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Effect of Relaxation Therapies on Osteoarthritis
There are many types of relaxation therapies, and they use a variety of techniques. However, most of them share certain related features.
In a great many relaxation techniques, one begins by either lying down or assuming a relaxed, seated posture in a quiet place and closing the eyes. The next step differs depending on the method. In autogenic training, relaxation response, and certain forms of meditation, one focuses one’s mind on internal sensations, such as the breath. Guided-imagery techniques employ deliberate visualization of scenes or actions, such as walking on a quiet beach. Progressive relaxation techniques involve gradual relaxation of the muscles. Finally, some schools of meditation incorporate the repetition of a phrase or sound silently or aloud.
All of these techniques are best learned with the aid of a trained practitioner. The usual format is a group class supplemented by regular home practice. If you are diligent enough, experience suggests that you can develop the ability to call on a relaxed state at will, even in the middle of a very stressful situation.
Relaxation therapies seem to have shown promise in studies as a treatment for osteoarthritis (as referenced below). It is important to remember that different kinds of relaxation techniques can be more or less effective depending on the specific desires of each person.
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Research Evidence on Relaxation Therapies
The effect of relaxation therapies on osteoarthritis have not been studied exhaustively, but have been studied with promise.172
There are no known or proposed safety risks with relaxation therapies.
- Baird CL, Sands LP. Effect of guided imagery with relaxation on health-related quality of life in older women with osteoarthritis. Res Nurs Health. 2006 Sep 14. [Epub ahead of print]
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