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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Brain Fitness

Is what's good for the body, good for the mind?

Instead of a conventional spa, you could give yourself a different kind of treat: a spa for your brain, at Sarasota, Florida's Neurobics Club.

The Neurobics Club is part of a new trend in wellness intended to treat the whole person. Instead of seaweed facials, guests at the Neurobics Club have access to computer programs to stimulate their brains and help them regain some of their mental sharpness.

Interest in brain fitness is growing as Baby Boomers hit the 60-year-old mark and come face-to-face with slowing brain function. The US brain fitness software market is estimated to have grown from $100 million in 2005 to $225 million in 2007, according to a report called The State of the Brain Fitness Software Market 2008, published by SharpBrains in March 2008.

In order to stimulate aging brains, the Neurobics Spa uses tools such as flotation tanks to shut out stimulation and computer stations to tease out cognitive skills like critical thinking and memory.

So how to distinguish between snake oil, and a legit health trend?

SharpBrains offers a good definition of brain fitness: the general state of feeling alert, in control, productive, especially as the result of mental and physical exercise and proper nutrition, according to its website.

Neither SharpBrains nor Neurobics Spa can show the treatments actually improve performance. What is known is this: The best way to keep your mind healthy is to keep your body healthy. That's something any of us in the wellness industry can agree on.

But Wellness coaching companies are beginning to pay attention. We recognize that wellness is about the whole body, and that means brain health, too.

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