FEASIBILITY AND OUTCOMES OF AUTOGENIC RELAXATION TRAINING IN ADDITION TO USUAL PHYSIOTHERAPY FOR STROKE SURVIVORS – A PILOT STUDY
A significant percentage of stroke survivors are reported to have anxiety and depression. Autogenic Relaxation Training (ART), a psychophysiological self-control therapy which aims to induce relaxation proved to be effective in reducing the anxiety and depression in some health conditions. However, there is lack of studies which evaluated the effects of ART in the rehabilitation of stroke survivors. The aim of this experimental pilot study is to evaluate the feasibility and outcomes of ART in addition to usual physiotherapy for stroke survivors. A total of 14 sub-acute stroke survivors from a teaching hospital were enrolled in this study. All participants received 20 minutes ART followed by 40 minutes usual physiotherapy once a week and they were requested to carry out the intervention at home for twice per week, for six weeks. Intervention outcomes were assessed using Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS-A and HADS-D), Barthel Index (BI), Timed Up and Go (TUG) and EuroQol 5-Dimension 5 Levels (EQ5D5L). Changes in all outcome measures were analysed using paired t-test and Wilcoxon signed rank test, with level of significance set at p<0.05. Post-intervention, there is statistically significant reduction of the HADS-A (p=0.04), HADS-D (p=0.02), TUG (p=0.004) and EQ5D5L (p=0.03) scores of the participants. Although not statistically significant, the mean score ± SD of BI increased from 95 ± 12.5 to 100 ± 6.25. The intervention is feasible and acceptable by the stroke survivors with no adverse events reported. In conclusion, ART in addition to usual physiotherapy is feasible and beneficial in reducing anxiety and depression, and improving functional ability, mobility and quality of life among stroke survivors.
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