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March 1977

Relaxation Therapy and High Blood Pressure

Author Affiliations

From the Laboratory for the Study of Behavioral Medicine and the Stanford Heart Disease Prevention Program. Dr Taylor is now at the University of Utah Medical Center, Salt Lake City.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1977;34(3):339-342. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1977.01770150097011

• Thirty-one patients receiving medical treatment for essential hypertension were randomly distributed into three groups: (1) relaxation therapy, (2) nonspecific therapy, and (3) medical treatment only. The nonspecific therapy group spent the same amount of time with the therapists as the relaxation group but was not given a specific therapy. Blood pressures were measured at a different time and in a different place from the behavioral treatments. The relaxation therapy group showed a significant reduction in blood pressure posttreatment compared with the nonspecific therapy and medical treatment only groups, even when those patients whose medication was increased were excluded from the data analysis. At follow-up six months posttreatment, the relaxation group showed a slight decrement in treatment effects, while both the nonspecific therapy and medical treatment only groups showed continued improvement; thus, there was not a significant difference between groups.

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