Effects of Relaxation techniques on stress and Anxiety
Some research demonstrates that various types of relaxation techniques are effective, some more so than others for specific difficulties. In randomized scientific trials, Guided relaxation groups reported substantially higher levels of calm than did control groups. A clear trend was seen across all psychological variables for both foot massage (reflexology) and, to a lesser extent, guided relaxation, to improve psychological well-being. Such research suggests that these interventions appear to be effective, noninvasive techniques for promoting physical and psychological well being
Other randomized scientific research demonstrates that relaxation training showed a medium-large efficacy in the treatment of anxiety. Efficacy was higher for meditation, among volunteers and for longer treatments. The results show consistent and significant efficacy of relaxation training in reducing anxiety. All techniques considered show a good potential in the reduction of anxiety. Applied relaxation and meditation in particular, demonstrate very high effectiveness.
Medication Vs CBT & Relaxation Techniques
Much research demonstrates that benzodiazepines (BDZs) provide fast initial relief of anxiety symptoms, but evidence suggests that their effects do not differ significantly from those obtained with a placebo after 4 to 6 weeks of treatment. Also, BDZs primarily reduce somatic symptoms more than psychic symptoms (i.e. apprehension, dread, worry),
In studies involving head-to-head comparisons, medication tends to initially relieve symptoms faster than CBT, but the benefits end once patients stop taking the drug. In contrast, the benefits of CBT become more apparent with time. For example, one study compared CBT alone with the combination of CBT and zolpidem (non-benzodiazepine hypnotic). At the six-week mark, patients in both groups improved, but those who received combination treatment improved faster, sleeping an average of 20 minutes longer per night than those assigned to CBT alone. However, in the second, longer-term phase of the study, benefits of drug therapy faded. After initially receiving combination therapy, patients were randomized to maintenance therapy with CBT alone or continued combination therapy (CBT and zolpidem). At the six-month mark, 68% of the patients receiving only maintenance CBT achieved remission, significantly more than the 42% receiving combination therapy.
Medication does produce a quicker initial response, however, relaxation exercises as part of CBT show better response in the long run. In fact some research demonstrates that the superior initial results of CBT plus medication have larger relapse rate and are not superior to placebo alone at 6 month follow up. More specifically, at 9 month follow-up, only 15 % of individuals treated with CBT alone had relapse. While the relapse rate for those treated only with medication was 40%, and 53% for those treated only with relaxation exercises.
So, to sum up, CBT, (which includes relaxation techniques), is as effective as medication and seems to have a longer lasting effect in treating anxiety.
The biggest obstacle to successful treatment with CBT and relaxation techniques, is commitment. Having said that, are you ready to commit to having better quality of life?!
If so, contact to me today to schedule your first free 30 min evaluation.
Until next week ……. stay tuned!