Several mind and body approaches, including relaxation techniques, yoga, tai chi, and meditation may be useful for managing symptoms of stress in your patients. For some stress-related conditions, mind and body approaches are used as an adjunct to other forms of treatment. This issue of the digest provides a summary of current evidence on some of these practices for stress and stress-related conditions.
Modality and Summary of Current Evidence
Relaxation techniques may be helpful in managing a variety of stress-related health conditions, including anxiety associated with ongoing health problems and in those who are having medical procedures. Evidence suggests that relaxation techniques may also provide some benefit on symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and may help reduce occupational stress in health care workers. For some of these conditions, relaxation techniques are used as an adjunct to other forms of treatment.
A range of research has examined the relationship between exercise and depression. Results from a much smaller body of research suggest that exercise may also affect stress and anxiety symptoms. Even less certain is the role of yoga, tai chi, and qi gong—for these and other psychological factors.
The scientific evidence to date suggests that mindfulness meditation—a mind-body practice which cultivates abilities to maintain focused and clear attention, and develop increased awareness of the present—may help reduce symptoms of stress, including anxiety and depression.