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January 1980

Muscle Biofeedback and Transcendental Meditation: A Controlled Evaluation of Efficacy in the Treatment of Chronic Anxiety

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1980;37(1):93-97. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1980.01780140095011

• Recent articles have suggested that muscle biofeedback and transcendental meditation may be useful in treating chronic anxiety. To assess this, we conducted a controlled study comparing muscle biofeedback, transcendental meditation, and relaxation therapy. The study consisted of a six-week baseline period, six weeks of treatment, a six-week posttreatment observation period, and later follow-up. Thirty-one subjects completed the first part of the study and have been followed up for three to 18 months. Forty percent of the subjects had a clinically significant decrease in their anxiety. There were no differences between treatments with respect to treatment efficacy, onset of symptom amelioration, or maintenance of therapeutic gains. We found no evidence suggesting that the degree of muscle relaxation induced by any of the treatments is related to the therapeutic outcome. Relaxation therapies as a sole treatment appear to have a limited place in the treatment of chronic anxiety.