MDs who “prescribe” exercise, and should mental health professionals do this? – Continued

Following up on a previous posting about MDs who “prescribe” exercise, and the potential benefits of other healthcare professionals, including mental health specialists, doing this, by coincidence- or perhaps not!- the New York Times had an article in the July 24, 2014 edition about a sports medicine specialist, Dr. Jordan Metzl does more than treat people with athletic injuries. He leads a pubic, and free, exercise group in Central Park twice per week, and he advocates using group exercise to help people with a wider variety of ailments, including problems that behavioral healthcare professionals treat.

Should MH professionals “prescribe” outdoor activity?

The online magazine Slate posted an interesting article on July 25, 2014 about some physicians who are “prescribing” physical activity, particularly outdoor activities. It cites one physician who was interviewed for the article, Robert Zarr, M.D., who has been prescribing time outside for, “conditions as wide-ranging as ADHD, high blood pressure, asthma, obesity, diabetes, and depression.”

“Psychological boot camp” for treatment of chronic pain

NPR had an interesting article on 1-13-14 about chronic back pain. The article noted, of course, that many people with serious back pain have surgery, even multiple surgeries, with minimal or no reduction of pain. Interestingly, the article also notes, “Lots of people who are pain-free actually have terrible-looking MRIs.” And, Research is showing that the pain often has nothing to do with the mechanics of the spine, but with the way the nervous system is behaving….” The person learns, unfortunately, to be “paranoid about any twinge of pain, and all the while they lose strength and flexibility.”

Training the brain to focus and relax using high tech “toys”

NPR had an interesting article on 1-22-14 about an emerging market sells “eeg headsets” that connect wirelessly with sophisticated devices, more than toys. The article states, “using technology borrowed from the field of neuroscience, are making it possible to control objects with brain power alone. The idea is to help train users to become more focused — and relaxed.” The author describes her experience with one device, a helicopter controlled by an eeg headset, “The device was designed to train me to concentrate on one single thought as much as possible.”

“Brain training” may not require high tech

The Star Tribune on 6-25-14 published an article that I found to be informative and thought provoking to mental health professionals, and it also could be a possibly helpful resources to pass on to people who might be interested in “brain health,” or who might need a nudge to make some behavioral changes.