Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Tai Chi Relieve Insomnia

January 16, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. alleviate / əˈli viˌeɪt / (v.) – to relieve or lessen
Example: I bought medicine to alleviate my muscle pain. 

2. insomnia / ɪnˈsɒm ni ə / (n.) – inability to fall or stay asleep
Example: She suffers from insomnia every night.

3. inflammation / ɪn fləˈmeɪ ʃən / (n.) – redness or swelling of a body part
Example: You should have a doctor check the inflammation on your hand.

4. manifest / ˈmæn əˌfɛst / (v.) – to show or make obvious
Example: It takes time before a person manifests the symptoms of this disease.

5. vulnerable / ˈvʌl nər ə bəl / (adj.) – more likely to catch a disease or illness
Example: Patients who had surgery are more vulnerable to infections.


Read the text below.
A new study shows that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and tai chi may alleviate insomnia and inflammation in older people.

To combat these two conditions, the researchers turned to tai chi, a Chinese martial art that emphasizes breathing and relaxed body movements. In addition, they also used cognitive behavioral therapy, a type of psychotherapy wherein a doctor will talk to a patient in hopes of changing the patient’s way of thinking and behavior.

In the study, 123 people over the age of 55 who were suffering from insomnia were randomly divided into three groups that received equal time for CBT, tai chi, and a course about hygiene, aging, and insomnia respectively. Blood samples taken a year after the activities started revealed that the psychotherapy and martial art groups had less observable indicators of inflammation. On the other hand, the group that received a sleep and health course, or the study's control group, did not manifest any changes in the level of inflammation.

Also, the psychotherapy and martial art groups both experienced lessened insomnia but the psychotherapy group was more likely to experience remission—meaning the disappearance of almost all instances of insomnia.

Poor sleep and inflammation can lead to heart disease, stroke, and some cancers. Older people in particular are vulnerable to poor sleep. In fact, a separate study revealed that 36% of women and 13% of men older than 65 took 30 minutes or longer to fall asleep.

Dr. Jack Gardner, a neurologist not involved in the study looked into the possible reasons why insomnia is common in older people. Some of the reasons he mentioned include stress related to aging, taking medication, having to urinate frequently, and pain from arthritis.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What are possible causes of insomnia for people in your age group?
·         What are the common solutions to insomnia that you know of?

Discussion B

·         What are the other benefits of training in martial arts like tai chi?
·         Given the chance, would you like to train in martial arts? Why or why not?

January 16, 2016