A COMPARATIVE PHYSIOLOGICAL AND PSYCHOMETRIC ASSESSMENT OF REST FLOTATION, PROGRESSIVE RELAXATION, AND LIGHT-SOUND STIMULATION RELAXATION TRAINING
Ernesto A. Randolfi, Ph.D.
Subjects (n=63) were randomly assigned to three methods of relaxation training (restricted environmental stimulation technique (REST) flotation, progressive relaxation, and light-sound stimulation), or a control group to assess the effects of periodic exposure to relaxation. All subjects were scheduled for 45 minutes sessions three times a week for three weeks. Pre and post measurements included serum cholesterol, LDL, HDL, triglycerides, blood pressure, and self reported measures of anxiety, depression, and physical stress symptoms. No significant differences (p<.05) were found on analysis of covariance for group means of post test scores when pretests were used as the covariate.
Significant (p<.05) reductions in pre to post anxiety scores were found for three treatment groups using a paired t-test, but not the control group. Both the REST flotation group and the progressive relaxation group demonstrated significantly lower depression scores, and the flotation group reduced physical symptoms of stress. Subjects with pre-test cholesterol levels above 180 mm/dl were selected for additional analysis, those in the REST flotation group (n=10) significantly lowered total cholesterol (p=.042) and LDL (p=.034) levels by a mean of 18.5 mm/dl and 14.3 mm/dl respectively.