Research: YUNG and KELTNER,

Listed in Issue 20


YUNG and KELTNER, Department of Health Sciences, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong compared the efficacy of muscle versus cognitive relaxation procedures to reduce blood pressure.



30 borderline hypertensive patients were assigned to muscle tense release, muscle stretch release and cognitive relaxation procedures, placebo attention and test only control conditions. The groups were matched for pre-treatment systolic blood pressure, sex and age. The relaxation procedures were designed so as to be distinctive for each condition so that cognitive and muscle procedures were not confounded.


Both cognitive and muscle relaxation techniques were superior in reducing blood pressure compared to controls. The muscle tense release procedure was the most effective procedure.


These results dispute the common assumption that an amalgam of these two components (muscle tense and cognitive) is most effective and support previous results that muscularly oriented relaxation methods seem to be more effective in the treatment of somatic problems. The practical and theoretical significance of emphasising a muscle relaxation approach in clinical practice and in further studies is discussed.


Yung PM and Keltner AA. A controlled comparison on the effect of muscle and cognitive relaxation procedures on blood pressure: implications for the behavioural treatment of borderline hypertensives. Behav Res Ther 34(10): 8216. Oct 1996.

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