Mind-Body Medicine


Saybrook University Doctoral Student Applies Breath Training, Imagery, and Stretching to Life-Threatening Blood Clots

Arielle Dance


Introduction:  Arielle Denise Dance, with an MA in Women's Health, is a PhD student in Mind-Body Medicine at Saybrook University. Diagnosed with endometriosis at 15 years old, Arielle has spent the majority of her academic career being an advocate in the women's health community focusing on topics of chronic pain, disability, and minority groups.

The Story:  She couldn’t breathe. “ Just breathe … Deep breaths should help.” She could not manage even a shallow breath without sharp pains ripping through her body. That is how Arielle Dance, second year PhD student in the MBM program, felt when she was hit with a Pulmonary Embolism for the second time in her twenties. In August 2014, after a cross country trip back to New Jersey following the Fall Residential Conference, Arielle began feeling short of breath, and experiencing severe chest and back pain. Convinced that these were signs of an asthma attack, Arielle was not prepared for all that she would endure.

Continue Reading

Saybrook Doctoral Student Jana Downum Presents Case Report on Biofeedback for Stroke Survivors at Austin Conference

Poster by Jana Downum


Jana Downum is a doctoral student in the Saybrook University School of Mind-Body Medicine.  Jana presented a case report at the Association for Applied Psychophysiology amd Biofeedback annual conference in Austin, Texas on March 11 to 14 (see http://www.aapb.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=1).

Jana’s Case Report, which was presented in poster form, demonstrated her effective use of heart rate variability biofeedback with one of her patients, a stroke survivor.  Within the field of biofeedback, Heart Rate Variability Biofeedback is a promising new intervention technique.  Jana introduced the techniques to the patient during their first session. In subsequent sessions, the patient practiced and regularly applied mindful breathing, and used HRV strategies outside of sessions in all settings.  The poster presents the data, progress, and how the patient successfully achieved higher levels of difficulty within the HRV program. 

Jana has been a member of the Biofeedback Society of Texas (BST) for several years and has presented at prior Annual BST Conferences. She is a biofeedback therapist at Pate Rehabilitation, in the Dallas, Texas area.

Continue Reading

Mind-Body Medicine Doctoral Student, Deborah Klein, Integrates Health Coaching and Mind-Body Skills with Dietician Practice

Deborah Klein, MS, RD


Deborah Klein, MS, RD, Certified Health & Wellness Coach, is the world’s first Livitician® coach, a term she coined as an alternative to Dietician, and has been counseling clients on nutrition and fitness for over 20 years.  Her mission is to educate others on achieving optimal wellness through balanced eating, intrinsic coaching and exercise. 

At the University of California, Davis, Deborah received a Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics and a minor in Exercise Physiology. She then earned her Registered Dietitian license in Georgia.  She also completed her Master’s of Science degree in Foods and Nutrition with an emphasis in sports nutrition at California State Polytechnic University in Pomona.  She is now a PhD candidate at Saybrook University Graduate College of Mind-Body Medicine. 

Continue Reading

How to heal veterans - through art and movement


by Allison Winters

As a dance/movement therapist for Veterans Affairs, I have a lengthy history of working with this unique population that has spanned the range of Veteran generations.  I am also a current doctoral student in mind-body medicine with a focus on health care systems. 

Recently I had the privilege of attending the Third National Summit: Advancing Research in the Arts for Health and Well-being across the Military Continuum, as both a participant and presenter.  This is the 3rd summit of its kind and was originally created as a means to advance the efforts of the National Initiative for Arts and Health in the Military.  This year the summit was held at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD and was sponsored by Americans for the Arts and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.  The summit’s focus, research in arts and health in the military, brought together an impressive and diverse group of creative arts therapists, health care providers, research scientists, artists, medical experts, Veterans, and military personnel.  I had the pleasure of attending the summit for the second time and the honor, this year, of presenting my work as a dance/movement therapist with the military and Veteran population as part of a panel entitled Research Innovations on Integrative Care in Military Health Settings and Applications for the Arts. 

Continue Reading

Integrative Wellness Coaching: Meeting a Need and Closing a Gap


By Carrie Phelps, PhD

Medical practitioners and allied health professionals—specializing in integrative medicine and health sciences—are joining together to create innovative wellness programs that holistically address individual health and well-being (e.g., integrative healthcare, mind-body skills groups, mindfulness-based group coaching). The success of these programs has begun to set the standard for whole-person health professional practices. One such professional practice that is gaining momentum and capturing national attention is Integrative Wellness Coaching. Embedded in the science and philosophy of integrative medicine and the principles and methods of wellness coaching, integrative wellness coaching offers a comprehensive, holistic, and effective approach to lifestyle-related change and transformation.

Continue Reading

The Patient Experience Under ACA


“When doctors and other health care providers can work together to coordinate patient care, patients receive higher quality care and we all see lower costs.” - Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Amanda walks slowly behind me down the long hall from the waiting room to my office.  “Watch you step,” I tell her when we get to the small rise, “Take your time.”  Phrases I repeat many times a day.  Most of my patients, baby boomers, have joint problems.  This is the first time I am seeing Amanda.  I work in behavioral health, every patient is like a present to me, a mysterious gift, what will I find when I unwrap their layers?  The labels they wear, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, don’t provide any clarity to who they are.  Some are playful.  Some are fashionistas.  Some are guarded.  Amanda sits in the chair opposite me.  The chair is strategically placed, near me but not too near, to give the appropriate amount of psychological space.  Not blocking the doorway in case I need to make an egress. 

Amanda hugs a spiral notebook to her chest.  “What brings you here to see me?” I ask.  She looks at me, clearly distressed.  “I don’t know where to start,” she says.  Slowly we unpack her story.  In her notebook are phone numbers to doctors, appointments, notes about her symptoms: chest pain, stomach pain, chronic join pain, problems with her vision, and urinary incontinence. Amanda is in care for her depression and alcoholism.  She is overwhelmed and confused by her multiple medical problems.   She has achieved one of the proposed solutions for her problems; she has a primary care provider she is connected with.    For these problems she has been referred to cardiology, pulmonology, ophthalmology, and chronic pain.  No one has really addressed her incontinence.  She’s had CT scans, stress tests, and eye exams.  The end result?  She doesn’t know the results of her tests despite several visits, and she still doesn’t understand what is going on with her or the cause of her symptoms. 

Continue Reading

Doctoral student Allison Winters to present on Integrative Healthcare and the Arts in Military settings


Allison Winters, MA, MS, BC-DMT, LCAT, RYT, and a doctoral student at Saybrook's School of Mind-Body Medicine, will be speaking on a panel on  Research Innovations on Integrative Care in Military Health Settings and Applications for the Arts this Friday, Feb. 27, at the National Center for Complementary and Integative Health in Bethesda, MD.  

The presentation is part of the National Initiative for Arts and Health in the Military this Friday.

The panel will focus on integrative health and wellness and its use with military populations and veterans.  Allison is a dance/movement therapist and leads a program specifically designed to support veterans in a residential facility in Livermore, California.

Continue Reading

Using integrative health techniques to fight the effects of cancer: sample cases


Lynne Shaner, PhD  is a graduate from Saybrook University’s School of Mind-Body Medicine.  She has a private practice in the Washington, DC area.

“Lisa,” a woman in her forties, had ongoing metastasizing flares, though her cancer was in remission on this day at Hope Connections, a community cancer center in the Washington, DC area.   Her pain was significant, and was located in her chest, at the cancer site.  In a group setting for the monthly workshop that I lead, we used a particular acupressure/talk technique known as EFT, in which she tapped on the various points as directed and verbalized her situation in very general terms. Usually, the pain goes down dramatically. But nothing had changed. We were both disappointed. But when I asked “Does the pain have a face?” she immediately named her daughter. She had a clear image of her daughter ----a picture in her mind’s eye, as well as a list of the emotional results of the daughter’s current behavior (fear, frustration, anger). We went through the technique again, this time including her daughter’s name and each of the different emotions. This time, the pain decreased significantly, down from a level 6 to a 2. We continued to focus, and the pain was eliminated.

Continue Reading

Watch a CBS News story on an innovative treatment program for cancer survivors created by a Saybrook Mind-Body Medicine student!


Experts project there will be 18 million cancer survivors in the U.S. by 2022. Cancer patients often report feeling lost and abandoned at the conclusion of active treatment.  Even though treatment has ended, the impact of cancer on their lives has not.

Members of the Saybrook community have been pioneers in developing treatments for them – including faculty members and alumna like Dr. Jeanne Achterberg (who pioneered integrative techniques to combat the effects of cancer), Dr. Lyn Freeman (who received National Institute of Health grants to test integrative health techniques for cancer survivors, and make them available to patients), and now PhD student Francinne Lawrence, who has created a new model of holistic treatment for cancer survivors..

Survivorship is a recognized phase of treatment along the cancer control continuum and is a new directive for accreditation by the Commission on Cancer. At THRIVE – a program created and run by Lawrence for the Mary Bird Perkins, Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center, in Louisiana - individuals are considered cancer survivors from the moment of diagnosis.

The integrative program was recently featured on a local newscast.  Watch it here

Continue Reading

School of Mind-Body Medicine Chair Donald Moss will attend APA Council of Representatives Session Dealing with Torture, the Assessment of Trauma, Aid to the Dying, and other Critical Issues

APA Council of Representatives

The American Psychological Association (APA) will meet this month to determine the organization's stances on key issues facing not just psychologists, but our nation:  on the use of torture, on how trauma is assessed, on how we support those who are dying. 

Don Moss, the Chair of Saybrook's School of Mind-Body Medicine, will be part of the select group determining these stances.  He is a new member of the APA Council of representatives.  He represents Division 30, the Society for Psychological Hypnosis.  He is also a past-president of this APA Division.

The American Psychological Association (APA) remains the largest professional association representing psychologists worldwide, dedicated to advancing "the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives."  The APA Council of Representatives is the legislative body of APA and has full power and authority over the affairs and funds of the association within the limitations set by the certificate of incorporation and the Bylaws, including the power to review, upon its own initiative, the actions of any board, committee, division or affiliated organization

The Council is composed of representatives of APA's divisions, representatives of state, provincial and territorial psychological associations (SPTAs) and the members of the Board of Directors.

Continue Reading