The Brain-Mind-Wellness Summer Institute (UCLA)

Event Brief

The courses emphasize both the scientific foundations and practical applications of methods that aim to enhance health, well-being, and creativity.

The Brain-Mind-Wellness (BMW) Summer Institute brings together experts from UCLA's world-renowned Center for East-West Medicine and the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior (including leaders from both the Mindful Awareness Research Center, and the Tennenbaum Family Center for the Biology of Creativity), to provide this unique integrative program under the aegis of the David Geffen School of Medicine. The BMW Summer Institute aims to engage students in a series of courses and experiences focused on bridging multiple disciplines to understand the links among brain, mind and wellness.  The courses emphasize both the scientific foundations and practical applications of methods that aim to enhance health, well-being, and creativity.  Explicitly trans disciplinary, the curriculum draws from practices that span the globe, and considers ancient traditions, current practices, and projected future developments.

The Brain-Mind-Wellness (BMW) Summer Institute provides a unique integrated experience across the three component courses that are the cornerstones of this program:

  • Mindfulness Practice and Theory
  • Personal Brain Management
  • Integrative East-West Medicine for Health and Wellness

While the three courses can be taken separately, there are strong aspects of integration and synergy of content across these courses that will endow students who participate in the entire BMW Summer Institute with a rich experience and training that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Mindfulness practice is one of the best-validated and practical methods by which the brain can modify its own functioning in a positive way. BMW Summer Institute students will learn not only the practices but also the theoretical background behind mindfulness practices in the Mindfulness Practice and Theory (MPT) course. Then the neuroscientific bases of these exciting practices will be examined further in the course Personal Brain Management (PBM); the PBM course will also survey research on mindfulness and how it effects brain structure, functions and neuroplasticity.  The core mindfulness practices are taught in a secular way in the MPT course, yet these practices derive from ancient methods that were cultivated and refined in Asian religious, philosophical, and medical systems. The core principles of traditional Chinese medicine that are linked to mindfulness practices will be reviewed in the companion course Integrative East/West Medicine (IEWM).

The Personal Brain Management (PBM) curriculum and experiential training exercises consider a range of methods (including mindfulness practices and traditional Chinese medicine practices) for managing brain functions, and systematically review evidence about the brain mechanisms through which these practices are currently thought to exert their effects.  A key element of this is appreciating the links of the brain with other bodily (visceral and autonomic) functions, and the burgeoning empirical research literature identifies clear links to a host of neuroendocrine and psychoneuroimmunolgical processes that may mediate these links, forging a link between traditional Chinese medicine and Western biomedical and neurosciences.

Integrative East-West Medicine for Health and Wellness is designed to provide an overarching introduction to integrative medicine, of which Mind-Body medicine is an important component.  Students will learn the theoretical underpinnings, scientific studies, and clinical applications of integrative medicine, particularly the diagnostic and therapeutic modalities originated from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Special emphasis will be placed on the role of integrative East-West medicine in prevention and health cultivation; herbs and nutritional supplements; maintaining a healthy immune system and reducing inflammation and stress; pain management using acupuncture, acupressure, massage and other self-help techniques.  Hands-on practice and clinical site visits will be incorporated.

The BMW Summer Institute It is open to undergraduate and graduate students, and offers upper division credit.  Open to all disciplines, it may be particularly appealing to those with an academic focus in Medicine, Psychology, Life Sciences, or Public Health.

Register Online UCLA students / Visiting students

More information at UCLA Summer Institutes

Image courtesy of Paul Thompson, LONI, UCLA

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