Researchers from the University of Minnesota enrolled 20
solid-organ transplant recipients in an 8-week course of
mindfulness-based stress reduction training and a gentle form of hatha
yoga. Subjects were also given audiotapes for home practice and
maintained practice diaries to track their participation.
At 6 months data was analyzed for impact on symptom management, illness
intrusion and transplant-related stressors. Significant improvements
were found in the quality and duration of sleep, and on self-reported
measures of anxiety and depression.
Researchers from Sweden’s Uppsala University demonstrate in a randomized, clinical trial that annoyance from tinnitus (ringing in the ears) can be significantly reduced through cognitive behavioral therapy that is delivered to subjects through the Internet.
Tiller, McCraty and Atkinson of the Institute of HeartMath found that subjects who were trained to use a heart-focused stress-reduction technique that shifted their attention away from stress and toward their hearts, while focusing on feelings of love, caring and appreciation, showed evidence of increased cardiac coherence and stability. This supports the imagery methodology we''ve been using on many of our tapes.
Citation: Tiller WA, McCraty R, Atkinson M. Cardiac coherence: a new, noninvasive measure of autonomic nervous system order. Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine. 1996 Jan;2(1):52-65.
Stress management and exercise training in cardiac patients with myocardial ischemia: effects on prognosis and evaluation of mechanisms.
A placebo controlled, randomized study by J.A. Blumenthal et al, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 1997; 157: 2213-2223, (called Stress Management and Exercise Training in Cardiac Patients with Myocardial Ischemia: Effects on Prognosis and Evaluation of Mechanisms) showed that teaching stress reduction techniques to cardiac patients reduced their risk of having further heart problems by a whopping 75%. Of 107 patients, 40 received standard medical care; 34 additionally engaged in vigorous exercise for 35 minutes, 3 times a week for 16 weeks; and 33 additionally were given weekly group sessions where they learned relaxation and stress reduction techniques (education, progressive muscle relaxation, biofeedback, thought-stopping, anger management). Results: 30% of the standard care group had additional heart problems; 21% in the exercise group; and only 10% in the stress management group.
Citation: Blumenthal JA, et al. Stress management and exercise training in cardiac patients with myocardial ischemia: effects on prognosis and evaluation of mechanisms. Archives of Internal Medicine. 1997(157):2213-2223.
Williams, Kolar, Reger and Pearson from the Department of Community Medicine, West Virginia University, ran clinical trials to see whether an 8-week, group-facilitated, Jon Kabat-Zinn-styled, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program could decrease daily stress and medical symptoms in 103 adults. (See our Practitioners We Love page for more about Jon K-Z.)
A controlled pilot study of stress management training of elderly patients with congestive heart failure.
Researchers at the Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention evaluated the effects of stress management on the quality of life, functional capacity, and heart rate variability in a pilot study of 33 elderly patients with New York Heart Association class I-III congestive heart failure. Subjects were randomized to one of two treatment groups or a wait-listed control group. The 14 participants who completed the treatment attended eight training sessions during a 10-week period. The training consisted of 75-minute sessions adapted from the Freeze-Frame stress management program developed by the Institute of HeartMath. (This is a very simple and easy to use formula for stress relief, using relaxation and imagery.) Subjects were assessed at baseline and again at the completion of the training. Depression, stress management, optimism, anxiety, emotional distress, and functional capacity were evaluated, as well as heart rate variability. Significant improvements (p<0.05) were noted in perceived stress, emotional distress, 6-minute walk, and depression, and positive trends were noted in each of the other psychosocial measures. The 24-hour heart rate variability showed no significant changes in autonomic tone. The authors noted that CHF patients were willing study participants and their emotional coping and functional capacity were enhanced. They concluded that this program offered a simple and cost-effective way to augment medical management of CHF. Given the incompleteness of CHF medical management and the exploding interest in complementary medical intervention, they recommended that further work in psychosocial treatment be undertaken.
Citation: Luskin F, Reitz M, Newell K, Quinn TG, Haskell W. A controlled pilot study of stress management training of elderly patients with congestive heart failure. Preventive Cardiology 2002 Fall; Issue 5 (Volume 4): pp. 168-72.
Cognitive behavioral stress management effects on injury and illness among competitive athletes: a randomized clinical trial.
In previous research, cognitive behavioral stress management (CBSM) has been found to reduce fatigue, depression, and cortisol response to heavy exercise training among competitive collegiate athletes, and to speed physical and psychological recovery from surgery. This study assessed the efficacy of a CBSM program to reduce the frequency of injury and illness among competitive, collegiate rowers in a randomized, single-blind, controlled clinical trial. A multi-disciplinary team of researchers from the Division of Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine, the Department of Psychology, University of Miami, and the Department of Exercise Physiology, West Virginia University collaborated on this study. Following the assessment of baseline medical history, mood state, stress, cortisol, sleep, alcohol use, and exercise training, collegiate rowers were stratified by gender and competitive level, and randomly assigned to either a control group or a CBSM group. Exercise training information and psychosocial assessments were repeated immediately following the intervention period. Health care providers who were blinded to whether the participant was in the intervention group or the control group recorded the frequency of medical visits and the number of days the athlete was either injured or ill throughout the season. The study found that athletes randomly assigned to a CBSM group experienced significant reductions in the number of illness and injury days, as compared to control group athletes. CBSM participants also had half the number of health service visits as did controls. The data suggest that a time-limited CBSM intervention designed specifically for an athlete population may be an effective prophylactic treatment to reduce the incidence of injury and illness among competitive collegiate athletes.
Citation: Perna FM, Antoni MH, Baum A, Gordon P, Schneiderman N. Cognitive behavioral stress management effects on injury and illness among competitive athletes: a randomized clinical trial. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 2003 Winter; 25 (1): pp. 66-73.
A survey of the emergence of stress symptoms in U.S. citizens since the terror attacks of September 11th showed that 44% of adults reported at least one substantial new symptom; 68% reported the emergence of at least one moderate symptom; and 90% a more minor symptom. Reactions varied by sex, race/ethnicity, presence or absence of prior emotional problems, distance from the locus of the attack and by region of the country. Rates of stress were higher with women, nonwhites; in people with previous psychological problems and in people closest to New York City. Stress levels were also associated with extent of television viewing immediately following the attacks. People most typically responded to their upset by turning to religion, turning to one another for support, checking on the safety of others, talking about their thoughts and feelings, participating in vigils and other community rituals, and making donations and doing charitable acts. Some found that to stop watching TV was helpful.
B. Bledsoe, a researcher from the Department of Emergency Medicine at The University of North Texas Health Sciences Center in Fort Worth reviewed the literature and analyzed the results of various studies of Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), a method of debriefing survivors or emergency responders involved in traumatizing events, in common use since 1983. The focus for the review was to look at findings related to the efficacy and safety of CISM.
Stress reactivity to and recovery from a standardised exercise bout: a study of 31 runners practising relaxation techniques.
Researchers at Ulleval University Hospital in Oslo, Norway, compared the value different kinds of relaxation techniques for improving post-exercise muscle pain in adult, male runners over a 6 month period. Thirty-one runners were divided up into 3 groups: a meditation group (n = 11); an autogenic training group (a simple self-hypnosis technique similar to the Relaxation Response) (n = 11) and a control group (n = 10). Before and after the six months relaxation training, measures of reactivity to exercise were taken immediately after and 10 minutes after exercise, as well as indicators of metabolic activity (blood lactate concentration, heart rate (HR), and oxygen consumption (VO2)). Resting heart rate was also assessed weekly at home during the trial. State anxiety was measured before and after the training period. Investigators found that after the relaxation training, post-exercise blood lactate concentration - a key factor in post exercise muscle pain - was significantly decreased in the meditation group (p<0.01) as compared with the control group. No difference was observed in lactate responses between the autogenic training group and the control group. There were no significant differences among the groups with regard to heart rate, oxygen consumption, or levels of anxiety. The study tentatively concludes that meditation training may reduce the lactate response to a standardized exercise bout.
Citation: Solberg EE, Ingjer F, Holen A, Sundgot-Borgen J, Nilsson S, Holme I. Stress reactivity to and recovery from a standardised exercise bout: a study of 31 runners practising relaxation techniques. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2000 Aug;34(4): pp. 268-72. firstname.lastname@example.org