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Relaxation Exercises Reduces Pain and Stress

The quality of life for elderly nursing home residents is profoundly impacted by pain and stress. While standard treatment often relies entirely on pharmacological approaches, recent research indicates that elderly patients with chronic pain can benefit from the use of alternative, non-pharmacological approaches. A psychoeducational group therapy program for chronic pain, anxiety and distress, modeled on the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program at the University of Massachussetts Medical Center, was introduced into a 514-bed academic nursing home. Group members practiced breathing exercises, meditation, visualization, and guided imagery. Music and aromatherapy were also utilized to provide a calming milieu. In addition, group tasks focused on reframing responses to difficult situations and empowering the residents. Members were taught to practice techniques in response to pain and stressful episodes. Pre and posttests, using the Coop scales measuring emotional wellbeing and level of pain, showed that following the Relaxation Group, nursing home residents felt less sad and showed a trend towards feeling less pain. McBee L. Westreich L and Likourezos A. “A psychoeducational relaxation group for pain and stress management in the nursing home.” Journal of Social Work in Long-Term Care. 3(1):15-28, 2004.



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