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15 Aug

A 1995 study published in the Journal of Holistic Nursing (vol.13: pp255-267) showed that postpartum depression in new mothers is alleviated by guided imagery. The research with 60 first-time mothers showed that those who practiced guided imagery during the first 4 weeks after giving birth had less anxiety and depression and more self-esteem and confidence than their counterparts who did not use guided imagery.

Citation: B. Rees. Effect of Relaxation with Guided Imagery on Anxiety, Depression and Self-Esteem in Primiparas. Journal of Holistic Nursing. 1995(Vol 13):255-67.

15 Aug

In a study at the Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston, Alice Domar and her team randomly assigned 184 women who had been trying to get pregnant for 1-2 years into 3 groups: a 10-session cognitive-behavioral group, a standard support group, or a routine care control group. They were followed for 1 year to see how many became pregnant. Sixty-four women discontinued participation in the study. A total of 47 women in the cognitive-behavioral group became pregnant, and 48 in the support group, as opposed to only 25 in the control group. Because these are statistically significant differences, the study concludes that group psychological interventions appear to lead to increased pregnancy rates in infertile women.

Citation: Domar AD, Clapp D, Slawsby EA, Dusek J, Kessel B, and Freizinger M. Impact of group psychological interventions on pregnancy rates in infertile women. Fertility and Sterility, 2000 Jul;74(1):190.

15 Aug

In a 1996 randomized, controlled pilot study by Irvin, Domar, Clark, Zuttermeister and Friedman at New England Deaconess in Boston, 33 menopausal women between 44-66 years old were assigned to either Relaxation Response training, a support group or a control group.

As many of you know, the Relaxation Response is a technique developed by Herbert Benson that simplifies the essence of ancient mantra and breathing meditation. You do some conscious breathing and repeat a calming word or phrase to yourself, like "Peace" or "All is well". It''s kind of a Meditation 101, and by keeping it simple, calling it "The Relaxation Response", and doing some outcome research with it, the wiley, practical Benson made it acceptable in corporate venues and other traditionally skeptical places ... to which we say, "GOOD FOR YOU, HERB!"

15 Aug

Dr. Paul G. Schauble and his colleagues at the University of Florida at Gainesville randomly assigned 42 pregnant teenagers to receive either counseling or four sessions of instruction in self-hypnosis for childbirth.

Teens in the hypnosis group learned deep relaxation and imagery techniques to help them cope with pain. They also received suggestions to help them respond to possible complications and boost their confidence in their ability to manage anxiety.
15 Aug

When Dr. Rogerio Lobo, Chair of Columbia Presbyterian''s Department of OBGYN, and Dr. Kwang Y. Cha, a researcher at Cha Hospital in Seoul, studied the effect of intercessory prayer on the pregnancy rates of 219 women, aged 26-46 years old, being treated with in vitro fertilization, they found that the prayed-for group had double the pregnancy rate (50% vs. 26%, P = .0013) and double the implantation rate (16.3% vs. 8%, P = .0005).

This was a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial, in which patients and providers were not informed about the intervention. Statisticians and investigators were masked until all the data had been collected and all the clinical outcomes were known. The setting was an IVF-ET program at Cha Hospital, Seoul, Korea. The intercessory prayer was carried out by prayer groups in the United States, Canada and Australia. The investigators were at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in the United States.

The study concludes that there was a statistically significant difference for the effect of intercessory prayer on the outcome of In Vitro Fertilization.

A nice write up of the study can be found here.

Citation: Cha KY, Wirth DP, Lobo RA. Does prayer influence the success of in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer? Journal of Reproductive Medicine. 2001 Sep; 46 (9): 781-7.

15 Aug

In a small Swedish pilot study at University Hospital of Linkoping, Sweden, six menopausal women were given relaxation training to see if it had any effect on hot flashes. The women were given “applied relaxation” training in 12 weekly group sessions. The women recorded the number of hot flashes they experienced for a full month before the intervention, through 6 months after. They were rated on menopausal symptoms (Kupperman Index), psychological well-being (Symptom Checklist), and MOOD scale were measured throughout the duration of the study. The six patients showed a mean reduction in hot flashes by a dramatic 73% (59%, 61%, 62%, 67%, 89% and 100% respectively). Scores on the Kupperman and Symptom checklist followed the improvement pattern of the hot flashes, but the MOOD scale was not affected.

Citation: Wijma K, Melin A, Nedstrand E, Hammar M. Treatment of Menopausal Symptoms with Applied Relaxation: A Pilot Study. Journal of Behavioral Therapy & Experimental Psychiatry, 1997, Dec; 28 (4): pp. 251-261.
15 Aug

A randomized comparison of psychological (cognitive behavior therapy), medical (fluoxetine) and combined treatment for women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

British researchers at Guy’s, King’s and St. Thomas Hospital Medical Schools randomly assigned 108 women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) to one of 3 treatment conditions: either 10 sessions of cognitive behavior therapy, or a daily dose of 20 mg of fluoxetine (Prozac), or a combination of both CBT and the anti-depressant, over the course of 6 months. At the one year follow-up, measures were taken using the Calendar of Premenstrual Experiences (COPE) and significant improvement was found in all three treatment-groups after 6 months'' treatment, assessed by the COPE. Fluoxetine was associated with a more rapid improvement, but CBT was associated with better maintenance of treatment effects. In conclusion, CBT and fluoxetine are equally effective treatments for PMDD, but in different ways. In spite of these differential benefits, however, this study did not find additional benefit by combining the treatments.

Citation: Hunter MS, Ussher JM, Browne SJ, Cariss M, Jelley R, Katz M. A randomized comparison of psychological (cognitive behavior therapy), medical (fluoxetine) and combined treatment for women with premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 2002, Sept; 23 (3): pp. 193-199.

15 Aug

The effects of imagery on attitudes and moods in multiple sclerosis patients.
15 Aug

Henry Dreher''s superb summary of research with mind-body interventions for surgery appears in the Fetzer Institute''s Advances in Mind-Body Medicine, Vol 14, no.3, Summer 1998, pp. 207-222. His discussion of Henry Bennett''s placebo controlled, double blinded research with 4 audio interventions on 335 surgery patients establishes that the Health Journeys tape for Surgery was the only tape that offered statistically significant results. The study yielded profound results on the reduction blood loss, length of hospital stay and anxiety levels, both state (the fluctuating kind) and trait anxiety (which presumably doesn''t change, because it is seen as a relatively stable personality feature). In fact, the Naparstek guided imagery tape was so potent, that Dreher devotes a whole section of this article to trying to figure out why it outperformed all the others.

Citation: Dreher H. Mind-body interventions for surgery: evidence and exigency. Advances In Mind Body Medicine 1998;14:207-222.

15 Aug

At Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, Ashton, Whitworth, et al found that patients who were taught self-hypnosis/relaxation techniques before undergoing first-time elective coronary artery bypass surgery were significantly more relaxed following the operation, as compared to a control group. They also used significantly less pain medication. Surgical outcomes were the same for both groups.

Citation: Ashton C Jr, Whitworth GC, et al. Self-hypnosis reduces anxiety following coronary artery bypass surgery. A prospective, randomized trial. J. Cardiovascular Surgery(Torino). 1997 Feb; 38(1): pp. 69-75.

15 Aug

The effects of guided imagery on comfort of women with early stage breast cancer undergoing radiation therapy.

Katherine Kolcaba, PhD, RN (U of Akron) and Christine Fox, PhD, (U of Toledo) found guided imagery to be an effective intervention for increasing comfort and reducing anxiety in 53 women with early stage breast cancer undergoing Radiation Therapy. The investigators designed and recorded imagery specifically for this study. Subjects were most likely to listen just before a treatment.

Citation: Kolcaba K, Fox C. The effects of guided imagery on comfort of women with early stage breast cancer undergoing radiation therapy. Oncol Nurs Forum. 1999 Jan-Feb; 26(1):67-72

15 Aug

Adjunctive non-pharmacological analgesic for invasive procedures: a randomized trial.