Researchers from the Technion in Haifa, Israel conducted a pilot study to assess the efficacy of relaxation and guided imagery in reducing motor fluctuation in patients with Parkinsons Disease.
 
PD patients underwent (i) a relaxation session with relaxation guided imagery, and (ii) a control session of relaxing music. Twenty one PD patients participated and 19 completed this study.

Three-day diaries were completed at baseline and after each intervention. Subsequently, patients received CDs for home listening - a relaxation guided imagery disc and a relaxing music disc. After three months the patients were interviewed by phone.

There was a significant increase in the percent of "on" time after listening to the relaxation guided imagery disc as compared with baseline (from 47.7% to 62.8%, 95% CI 5.26-25.03, p = 0.005).
 
Relaxing music caused no significant change in percent of "on" time from baseline (from 47.7% to 53.0%, p = 0.161).
 
Although all sessions were performed in "on" state, there was a significant decrease in UPDRS motor subscores after each of the two sessions as compared with the UPDRS score before the session.
 
This effect was significantly greater (p = 0.020). with the relaxation guided imagery than with the relaxing music.  (Relaxation guided imagery mean reduction -3.81 p = 0.0002 and after relaxing music mean reduction -1.95, p = 0.001).

After 3 months of listening to the relaxation guided imagery disc, "on" time was increased from baseline by 12.6% (95% CI 3.19-28.39, p = 0.111) but this did not reach statistical significance.

The researchers conclude that relaxation guided imagery is a promising treatment for PD.

Citation:  Schlesinger I1, Benyakov O2, Erikh I3, Nassar M3. Relaxation guided imagery reduces motor fluctuations in Parkinson's disease. Journal of Parkinsons Disease. 2014 Jan 1;4 (3): pages 431-6..