Exercise and Meditation Relieves Stress of Medical Students, Study Says

Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School student, Paul Lavadera was hoping to begin his professional career as a frontline while dealing the severe medical emergencies.

Lavadera, who has completed his four-year medicine residency at a COVID-19 facilitating hospital located in  Brooklyn and Shors which is using the new stress-relieving method that was a part of RWJMS students to help their patients in case of a health crisis.

Lavadera who splits his time between two Brooklyn hospitals, SUNY Downstate Medical Center and Kings County Hospital in Flatbush said that he is isolating himself alone in his house and keeping himself updated on the latest preventive measures and guidelines on coronavirus treatments and recommendations

Lavadera has co-authored a Rutgers study, that is now published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine along with Shors and  Emma Millon talks about the efficacy of the methods which might be helpful to reduce coronavirus related stress and improve the quality of treatment for the patients.

The study, which researchers believe is the first to document positive outcomes with such an intervention on medical students, found that the students doing the MAP Training experienced significantly less stress and were approximately 20 percent less likely to ruminate with depressive and brooding thoughts when compared to medical students in the control group who did not participate in the program.

Most importantly, researchers say, is that those involved in the study said the training improved their quality of life, with 84 percent of the medical school students saying that they would recommend MAP Train My BrainTM to future patients as a way to alleviate anxiety and stress and improve overall health.

Also read- U.S Doctor Claims a “Second Wave” of COVID-19 is on its Way

Over the period of eight weeks, all first and second year students of the medical school participated in an intervention, named as “MAP Train My Brain”, two times in a week. It takes nearly 30 minutes and all participants indulge themselves into a meditation after which they do a 30 minutes long aerobics exercise. In contrast, the control group didn’t do any of these activities.

Shors, is the developer of this training protocol called MAP and it is specifically designed for the people who are dealing with trauma, depression, and stress-related disorders. The effects of this method on most vulnerable groups have been already studied and proved effective. however, these results are not published anywhere yet.

When Shors started this new study using medical students as well as Lavadera, it was obvious that doctors have to go through stressful situations while treating critical patients. But this study on medical students gave a more detailed explanation than just this statement.

From the last days of February to first week of April for almost six weeks, Shors suffered from the typical COVID-19 signs such as persistent cough, trouble breathing, pain, and fatigue. She consulted the emergency departments for two times, and she got her chest X-ray done that didn’t show any sign of pneumonia. So, she was advised to stay at home without being subjected to the test because she didn’t have a fever.

Shors, director of Graduate Studies in the department of psychology Center for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, remembers this experience. She said that behind their face masks she could see in their eyes the anxiety and stress that they are feeling. She added that she also experienced the compassion and professionalism that medical staff brings to every person coming in for help.

Researchers say the target of this study was to design a training program for medical students to make them healthy both physically and mentally. These types of programs might be helpful for patients as well.

Amna Rana

Amna Rana, a writing enthusiast and a microbiologist. Her areas of interest are medical and health care. She writes about diseases, treatments, alternative therapies, lifestyles and the latest news. You can find her on Linkedin Amna Rana.

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