Node Smith, ND

We are increasingly becoming aware that stress and anxiety are mental concerns for our children. Social media, increased toxic exposure, and general chaos and pressure has created a much different world for our youngsters to navigate than similar age groups even 25 years ago. Finding methods and tools to help our children manage and learn from their stress and anxiety is very important. But, research data specific to children is very hard to come by. Which is why a recent study looking at Yoga in an elementary school setting is very encouraging.

Finding methods and tools to help our children manage and learn from their stress and anxiety is very important

A study looking at the effects of a yoga and mindfulness program in an elementary school in Louisiana showed an improvement in emotional and psychological quality of life in children who participated in the yoga program versus those who did not. The study was conducted by Tulane University and published in Psychology Research and Behavior Management Journal.1

Study looked at the effects of a yoga and mindfulness program at an elementary school in Louisiana

The study included a small group of 20 third grade students. All students were screened and found to have symptoms of anxiety. The group participated in a yoga/mindfulness program for eight weeks and were reassessed. A control group was also included in the study. The program was found to be beneficial to the students participating and emotional and psychological quality of life factors were seen to improve compared to the control group. These are similar findings that have been found in adult populations suffering from anxiety.

Authors of the study advocate the use of such programs in elementary schools

The authors of the study advocate the use of such programs in elementary schools to help alleviate the stress and anxiety of some students.

37 million Americans now practice yoga, and it is strongly associated with positive self-image, calmness, lower anxiety, and increased focus

It is estimated that around 37 million Americans now practice yoga, and it is strongly associated with positive self-image, calmness, lower anxiety, and increased focus. The implementation of yoga, and other mindfulness practices in an elementary school setting could be monumental in teaching school aged children valuable skills that millions of adults wish they would have learned at an earlier age, and spend thousands of dollars every year to learn.

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Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Portland, OR and associate editor for NDNR. He has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine among the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend camp-out where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Four years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.

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