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E. Body Awareness Strategies Help Patients with Back Pain

Narrator: This is Science Today. Preliminary data from a small study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco has found that a western mind-body therapy, called breath therapy, which integrates body awareness, breathing, meditation and movement, may help ease chronic lower back pain. Dr. Wolf Mehling of the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine says one of main concepts behind breath therapy is body awareness.

Mehling: Body awareness is not an entity in our medical teachings, so the word that comes closest to body awareness in our medical systems is called proprioception, where it's the self-perception of your body, how the angles of your joints are, how you feel your muscles.

Narrator: Mehling says patients in the trial either received physical therapy or breath therapy for their chronic lower back pain. Both groups improved but the breath therapy group in particular experienced a different attitude and coping style.

Mehling: It seemed like they had a new learning step that they made, which was not so much the case in the physical therapy group.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.