Tracy Dignum, BSc, MEd, MSc, Mindfulness Meditation Teacher/Researcher – A&P for Systemic Conditions: Tracy has been a practicing physiotherapist for over 20 years of experience in musculoskeletal and neurological clinical contexts. Her clinical practice has primarily involved orthopedic injuries and post-surgical interventions as well as neurological rehabilitation of individuals with stroke and cognitive impairment. She received her physiotherapy training at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.
Tracy began teaching at Capilano University in 2004, and while instructing anatomy and physiology to her students, she began exploring ways to optimize learning and retention. She completed a Master of Education degree in 2011 through Memorial University with research in this area and has provided many workshops and training sessions on optimizing instruction and memory, including a TEDx talk in 2013.
This inquiry revealed that mindful meditation is a highly effective approach to impact cognitive function. Tracy began to practice meditation and attended several retreats before travelling to Ireland in 2015 to complete intensive mindful meditation training through the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Centre for Mindfulness.
Realizing the potential of mindfulness, Tracy began to explore research relating it to her physiotherapy clinical practice. Finding little in terms of randomized clinical trials in this area, Tracy joined the Aging, Mobility and Cognitive Neurosciences lab at the University of British Columbia as a graduate student to conduct her research.
Tracy completed a clinical trial with individuals who had experienced a stroke and looked at physical and cognitive outcomes of combining mindful meditation with balance retraining physiotherapy programs, which provided early support for the feasibility of this combination of interventions. Her investigation also revealed the therapeutic potential of both tai chi and yoga for cognitive benefits, which confirmed Tracy’s beliefs as she has been practicing yoga for over a decade.