Relaxation Reduces Anxiety & Depression in Older Adults

Researchers from the National University of Singapore conducted a systematic review of the literature to determine the effects of relaxation interventions on anxiety and depression among older adults.

Their comprehensive literature search identified 15 published and non-published studies - 12 RCT's (randomized controlled trials) and three non-randomized controlled trials - undertaken between 1994-2014. Three reviewers selected studies, extracted data, and appraised the methodological quality.

The findings suggested that in most studies, older adults who received relaxation interventions experienced greater reductions in depression and anxiety than controls.

Progressive muscle relaxation training, music therapy, and yoga had the strongest effects on depression. Music, yoga, and combined relaxation training most effectively reduced anxiety symptoms among older adults.

Furthermore, the impact of some relaxation interventions remained in effect for between 14 and 24 weeks after administration.

The investigators conclude that this systematic review supported the positive effects of relaxation interventions on depression and anxiety among older adults. They suggest that health care providers may want to integrate relaxation interventions into standard care for older adults in community and hospital settings.

Citation: Klainin-Yobas P1, Oo WN, Suzanne Yew PY, Lau Y. Effects of relaxation interventions on depression and anxiety among older adults: a systematic review. Aging Mental Health. 2015;19(12):1043-55. doi: 10.1080/13607863.2014.997191. Epub 2015 Jan 9.

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