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Relaxation Response Improves Immune Function, Quality of Life, in the Elderly

04 Dec

Researchers from the University of Alicante in Alicante, Spain, performed a randomized controlled study to evaluate the impact of the Relaxation Response on enhancing the psychological well-being and modulating the immune responses of elderly people living in a residential facility when compared to a waitlist control group.

The study included a 2-week intervention period and a 3-month follow-up period. The main outcome variables were psychological well-being and quality of life, biomedical variables, and immune changes from the pre-treatment to post-treatment and follow-up periods.

The findings revealed significant differences between the experimental and control groups in CD19, CD71, CD97, CD134, and CD137 lymphocyte subpopulations at the end of treatment. Further, there was a decrease in negative moof, psychological discomfort, and symptom perception in the treatment group. Quality of life scores were increased at the three-month follow-up.

Application of a passive relaxation technique in residential programs for the elderly appears to be effective at enhancing psychological well-being and modulating immune activity in a group of elderly people in a residential facility. This relaxation technique could be considered an option for achieving health benefits with a low cost for residential programs, but further studies using this technique in larger samples of older people are needed to confirm the trends observed in this study.

Citation: Reig-Ferrer A1, Ferrer-Cascales R, Santos-Ruiz A, Campos-Ferrer A, Prieto-Seva A, Velasco-Ruiz I, Fernandez-Pascual MD, Albaladejo-Blazquez N. A relaxation technique enhances psychological well-being and immune parameters in elderly people from a nursing home: a randomized controlled study. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Aug 23;14:311. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-311. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award.