Relaxation techniques are used in somatic medicine as well as in psychiatry. They have proved useful for the treatment of hypertension,*1, *2 bronchial asthma,*3, *4 insomnia,*5 for pain treatment,*6, *7 as the prevention and therapy of ischaemic heart disease,*8, *9, *10 in hyperactive children,*11 in gynaecology and obstetrics,*12, *13 for the treatment of migraine,*14 as a measure of prevention and mental hygiene.*15 After short periods of relaxation the decrease of blood pressure in patients with hypertension during twenty four hours was observed.*16 Relaxation, which may be induced by various techniques, represents the physiological opposite of stress, which causes and/or aggravates many diseases (Fig. 1).
That is why preventive application of relaxation techniques is desirable for people with stressful professions and people undergoing rapid social, economic or cultural changes. Without these measures various psychosomatic diseases (headache and indigestion) and other diseases can result.
Relaxation techniques are usually without side effects, and relief is often felt immediately after practice. They can be combined with pharmacotherapy and/or psychotherapy, and are not very demanding on therapist's time and training. Some factors influencing the effects of relaxation techniques are described in this paper.
Factors on therapist's part
Detailed analysis of the factors influencing the effects of relaxation techniques is neither usual or necessary when these techniques are applied routinely. But such analysis may be very useful when training does not progress well. Influencing factors explain why different results are achieved with the same technique, and should be considered when relaxation techniques are compared mutually.
Relaxation techniques are the important components of the treatment of various psychosomatic diseases, the idea that relaxation creates the bridge between somatic medicine and psychotherapy is correct.
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*2. Patel, C, North, W. R. S.: Randomised controlled trial of yoga and biofeedback in management of hypertension. Lancet, 2/7925, 1975, 93-95.
*3. Erskine-Milliss, J., Schonell, M.: Relaxation therapy in asthma: A critical review. Psychosomatic medicine, 43, 1981, No. 4, 365-372.
*4. Wilson, A. F., Honseberger, R., Chiu, J. T., Novey H. S.: Transcendental meditation and asthma. Respiration, 32, 1975. 74-80. -26-
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