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Effects of applied relaxation on vasomotor symptoms in postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled trial

Lindh-Åstrand, Lotta RN, PhD; Nedstrand, Elizabeth MD, PhD

doi: 10.1097/gme.0b013e318272ce80
Original Articles
Editorial

Objective: This work aimed to study the efficacy of group therapy with applied relaxation on vasomotor symptoms and health-related quality of life in postmenopausal women.

Methods: In this open, randomized controlled trial, 60 healthy postmenopausal women with at least seven moderate to severe hot flashes per 24 hours were randomized to either group therapy with applied relaxation (n = 33) or untreated control group (n = 27) for 12 weeks. A follow-up visit was scheduled 3 months after the end of therapy or participation in the control group. Salivary cortisol was measured three times during a 6-month period. Hot flashes were recorded in self-registered diaries, and health-related quality of life was assessed with the Women’s Health Questionnaire.

Results: The number of hot flashes decreased by 5.0 per 24 hours in the applied relaxation group compared with 1.9 in the control group on the 12th week (P < 0.001) and still remained at the same level at the 3-month follow-up (P < 0.001). Health-related quality of life for vasomotor symptoms, sleep, and memory improved significantly on the 12th week measurement in the applied relaxation group compared with the control group. Salivary cortisol concentration was lowered markedly in the applied relaxation group on a single measurement but was otherwise mainly stable in both groups.

Conclusions: Applied relaxation can be used to treat vasomotor symptoms in healthy postmenopausal women.

From the Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden; and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Linköping, County Council of Östergötland, Linköping, Sweden.

Received June 20, 2012; revised and accepted September 4, 2012.

ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01488864.

Funding/support: This study was supported by grants from the County Council of Östergötland, Swedish Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics.

Financial disclosure/conflicts of interest: None reported.

Address correspondence to: Lotta Lindh-Åstrand, RN, PhD, Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, S-581 85 Linköping, Sweden. E-mail: Lotta.lind.astrand@lio.se

© 2013 by The North American Menopause Society.