To increase knowledge and awareness of mind-body research,
To relieve suffering,
And to improve overall health and quality of life.
The research focus of the Mind-Body Medicine Research Laboratory is primarily mind-body interventions for physical and emotional symptoms. One of our current research studies, funded by the National Institutes of Health, explores the effectiveness of hypnotic relaxation therapy for the treatment of hot flashes in post-menopausal women. Additionally, other menopausal symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression are being reviewed for other potential benefits of the intervention. Investigation of the underlying psychological and physiological mechanisms are also within this area of study. Other studies have focused on pain management, smoking cessation, fatigue and dissociative ability. As a part of this research program, a new scale for assessment of hypnotic ability, Elkins Hypnosis Susceptibility Scale is being developed to help identify improved clinical approaches to mind-body therapies. Also, development of research instruments includes the Elkins Distress Scale (EDS), the Dissociative Abilities Scale, and the State Sexual-Self Index Scale, all of which may be beneficial in the treatment of psychiatric and medical patient populations. My research interest also includes study of prayer and health. Recent research has suggested that prayer may be among the most frequently used ways of coping with chronic illness and distress, and an extensive literature review is currently underway. Future studies in this area will likely target the effect of expressing thoughts and feelings during prayer on physiologically measured and emotional outcomes. Other areas of interest for research in the MBMRL is the use of hypnosis relaxation therapy in the treatment of patients with Parkinson's disease.