Research: IRVIN and colleagues, Min

Listed in Issue 22


IRVIN and colleagues, Mind/Body Medical Institute, New England Deaconess Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston MA USA studied the efficacy of relaxation for the treatment of menopausal hot flushes and concurrent psychological symptoms.



33 women aged between 44 and 66 who were in general good health, with a minimum of 6 months without a menstrual period, experiencing at last 5 hot flushes per day and not using hormone replacement therapy participated in this randomised controlled prospective study, held in an outpatient clinic within a teaching hospital. The interventions used included relaxation response training and an attention-control group and daily symptom diary recording frequency and intensity of hot flushes. Measures for Anxiety and Mood Scale were also used. The women were randomly assigned to one of 3 groups: relaxation, reading or control for the 10-week study. The first 3 weeks of baseline measurement of frequency and intensity of hot flush symptoms and preintervention psychological scores were compared with the final 3 weeks' data.


The relaxation group demonstrated significant reductions in hot flush intensity, tension anxiety and depression. The reading group demonstrated significant reductions in trait anxiety and confusion bewilderment. The control group had no significant changes.


Daily relaxation practice resulted in significant reduction in hot flush intensity and the concurrent psychological symptoms of tension anxiety and depression.


Irvin JH et al. The effects of relaxation response training on menopausal symptoms. J Psychosom Obstet Gynaecol 17(4): 202-7. Dec 1996.

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