Research: STENSTROM and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 20


STENSTROM and colleagues, Department of Rheumatology, Malarsjukhuset, Eskilstuna, Sweden compared dynamic training versus muscle relaxation for patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases.



54 patients, mean age of 54 years, mean symptom duration 14 years were randomised to either a dynamic training programme or a muscle relaxation training programme for home use. Following personal instructions, each patient exercised at home for 30 minutes, 5 days per week for 3 months. Prior to and following the interventions, all patients were assessed for health-related quality of life, joint tenderness and physical capacities.


The dynamic training group improved in perceived exertion at the walking test and the relaxation training group had improved their total Nottingham Health Profile, its subscale for lack of energy, Ritchie's articular index, muscle function of lower extremities and arm endurance. There was a significant difference between the groups in favour of the relaxation training group regarding changes in muscle function of the lower extremities.


These results indicate that progressive relaxation training may improve health-related quality of life, reduce joint tenderness and be superior to dynamic muscle training to improve muscle function of the lower extremities in patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases. Because the clinical effects were small, the results must be interpreted with caution.


Stenstrom CH et al. Dynamic training versus relaxation training as home exercise for patients with inflammatory rheumatic diseases. A randomized controlled study. Scan J Rheumatol 25(1): 2833. 1996.


It is incredibly heartening to read of the wide ranging array of research to which relaxation and hypnosis is being applied.

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