Progressive muscle relaxation in the treatment of anxiety in selected groups of patients – a review of the literature
More details
Hide details
Zakład Historii i Filozofii Nauk Medycznych, Wydział Nauk o Zdrowiu, Gdański Uniwersytet Medyczny, Polska
Wydział Nauk o Zdrowiu, Gdański Uniwersytet Medyczny, Polska
Klinika Rehabilitacji Medycznej, Wydział Nauk o Zdrowiu, Uniwersytet Medyczny w Łodzi, Polska
Akademia Medycznych i Społecznych Nauk Stosowanych w Elblągu, Polska
Submission date: 2023-10-15
Final revision date: 2023-11-13
Acceptance date: 2023-11-14
Online publication date: 2023-12-31
Corresponding author
Kamila Gworys   

Kamila Gworys, Klinika Rehabilitacji Medycznej, Wydział Nauk o Zdrowiu, Uniwersytet Medyczny w Łodzi, polska. Tel.: +4842 201 44 40.
Acta Elbingensia 2023;50(1):63-68
Anxiety disorders are almost as common as depression and may be the result of many different biological, psychological and social factors. It is important to look for effective and easy-to-use therapeutic methods. One such method is the Jacobson progressive muscle relaxation technique.

The aim of the study is to present the usefulness of using progressive muscle relaxation according to Jacobson in the treatment of anxiety in selected groups of patients based on the analysis of scientific literature.

Material and methods:
The literature indexed in the Scopus and Medline databases for the years 2001–2023 was analyzed. Articles presenting the results of clinical trials and case reports were included. The search criteria were keywords.

Results and discussion:
Based on the literature review, it is concluded that the use of PMR is a justified therapeutic procedure that supports the treatment process and enables the reduction of anxiety.

The use of PMR reduces the level of anxiety and stress, thus reducing the symptoms of depression and improving the quality of sleep; can be used as an adjunct treatment to reduce the anxiety of a hospitalized psychiatric patient.

McCallie MS, Blum CM, Hood CJ. Progressive Muscle Relaxation. J Human Behav Soc Environ. 2006;13(3):51–66.
Chojak A. Recent findings in the pathogenesis and treatment of fear and anxiety. Neuropsychiatr. Neuropsychol. 2022;17(3–4):132–139.
Kahana SY, Feeny NC. Cognitive behavioral treatment of health-related anxiety in youth: A case example. Cogn Behav Pract. 2005;12(3):290–300.
Lange I, Goossens L, Michielse S, et al. Neural responses during extinction learning predict exposure therapy outcome in phobia: results from a randomized-controlled trial. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2020;45(3):534–541.
Gilroy LJ, Kirkby KC, Daniels BA, et al. Long-term follow-up of computer-aided vicarious exposure versus live graded exposure in the treatment of spider phobia. Behav Ther. 2003;34(1):65–76.
Lima J, McCabe-Bennett H, Antony MM. Treatment of storm fears using Virtual Reality and progressive muscle relaxation. Behav Cogn Psychother. 2018;46(2):251–256.
Hazlett-Stevens H, Borkovec TD. Effects of worry and progressive relaxation on the reduction of fear in speech phobia: An investigation of situational exposure. Behav Ther. 2001;32(3):503–517.
Wulandari P, Hidayat R. General anxiety disorder-related coronavirus disease-19 outbreak in Indonesia: A case report. Open Access Macedon J Med Sci. 2020;8(T1):36–38.
Liu K, Chen Y, Wu D, Lin R, Wang Z, Pan L. Effects of progressive muscle relaxation on anxiety and sleep quality in patients with COVID-19. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2020;39:101132.
Xiao CX, Lin YJ, Lin RQ, Liu AN, Zhong GQ, Lan CF. Effects of progressive muscle relaxation training on negative emotions and sleep quality in COVID-19 patients: a clinical observational study. Medicine (Baltimore). 2020;99(47):e23185.
Özlü İ, Öztürk Z, Karaman Özlü Z, Tekin E, Gür A. The effects of progressive muscle relaxation exercises on the anxiety and sleep quality of patients with COVID-19: a randomized controlled study. Perspect Psychiatr Care. 2021;57(4):1791–1797.
Lai KS, Watt C, Ionson E, et al. Breath Regulation and yogic Exercise An online Therapy for calm and Happiness (BREATH) for frontline hospital and long-term care home staff managing the COVID-19 pandemic: a structured summary of a study protocol for a feasibility study for a randomised controlled trial. Trials. 2020;21(1):648.
Ben-Zeev D, Larson J, Sarratt M. A possible role for Progressive Muscle Relaxation in the treatment of persecutory ideation. Med Hypotheses. 2010;75(6):568–571.
Chen WC, Chu H, Lu RB, et al. Efficacy of progressive muscle relaxation training in reducing anxiety in patients with acute schizophrenia. J Clin Nurs. 2009;18(15):2187–2196.
Georgiev A, Probst M, De Hert M, Genova V, Tonkova A, Vancampfort D. Acute effects of progressive muscle relaxation on state anxiety and subjective well-being in chronic Bulgarian patients with schizophrenia. Psychiatr Danub. 2012;24(4):367–372.
Vancampfort D, De Hert M, Knapen J, et al. Effects of progressive muscle relaxation on state anxiety and subjective well-being in people with schizophrenia: a randomized controlled trial. Clin Rehabil. 2011;25(6):567–575.
Lu SM, Lin MF, Chang HJ. Progressive muscle relaxation for patients with chronic schizophrenia: a randomized controlled study. Perspect Psychiatr Care. 2020;56(1):86–94.
Fusco C, Di Nunzio M, Moccia A. Progressive muscle relaxation training: classic technique and virtual reality for psychotic patients. Minerva Psichiatr. 2018;59(4):177–180.
Wang FZ, Luo D, Kanb W, Wang Y. Combined intervention with education and Progressive Muscle Relaxation on quality of life, functional disability, and positive symptoms in patients with acute schizophrenia. J Altern Complement Med. 2015;21(3):159–165.
Korkut S, Ülker T, Çidem A, Şahin S. The effect of progressive muscle relaxation and nature sounds on blood pressure measurement skills, anxiety levels, and vital signs in nursing students. Perspect Psychiatr Care. 2021;57(4):1782–1790.
Zhang Y, Yang, X-X, Luo J-Y, et al. Randomized trial estimating effects of hypnosis versus progressive muscle relaxation on medical students’ test anxiety and attentional bias. World J Psychiatr. 2022;12(6):801–813.
Tsang HW, Cheung WM, Chan AH, Fung KMT, Leung AY, Au DWH. A pilot evaluation on a stress management programme using a combined approach of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for elementary school teachers. Stress Health. 2015;31(1):35–43.
Battaglini MP, Pessôa Filho DM, Calais SL, et al. Analysis of progressive muscle relaxation on psychophysiological variables in basketball athletes. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022;19(24):17065.
Ganjeali S, Farsi Z, Sajadi SA, Zarea K. The effect of the demonstration-based progressive muscle relaxation technique on stress and anxiety in nurses caring for COVID-19 patients: a randomized clinical trial. BMC Psychiatry. 2022;22(1):791.
Tien KJ, Goodie JL, Duncan CL, Szabo MM, Nicholas LA. Is it asthma or a panic attack? A case study of asthma and anxiety in an adolescent male. Clin Pract Pediatr Psychol. 2014;2(2):142–152.
Levinson CA, Rodebaugh TL, Bertelson AD. Prolonged exposure therapy following awareness under anesthesia: A case study. Cogn Behav Pract. 2013;20(1):74–80.
Forsyth JP, McNeil DW. Mastery of your anxiety and worry: A multimodal case study of the effectiveness of a manualized treatment for Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Cogn Behav Pract. 2002;9(3):200–212.
Ciraulo DA, Barlow DH, Gulliver SB, et al. The effects of venlafaxine and cognitive behavioral therapy alone and combined in the treatment of co-morbid alcohol use-anxiety disorders. Behav Res Ther. 2013;51(11):729–735.
Anker JJ, Kushner MG, Thuras P, Menk J, Unruh AS. Drinking to cope with negative emotions moderates alcohol use disorder treatment response in patients with co-occurring anxiety disorder. Drug Alcohol Depend. 2016;159:93–100.
Kushner MG, Maurer EW, Thuras P, et al. Hybrid cognitive behavioral therapy versus relaxation training for co-occurring anxiety and alcohol disorder: a randomized clinical trial. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2013;81(3):429–442.
Wang L, Zhuang S, Zhou X, Liu J. Effects of music therapy combined with progressive muscle relaxation on anxiety and depression symptoms in adult women with methamphetamine dependence: study protocol for a randomized controlled trail. Int J Mental Health Addict. 2023;21(5):3215–3232.
Cludius B, Hottenrott B, Alsleben H, Peter U, Schröder J, Moritz S. Mindfulness for OCD? No evidence for a direct effect of a self-help treatment approach. J Obsessive Compuls Relat Disord. 2015;6:59–65.
Wilz G, Soellner R. Evaluation of a short-term telephone-based cognitive behavioral intervention for dementia family caregivers. Clin Gerontologist. 2016;39(1):25–47.
Blanaru M, Bloch B, Vadas L, et al. The effects of music relaxation and muscle relaxation techniques on sleep quality and emotional measures among individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder. Ment Illness. 2012;4(2):59–65.
Libby DJ, Pilver CE, Desai R. Complementary and alternative medicine in VA specialized PTSD treatment programs. Psychiatr Serv. 2012;63(11):1134–1136.
Mahmoud AS, Elbary AA, Berma AE. Effect of progressive relaxation technique on the anxiety level of the psychiatric patients before electro-convulsive therapy. Port Said Sci J Nurs. 2019;6(2):46–60.
Journals System - logo
Scroll to top