Relaxation Therapy

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What is it?

Relaxation therapy is a behavioral therapy used to relieve psychological stress and fatigue. It can be guided by a therapist or trainer or practiced alone.

Stress might increase nervous system activity, which could have a negative effect on certain conditions. Relaxation therapy might decrease nervous system activity, slow heart rate, lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and improve mood in people with certain conditions.

People use relaxation therapy for stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression, chest pain, headache, fibromyalgia, and many other purposes, but there is no good scientific evidence to support many of these uses.

Don’t confuse relaxation therapy with guided imagery, mantra meditation, mindfulness, tai chi, or yoga. These are not the same.

It is effective?
Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

Possibly Effective for …

  • Chest pain (angina). Relaxation therapy seems to reduce how often people with angina have chest pain. It might also improve their ability to exercise.
  • Anxiety. Relaxation therapy might somewhat reduce anxiety. But it might not work as well as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or meditation.
  • Depression. Relaxation therapy seems to reduce symptoms of depression in some people. But it doesn’t seem to work as well as other treatments, such as CBT.
  • A type of persistent anxiety marked by exaggerated worry and tension (generalized anxiety disorder or GAD). Relaxation therapy seems to reduce symptoms of GAD, and it seems to work as well as CBT.
  • High blood pressure. Relaxation therapy seems to reduce blood pressure by a small amount in people with high blood pressure.

There is interest in using relaxation therapy for a number of other purposes, but there isn’t enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.

Is there concern for the safety of its use?
Relaxation therapy is likely safe. There are no known safety concerns.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy: Relaxation therapy is likely safe to use while pregnant. There are no known safety concerns.

Breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if relaxation therapy is safe to use when breast-feeding. But there’s no reason to expect safety concerns.

Are there any drug interactions?
It is not known if this treatment interacts with any medicines. Before using this treatment, talk with your health professional if you take any medications.

Are there any interactions with herbs and supplements?
There are no known interactions with herbs and supplements.

Are there any interactions with food?
There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?
Relaxation therapy uses a variety of methods to achieve relaxation, including imagery, breathing exercises, focused muscle tensing and relaxing, and others. It’s often combined with other practices, including guided imagery and biofeedback. It can be practiced alone or with a therapist or trainer. Talk to your physician or other healthcare professional to learn more about how relaxation therapy is used for specific conditions.

By what other names is the product known?
Abbreviated Muscle Relaxation Therapy, Applied Relaxation, Relaxation Appliquée, Relaxation Training, Relaxation Treatment, RT, Terapia de Relajación, Therapeutic Relaxation, Thérapie de Relaxation, Traitement de Relaxation.

Information on this website is for informational use only and is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. While evidence-based, it is not guaranteed to be error-free and is not intended to meet any particular user’s needs or requirements or to cover all possible uses, safety concerns, interactions, outcomes, or adverse effects. Always check with your doctor or other medical professional before making healthcare decisions (including taking any medication) and do not delay or disregard seeking medical advice or treatment based on any information displayed on this website.

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