Akesó Lab

Akesó, daughter of Epione and Asklepiós, was the Greek goddess of the healing process. The mission of Akesó Laboratory is to provide precise patient-treatment matching of adaptive mind-body interventions for people living with spinal pain. Ultimately, we intend to refine the content and delivery of somatically focused, and neuroscientific-based mind-body training practices to promote valued activity engagement and cultivate eudaimonic wellbeing.

Current Lab Members

Nicholas Karayannis

Nicholas Karayannis, MPT, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy
Principal Investigator

Anthony Yamnitsky

Anthony Yamnitsky, SDPT

Graduate Assistant

Elizabeth Hinkle

Elizabeth Hinkle, SDPT

Graduate Assistant

Current Research Projects

Dr. Nicholas Karayannis looks at a patient's back while they lay face-down on a medical table for Project AdaPT

Project AdaPT

A pilot clinical study that is investigating guideline-based Physical Therapy (PT) care for people with chronic low back pain. This study is testing the feasibility of an adaptive intervention model, which provides different treatment pathways for people who are not responding to their initial treatment.

One of these care pathways is augmenting PT with the Healthy Minds Program (HMP). The Healthy Minds program is a self-guided, app-delivered intervention that offers podcast-style lessons on the science of wellbeing in addition to guided meditations to cultivate awareness, insight, connection, and purpose.

The second care pathway is augmenting PT+HMP with a Tai Chi program for those individuals who are not initially responding to PT+HMP.

Laboratory measures include trunk motion analysis (captured with 3D motion capture technology), quantitative sensory testing of pressure and thermal pain threshold and tolerance, and actigraphy.


A man holds a warrior 1 pose in a yoga studio, while wearing a helmet

Project Soma

A pilot experimental study that is investigating brain cortical activity responses, measured using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), during the engagement in different forms of focused awareness meditation practices. One of these meditations involves a brief 'body scan' practice, and the other meditation involves a brief Yoga practice.

This study is recruiting healthy adults with Yoga experience. We are further testing the relationship between pressure pain tolerance (measured with algometry) with self-reported measures of interoception (sensing of internal bodily sensations) and awareness (mindfulness).

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