Investigators from the Department of Gastroenterology at Shaare Zedek Medical Center and the Hebrew University School of Medicine in Jerusalem conducted a randomized, controlled trial with 56 outpatients suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) to see if relaxation training could improve their quality of life.
Subjects were randomly assigned to a treatment group or a waiting-list control group. Treatment group patients attended three relaxation-training sessions and received an audio disc for home practice.
Pre- and post-treatment measures were taken of anxiety with the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory, and Quality of Life was measured with the IBD Questionnaire. The Visual Analogue Scale assessed pain, depression, stress and mood. Patients also completed a symptom monitoring diary. The control group's symptoms were monitored without study-related treatment.
Thirty-nine subjects completed the study and were included in the data analysis. Following the relaxation-training intervention, the treatment group's (n = 18) measured results showed a statistically significant improvement as compared to the control group (n = 21): anxiety levels decreased (p < 0.01), QoL and mood improved (p < 0.05), while levels of pain and stress decreased (p < 0.01).
The researchers summarized their findings as indicating that IBD patients may benefit from relaxation training, and that further investigation is warranted.