies: reading, tatting, needlework, and piano. I found myself withdrawing from any public functions and depression set in. The doctor gave me medications for depression and it helped some. Soon I quit cooking and got Meals on Wheels and used my microwave. My favorite coping method was spending time with my faithful companions, a cat and dog, and my Christian faith. My church still keeps in touch today.

In 2010 I just about wrecked my car when my arm spasmed. So I parked my car and called my kids. In a couple of months I was safely moved 130 miles away with my youngest daughter who is a trained caregiver. (My older daughter lives in Australia and my son in Texas.)

We have conducted some background research on our family and have found my niece is sure she has ET and my granddaughter, too. We think my father and sister did as well.

Since I moved I have a general practice doctor who believes me. He referred us to Wexner Medical Center (at the Ohio State University). I have officially been diagnosed with ET and almost had Deep Brain Stimulation surgery, but I decided not to. It just didn’t “feel” right.

I am on medication now but I don’t think anything is helping much. I am looking into the new MRI treatment since it is conducted nearby.

My advice to anyone who thinks they have essential tremor is to find a recognized specialist who listens and believes in you. Also, get involved in helping. I can’t do much now but when I die my brain goes to Yale for ET research.

P.S. It took me nearly four hours to type this.

Shine a Light on Essential Tremor

“Be the light that helps others see.” Anonymous

By Tammy Dodderidge
IETF Marketing and Communications Manager

Just when we thought we had heard every symptom and every challenge associated with essential tremor, we realized we were wrong. When we reached out to the essential tremor community last month and asked people to share their stories as part of National Essential Tremor Awareness Month (NETA), we received a number of responses. People sent us moving accounts of their diagnoses and their challenges. The stories are insightful and emotional, mixed with both sadness and hope. Most importantly, they are REAL.

Logo for NETA Month 2019We will be sharing these stories on this blog site throughout the month of March. Our goal is to “shine a light on essential tremor,” which is the theme for this year’s NETA Month campaign. We know when we shine our light, we heighten awareness and brighten hope. We connect people so they don’t feel alone, and empower them to speak up and educate others.

Here’s a sampling of the personal stories we will be sharing through this Tremor Talk blog site during March:

The Story of Anna. Anna thought being pushed out of a tree when she was 10 years old is what caused her tremor to begin. Growing up, she would shake her leg to try to disguise her tremor as nervousness. There have been times throughout her life when she has felt like a “freak” because of her ET.

The Story of Lucy. Lucy is an 84-year-old widow with essential tremor “everywhere.” She was actually able to hide it from her husband until he passed away. She struggled to find a doctor who would diagnosis and treat her.

The Story of Jody. Jody works two jobs so she works seven days a week. She has learned to make accommodations for her tremor. Some days her muscles hurt and her whole body hurts, but she is thankful she can still move.

The Story of Rachel. Diagnosed at age 5, Rachel has made it one of her goals in life to raise awareness to ET any way she can. From creating videos, to making presentations to being an ET Support Group leader, she is not giving up hope that someday there will be a cure for ET.

There are many other stories as well. The mission of the IETF is to provide HOPE to people with ET through awareness, education, support and research. March is our biggest time to shine a light on ET, and we hope you will join us by taking part in some way.

Be sure to take a look at our webpage where we have shared our NETA Month posters, banners and other materials, as well as ideas. Make a donation to receive an NETA Month t-shirt and tote bag, which will help raise awareness all year long. And stay tuned to this blog site to share your own comments and stories.

Preparing for Your Doctor’s Visit

By Dr. Rodger Elble,
Department of Neurology
,
Southern Illinois University School of Medicine

Preparing for your visit with a movement disorder specialist will increase the odds of accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment at an affordable cost. A complete and accurate medical history is crucial.

rodger elble photo

Here are some things you can do to facilitate a successful clinic visit.

1.  Prepare a written chronological history of your problem. What was your initial symptom (e.g., hand tremor) and when did this symptom begin? It is important to estimate the time or age of onset as accurately as possible. This may be long before the time when your tremor and other symptoms became disabling or really bothered you. Describe how the tremor started (e.g., suddenly or gradually) and how the tremor has progressed. Which areas of your body were affected initially and subsequently? Has there been a recent or rapid worsening? If so, was this associated with other events or medical problems (e.g., a new medication)? Note any changes in your balance, coordination, gait, and speech. Tell your doctor about any involuntary movements other than tremor (e.g., body jerks, twisting movement of the neck or limbs).

2.  Note any medications, substances or circumstances that make your tremor better or worse. Prepare a list of all treatments you have tried for your tremor.

3.  Prepare a family history. Document any relatives with tremor or other neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, dystonia, ataxia, neuropathy, etc.

4.  Prepare a list of past medical problems and note whether they had any effect on your tremor. A recent medical summary from your primary care physician will be helpful. Bring a complete list of current medications and their dosages. Your pharmacist can help you with this.

5.  Be prepared to discuss how your tremor affects your daily life. Which activities are affected most? How has your handwriting changed? How does tremor affect your occupation and social life? Has your tremor affected you emotionally? Have you been depressed? You should be as accurate and candid as possible.

6.  Do not stop any medication unless requested by your doctor.

Your doctor will perform a thorough neurological examination to assess tremor severity and look for abnormalities other than tremor. Patients referred for essential tremor frequently have some other condition that is revealed by a careful neurological exam. There is no test for essential tremor.

At the end of your visit, make sure you understand your diagnosis and treatment options. Ask questions. Discuss your goals and expectations with regard to your tremor, but understand that available treatment is not always adequate. Consider participating in a research study if one is available and appropriate for your condition. Ongoing and recently completed research studies can be found online at ClinicalTrials.gov. 

Custom-Fitted Glove Can Help Manage Essential Tremor

From time to time we like to feature products or techniques that can help people manage or better cope with their essential tremor. Here is occupational therapist Krista Madere’s story of inventing the Readi-Steadi Glove System.

By Krista Madere, LOTR, CHT, Steadi, LLC

Krista Madere photo for blog

Passionate about my career as a registered occupational therapist and certified hand therapist for 21 years, I challenged myself to find a way to help clients gain control of their hand tremors in all aspects of daily living.

I personally watched my grandfather, a graphic artist in New York City, suffer from the debilitating effects of hand tremors, including social withdrawal. 

In the work that I do, I had seen many adaptive devices on the market, such as weighted utensils and modified pens. Most were created to help with a specific task, such as writing or eating, but not both. I wanted to recommend something to my patients that could be versatile enough to work for a variety of tasks.  

With all this in mind, I designed the Readi-Steadi® glove. This customized glove helps reduce both resting and action hand tremors, and has proven to reduce tremors by as much as 50%.  Customers have rated it as comfortable and easy to maintain. It weighs less than one pound, and does not restrict range of motion. Probably the best part: there are no side effects!  

Readi-Steadi® has already helped hundreds of people regain their confidence enjoying life again! One franchise owner from New Orleans, diagnosed with essential tremor, opted for a custom Readi-Steadi® system. Since then, he has mastered the art of time management and can control his hand and arm tremors without adverse side effects.  Excitedly, he no longer has to order drinks “with wiggle room” and can manage lightweight paper and plastic products when on the go.

Currently, I offer in person custom-fittings in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana clinic, but modern technology has allowed me the ability to offer online assessments and custom-fittings through the website, www.readi-steadi.com.

Most major insurances are accepted and individual policies and benefits are verified by our billing manager, Sheryl, prior to appointment and fabrication.  

Look for more information on our website or email or call me at: info@readi-steadi.com, 225-614-2631. I’m excited to get you started on the road to a better life by helping you manage your tremor.

How Does Medicare Cover Essential Tremor?

By Danielle Kunkle Roberts,
Co-Founder of Boomer Benefits

Danielle Kunkle Roberts, Boomer BenefitsEssential Tremor (ET) is a neurological disorder that causes involuntary shaking and trembling. It affects approximately 10 million people in America, according to the International Essential Tremor Foundation, which makes ET the most common neurological disorder.

While not dangerous, the condition can make simple tasks such as tying your shoes or drinking a glass of water more difficult. ET can also get worse over time.

Because ET is more common for people in later adulthood, it’s good to know how Medicare will cover treatment of this disorder.

Medicare Part A Hospital Benefits

Original Medicare is made up of Part A hospital benefits and Part B outpatient benefits. 

Part A covers inpatient hospital stays, skilled nursing facility care, and hospice care. This is the part that would pay most of the expenses related to a hospital stay for deep brain simulation (DBS), which is a common surgery that provides relief from tremors and stiffness.

Medicare Part B Hospital Benefits

Medicare Part B covers outpatient care. This includes doctor visits, preventive care, lab-work, diagnostic testing, emergency care, outpatient surgeries, physical therapy, durable medical equipment and much more.

Part B will pay for your patient visits to your specialist, the necessary neurological exams and lab-work and any outpatient procedures used to control ET symptoms.

One outpatient procedure to treat ET is focused ultrasound treatment. This minimally invasive treatment was approved by the FDA in 2016. It is the first brain disorder treatment to be allowed reimbursement by Medicare Part B. The procedure destroys a small amount of brain tissue that contains nerve cells which are responsible for the tremors.

Earlier this summer Medicare announced benefit coverage for patients in 16 states. Additional states were added this past fall. There are numerous medical centers that now treat patients with Essential Tremor using MR-guided focused ultrasound. A Medicare physician must document why the procedure is reasonable and necessary.

Medicare Part D Drug Benefits

Outpatient medications to help treat your ET symptoms will fall under Part D. Medicare Part D is optional coverage  beneficiaries can purchase to reduce the cost of their prescriptions.

These plans are sold by private insurance companies and each plan has its own premiums, copays, coinsurance, pharmacy network, and drug formulary. Beneficiaries can use Medicare’s Plan Finder Tool to search for the right plan.

Your Medicare Cost-Sharing

As with all insurance coverage, Medicare covers a share and the member also pays a share of their coverage. This is called your cost-sharing and it usually comes in the form of deductibles, copays, and coinsurance.

Part A has a $1364 deductible in 2019, and Part B has a smaller $185 annual deductible. Medicare Part B covers 80% of your outpatient procedures. You are responsible for paying the other 20%.

Fortunately, you can supplement your coverage with either a Medicare supplement policy or a Medicare Advantage plan. Both types of coverage will help to limit your out-of-pocket expenses on the gaps in Medicare.

Beneficiaries can call 1-800-MEDICARE or consult a Medicare insurance broker for guidance in choosing a plan that fits their needs and benefits.

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Danielle K. Roberts is a Medicare insurance expert and co-founder at Boomer Benefits, a licensed agency that helps beneficiaries with their supplemental coverage options.

‘Tis the Season of Giving and Understanding the New Tax Laws

LET YOUR GIFT BE YOUR LEGACY

December is traditionally a time of giving. It’s the holiday season where gifts are exchanged and people reach out to help others, including organizations that do good in the world. Many charitable organizations receive their largest contributions in December.

While most charitable contributions are not motivated by tax write offs, this incentive has been engrained in society for the past 100 years. It was 1917 when charitable giving was approved as a tax deduction. The War Revenue Act of 1917 was adopted shortly after the US entered the war (World War I). The idea behind the act was to provide support for charities who otherwise might not survive the war.

Exactly 100 years later, in 2017, the Tax Cut Jobs Act was passed, changing the landscape for charitable giving. The new law reformed individual and corporate income tax. It increased the standard deduction and family tax credits, and eliminated personal exemptions, making it less beneficial to itemize deductions. What does all this mean if you are making charitable contributions? And how can you still give and save on your taxes?

Know the Rules
Understanding the ins and outs of the new tax laws can help you set goals. Most importantly, know what tax bracket you are in and the standard deduction amount. Here are the tax brackets for 2017 and 2018 so you can compare the changes.

Try Bunching
The new law doubled the standard tax deduction, which means fewer people will probably itemize their taxes. But, you can only make deductions if you itemize your taxes. Try to take advantage of itemizing by consolidating charitable donations. So instead of giving smaller amounts for two years in a row, give two or three year’s worth of donations in the same year so the gift is enough to deduct.

Consider a Donor-Advised Fund
A donor-advised fund is a charitable investment account established specifically to support a charitable organization you care about. It allows individuals to make a charitable contribution and receive an immediate tax deduction of up to 30%, then recommend grants from the fund over time. Direct donation of publicly traded securities is one of the most common ways to set up this type of fund.

Know the Value of Your Gifts
Most people give to a cause or charity because they believe in the purpose and the mission and want to be a part of it. Don’t lose sight of this. The gifts you give may be deductible in a given year, but their benefits can be life-changing for the cause you are supporting. Imagine knowing that because of you and your support, research was conducted that led to a cure for essential tremor. Let your gift be your legacy.

Learn More
Everyone’s personal finances are different and tax laws can be complicated. For more information check with your financial advisor or tax consultant to create a plan that works best for you. 

The Best Caregivers Practice Self-Care

“You cannot serve from an empty vessel” ~Eleanor Brownn  

Carla Cheatham PhotoBy Rev. Carla Cheatham, MA, MDiv, PhD, TR

When we care for a family member, taking time to care for ourselves can be especially hard, assuming the resources are even available to allow us to do so. We do not want them to think they are a burden. We might feel sad for what they are going through, wishing we could fix it and make it all better.

We may feel selfish about stepping away for a bit of respite because they do not get to take a break from their illness, so why should we? We often feel compelled to push ourselves harder and further than is healthy, mistakenly seeing self-care as a luxury or feeling guilty for taking time away.

Selfishness is when we take care of our own needs at another’s expense. Self-care is when we take good care of ourselves so we CAN show up well for others. Exquisite self-care is our first and greatest priority if we wish to be good caregivers.

When we do not put our own oxygen mask on first, we can help no one and are more likely to develop compassion fatigue, the emotional and physical state that occurs when the amount of care we are taking in isn’t enough to make up for the care we extend.

Setting too high of expectations for ourselves can leave us feeling something is wrong with us, but humans under stress can get impatient, short-tempered, and long for our situation to be different. That happens, but will be less likely if we take in what we need to maintain our internal resources.

National Family Caregivers Month logoWe may feel powerless to change our circumstances and get the full support we need and deserve, but we are not helpless to take action on our own behalf. Even with very little time to ourselves, we can find mini-moments throughout the day to lower our feelings of stress and increase calm in our bodies and brains.

4-square breathing—Using your heartbeat as a timer, breathe in for the count of 4, hold that breath for 4, breathe out for 4, and hold for 4. You can do 3-4 of those in about a minute a couple of times a day.

Hand washing ritual—As caregivers, we wash our hands often and experts recommend doing so for 25 seconds. Take that time to breathe, feel your feet on the floor, soften your belly and torso, and lower your shoulders away from your earlobes where they’ve crept up due to stress.

 Waterfall doorway—Pick a doorway you walk through often. Imagine a waterfall coming down through that doorway washing off the stress of the day collected to that point to keep from accumulating it all day long.

 Common cues—Pick a common object, like a penny or a certain type of bird. Each time you see one, pause for 5 seconds and check in with the committee in your head to see if negative or self-defeating messages are running through your brain. If so, change the narrative with a positive phrase, mantra, or prayer repeated over and over again for a few more seconds until you feel a positive shift.

Phone a friend—Call someone you trust to talk about anything else other than your struggles and stressors. Even 5 minutes with someone who reminds us we are part of a larger world beyond the circumstances of our current moment can help to center us.

Three Good Things—Research has shown if, within one or two hours before sleep, we write down three good things that happened during the day and what made those moments positive, we sleep better and our rates of burnout go down substantially. Do this for 14 days. It only takes a few moments and re-trains our brain to see the positive as well as the negative our brains can so easily focus upon.

ABC’s of Gratitude—When we most need to practice gratitude is often when we feel the least grateful. Name something that begins with each letter of the alphabet for which you are grateful.  Even if our list starts frustratedly with apples, bananas, cats, and dogs, by the time we get to wisdom, yogurt and zebras our perspective will have shifted and we can feel the difference inside.

Hopefully something in these words has given you a couple of tools and encouragement to help you walk this journey. You and your loved ones deserve all the support and moments of peace you can access along the way.

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Carla Cheatham is the principal and lead trainer for Carla Cheatham Consulting Group, LLC and serves as a national keynote speaker and educator teaching in the areas of clinical presence and attunement, compassion fatigue and resilience, ethical spiritual and existential care, grief support, ethical boundaries and healthy teams, and more. She publishes two blogs through CarlaCheatham.com and HospiceWhispers.com. She is the author of Hospice Whispers: Stories of Life and its companion piece, Sharing Our Stories: A Hospice Whispers Grief Support Workbook.

Being ‘Mindful’ May Help in Managing Essential Tremor

By Dr. Michael Braitsch, PT, DPT
Tribe Wellness, LLC

Photo of Michael Braitsch, Tribe WellnessIf you’re like me, you’ve heard over and over again the value of mindfulness. It’s become quite a popular buzzword in a variety of manners of marketing. As we enter the next frontier of neuroscience and brain health, it seems like you can’t go anywhere without hearing about mindfulness. But what does mindfulness really mean and how can it be useful in daily life or in managing life with a tremor?

As a physical therapist, I have seen time and again the role of increased stress ramping up the severity of a patient’s symptoms (whether it be chronic pain in someone’s lower back, the amplitude or frequency of a tremor, the incidence of freezing gait in someone with Parkinson’s disease – the  list goes on).

I’ve met many people though with an essential tremor who usually say something like, “If I really focus on it, I can kind of calm my tremor down.” This is mindfulness!

The even better news is that practicing mindfulness can have far reaching benefits to improve quality of life with or without a tremor. It makes good sense. When we are calmer, we learn better, we perform better, we are less distracted, and we can even tap into a level of subconscious skill to make life easier.

While this all sounds great, I’m also here to warn you that it takes some effort and consistency; however, we all know that most worthwhile things in life take some effort. The intention of this blog post is to clarify what mindfulness practice is and how it could be helpful.

What is Mindfulness?
Many people consider the practice of mindfulness as simply, being aware of the present moment and the task-at-hand. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines mindfulness as:

“1 : the quality or state of being mindful

2 : the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis “

So “mindfulness” is really a practice. It’s NOT a destination. It has a lot of similarities with meditation or directed thinking which is common in all religious beliefs, to quiet the mind you don’t have to run off to the mountains or join a monastery. Rather, mindfulness provides a method of intentionally directing one’s focus to the task-at-hand, while avoiding judgment (both good and bad).

Let’s break each of these down further.

Focus on the Present
An increased focus on the present moment is a heightened commitment to directing one’s attention to the task-at-hand. Even though the mind may wander, coming back to the present is the key for mindfulness. We are all human beings and have a natural tendency to consciously or unconsciously drift into other thoughts, but coming back to “right now” is the goal of this practice. Oddly enough, in a world where multi-tasking is everywhere, mindfulness practices teach us that we are more effective and more efficient when we slow down and focus on what we are doing.

Be Non-Judgmental
Each day we make thousands of decisions. For the sake of survival of the species, we have an evolutionary drive to constantly judge things as good or bad, helpful or harmful, useful or a waste of time. Using our “fight or flight” response has served us tremendously for thousands of years. This is often the hardest part of mindfulness. Reinforcement of use of the “fight or flight” hardwires us to rush ahead to the next moment. However, when we lose sight of the present and constantly let the mind race, neuroscience tells us that we strengthen our brains’ stress responses to everyday tasks. On an extreme level, a heightened stress-response can have far-reaching negative effects. While it’s helped humanity to survive, we’ve become hardwired to get bogged down by incessant mental chatter. Mindfulness shows us that we can remain focused on the task at hand without judgment, and on a very practical level, rewiring our brains from training a ”stress-response,” to instead, training a “relaxation response.”

As we strive to increase our focus and to quiet the mind, we can find an abundance of benefits from improved awareness. We can even gain insight into why we feel a certain way or perhaps a deeper level of relaxation. This training has a powerful effect on our autonomic nervous system. By choosing presence and mindfulness, a hyperactive brain or a hyperactive nervous system can be slowed down, leading to a wealth of benefits including improved cardiovascular health, improved cognition, and more!

But What About My Tremor?
Managing stress is great for everyone. For someone with a tremor, it can be even more helpful. Most people I’ve met who are dealing with essential tremor say something like, “my tremor gets worse when I’m stressed out.” Stress and depression can even create a negative cycle that increases the tremor currently, and because of embarrassment about worsening of the tremor, causes more stress and depression. While there have not yet been studies on practicing mindfulness as a means of managing essential tremor, there have been many anecdotal reports of it helping. It stands to reason that even if mindfulness did nothing for the tremor itself, the already established far-reaching benefits make it worth the effort until a study can show what so many people have already reported. Why not give yourself a chance to reduce stress and feel good, right?

Can I Practice Mindfulness While Exercising?
Now for my favorite topic. . .there are forms of exercise that harness and foster a mindful approach while also striving to calm the mind and strengthen the body. As a physical therapist, my life’s mission is to help people move better and feel better. The research on the role of exercise in managing stress is abundant to say the least. As a long-time martial artist, I’ve seen first-hand the changes that can occur with dedicated practice of martial arts and the increased sense of well-being that students develop. Tai Chi is easily the most common form of martial art with emphasis on mindful practice because it is low-impact, easy to modify, and because it focuses on breath with movement. Alternatively, yoga has provided an avenue for mindful training for centuries and pilates also employs a mindful approach to movement, capturing the benefits of mindfulness and exercise.

What Else Can I Look at to Learn More?
Mindfulness resources are everywhere! There is no shortage of resources when it comes to mindfulness. The best practice though, like the best exercise, is the one that you can do consistently.

Here are a few to start with: