Progressive muscle relaxation in persons with schizophrenia: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials

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Objective:The aim of this systematic review was to assess the effectiveness of progressive muscle relaxation on psychological distress and anxiety symptoms and on response/remission for people with schizophrenia.Methods:Randomized controlled trials were considered if they investigated progressive muscle relaxation in patients with schizophrenia. EMBASE, PsycINFO, PubMed, ISI Web of Science, CINAHL, PEDro and Cochrane Library were searched. The selection of studies, data extraction and quality assessment were performed independently by two reviewers.Results:Three randomized controlled trials involving 146 patients met the inclusion criteria. Progressive muscle relaxation can acutely reduce state anxiety and psychological distress and improve subjective wellbeing. No studies investigated the evidence for progressive muscle relaxation as an add-on treatment for general psychopathology and for positive or negative symptoms. Also, no studies assessed the value of progressive muscle relaxation in longer-term treatment and for relapse prevention. There were no data to draw any conclusions about progressive muscle relaxation in comparison with other treatment modalities. None of the studies encountered adverse events. Dose-response relationships could not be determined.Conclusion:Progressive muscle relaxation might be a useful add-on treatment to reduce state anxiety and psychological distress and improve subjective well-being in persons with schizophrenia.

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