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A within-subject comparison of different relaxation therapies in eliciting physiological and psychological changes in young women

Dib, S; Wells, JCK; Fewtrell, M; (2020) A within-subject comparison of different relaxation therapies in eliciting physiological and psychological changes in young women. PeerJ , 8 , Article e9217. 10.7717/peerj.9217. Green open access

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Abstract

Background. Stress reactivity can be different in women compared to men, which might consequently influence disease risk. Stress in women may also generate adverse physiological effects on their offspring during pregnancy or lactation. The objective of this study was to compare the effects of different relaxation interventions on physiological outcomes and perceived relaxation in healthy young women, to assist in identifying the most appropriate intervention(s) for use in a subsequent trial for mothers who deliver prematurely. Methods. A within-subject study was conducted in 17 women of reproductive age comparing five different relaxation interventions (guided-imagery meditation audio (GIM), music listening (ML), relaxation lighting (RL), GIM+RL, ML+RL), with control (silence/sitting), assigned in random order over a 3–6 week period. Subjective feelings of relaxation (10-point scale), heart rate (HR), systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP, DBP), and fingertip temperature (FT) were measured before and after each technique Results. All interventions significantly increased perceived relaxation and FT, while music also significantly reduced SBP (p < 0.05). Compared to control, HR significantly decreased following GIM (mean difference = 3.2 bpm, p < 0.05), and FT increased (mean difference = 2.2 ◦C, p < 0.05) and SBP decreased (mean difference = 3.3 mmHg, p < 0.01) following ML. GIM + RL followed by GIM were the most preferred interventions. Conclusions. Based on preference, simplicity, and the physiological and psychological effects, GIM and ML were identified as the most effective tools for reducing stress and improving relaxation. These techniques warrant further research in larger samples and other populations.

Type: Article
Title: A within-subject comparison of different relaxation therapies in eliciting physiological and psychological changes in young women
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.7717/peerj.9217
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.9217
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.
Keywords: Stress, Anxiety, Relaxation therapy, Women’s health, Pregnancy, Lactation, Meditation, Light therapy, Music therapy
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Population, Policy and Practice Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10100926
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