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Keep Calm and Carry On

App-Review

Heal the body through mindfulness and relaxation.

By Deb Gulbrandson, PT, DPT

As physical therapists, we see the benefits that mindfulness brings to the rehabilitation process. Increased mental or emotional stress leads to increased physical stress, which leads to muscle tension and pain. Neuroscientists are discovering how mindfulness affects the brain, medical researchers are analyzing its health benefits, and social scientists are showing how it can change our lives and our society. Time magazine ran a cover story last February on the “Mindful Revolution.”

When going through relaxation exercises with patients, many ask if I will make a tape recording so that they can listen to it. Although I have never found the time, I have directed them to the vast array of resources available for purchase, but they usually do not follow through.

Now we have an “app for that.” Calm.com provides “a sanctuary in your pocket.” It offers seven free, short relaxation steps, including posture, breath, body, and practice. (Sounds like a physical therapy session, right?) The soothing voice and the background sounds of water combined with the relaxing scenes help remind us to slow down and appreciate the moment. The mission, on Calm.com’s Facebook page, is “To increase calm and mindfulness in an increasingly stressed-out world.”

Developed in 2012 for the iPhone, Calm.com is now available for the Android as well. Calm Pro Access is also available for a fee, but allows you to further delve into meditation, relaxation, and mindfulness. It received a 91 ranking.

I find it to be a great resource for patients who need cues to relax and breathe, and I often include the information as part of their home exercise program. Calm.com is not a bad way for us each to take a little mini vacation from the daily challenges of running our businesses. Once downloaded, the app will pop up weekly and ask you, “Ready for some calm?” I usually am.

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Deb Gulbrandson, PT, is an Impact board member and is a physical therapist and owner of Cary Physical Therapy in Cary, Illinois. She can reached at deb@caryphysicaltherapy.com.