Relaxation training after stroke: Potential to reduce anxiety

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Disability and Rehabilitation, 2014, 36 (9), pp. 771 - 774
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Objective: To consider the feasibility of setting up a relaxation group to treat symptoms of post stroke anxiety in an in-patient post-acute setting; and to explore the effectiveness of relaxation training in reducing self-reported tension. Method: A relaxation group protocol was developed in consultation with a multidisciplinary team and a user group. Over a period of 24 months, 55 stroke patients attended group autogenic relaxation training on a rehabilitation ward. Attendance ranged between one and eleven sessions. Self-reported tension was assessed pre and post relaxation training using the Tension Rating Circles (TRCs). Results: The TRCs identified a significant reduction in self-reported tension from pre to post training, irrespective of the number of sessions attended; z=-3.656, p<0.001, r=-0.67, for those who attended multiple sessions, z=-2.758, p<0.01, r=-0.6 for those who attended a single session. Discussion: The routine use of relaxation techniques in treating anxiety in patients undergoing post-stroke rehabilitation shows potential. Self-reported tension decreased after attendance at relaxation training. The TRCs proved acceptable to group members, but should be validated against standard anxiety measures. Further exploration of the application of relaxation techniques in clinical practice is desirable.Implications for RehabilitationAnxiety is prevalent after stroke and likely affects rehabilitation outcomes.Relaxation training is a well proven treatment for anxiety in the non-stroke population.A significant within session reduction in tension, a hallmark symptom of anxiety, was evidenced via group relaxation training delivered in a post-acute, in-patient stroke unit setting.Relaxation training a shows promise as a treatment for anxiety after stroke. © 2014 Informa UK Ltd.
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