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News Release

Feb. 21, 2019

Health science faculty publish article about reducing stress with yoga

By Tara Garcia, communication assistant

Dr. Rhonda Beemer

Dr. Rhonda Beemer

Dr. Alisha Francis

Dr. Alisha Francis

Faculty in Northwest Missouri State University’s School of Health Science and Wellness recently published article in Complementary Therapies in Medicine, titled “How Does Yoga Reduce Stress? Embodied Cognition and Emotion Highlight the Influence of the Musculoskeletal System.”

The paper authored by Dr. Alisha Francis, associate professor and assistant director of the School of Health Science and Wellness, and Dr. Rhonda Beemer, assistant professor of health science and wellness, encourages systematic research related to yoga, stress and musculoskeletal activity from a theoretical perspective.

“We know that yoga is popular and that research in our respective disciplines can help people understand the benefits,” Francis said. “Our purpose was to help connect the popular interest with scholarly perspectives.”

Beemer said, “I teach anatomy and physiology and I am certified athletic trainer. With my musculoskeletal knowledge, it seemed like a good fit to contribute.”

The paper combines Beemer’s physiology knowledge with Francis’s expertise in psychological practices and theories.

“It was definitely a fun learning experience,” Beemer said. “We met throughout the summer to organize this material and we had a fun working relationship.”

Francis said, “Working with Dr. Beemer helped expand my knowledge about the musculoskeletal effects of yoga and provided a number of insights about the different perspectives that come from our respective disciplines.”

Francis joined the Northwest faculty in 2006 and her academic interests include issues related to workplace stress, in addition to being a certified yoga instructor. She earned her Ph.D. in organizational psychology from St. Louis University and a bachelor’s degree in psychology and business administration from Stephens College.

Beemer joined the Northwest faculty in 2015. Her academic interests include community health and wellness, athletic training and incorporating experiential education in student education. She is a certified athletic trainer from the Board of Certification and an ACE certified health coach. She earned her Ph.D. in administration and teaching in human performance from the University of Southern Mississippi, a master’s in physical education from Eastern Kentucky University and a bachelor’s in exercise sciences with an emphasis in athletic training, and health and fitness from Missouri Valley College.


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