The Application of Relaxation Training Approaches to Patients With Neurogenic Disorders and Their Caregivers
Purpose: Because relaxation therapy remains a popular complementary and alternative medicine approach, this review paper was written to (a) introduce speech-language clinicians to relaxation therapy procedures, (b) summarize research regarding outcomes associated with relaxation therapy in healthy and patient populations, including those with neurogenic cognitive and communicative disorders, and (c) identify future research needs and clinical applications regarding the use of relaxation therapy within speech-language management protocols.
Method: A review of the literature pertaining to relaxation therapy among healthy adults, individuals with non-neurogenic disorders, and individuals with neurogenic cognitive-communicative disorders was conducted and critically summarized.
Results and Conclusions: Preliminary data suggest that relaxation therapy, when applied alone or in concert with conventional speech-language therapy protocols, may be used to address a variety of neurogenic cognitive and communicative problems ranging from dysarthria in Parkinson’s disease to high-level cognitive deficits in traumatic brain injury. Further research is needed, however, given the paucity of studies involving individuals with neurogenic cognitive or communicative disorders and that much of the extant literature regarding relaxation therapy has lacked the methodological rigor necessary to evoke confidence in the reported findings. Suggestions regarding how to broaden the scope of research regarding relaxation training are provided.