Improving Anxiety by Diaphragmatic Breathing Relaxation Training

Thursday, 10 July 2008: 3:35 PM
Yu-Fen Chen, RN , Nursing Department, Taichung Veterans General Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan
Xuan-Yi Huang, PhD , School of Nursing and Nursing Department, China Medical University and Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify the effects of diaphragmatic breathing relaxation training to assist reduce anxiety.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to share experiences of diaphragmatic breathing relaxation training.

Diaphragmatic Breathing Relaxation (DBR) has several advantages over more conventional therapies for anxiety problems, for example, it is safe and easy to execute, not require much space, and can be practiced anytime. Therefore, an experimental, double-blind design was used to evaluate the effect of diaphragmatic breathing relaxation training on improving anxiety. Participant selection criteria included Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HARS) scores ³a14 and Back Anxiety Inventory (BAI) scores³a8; and at least a one-month history of anxious symptoms. This study adopted a pre-test-post-test control group design with repeated measures of dependent variables, including peripheral blood flow, breathing rate, heart rate and skin conductivity. Ten participants were randomly assigned to the experimental or control groups. The participants in the experimental group underwent a diaphragmatic breathing relaxation training program while control subjects did not. All participants implemented 8 week course, the participants' physiological activities were recorded with biofeedback every 30 minutes in each training sessions (totally 12 times). HARS and BAI measured anxious conditions at week 0, 4 and 8. The research found that after 8-week diaphragmatic breathing relaxation training, the participants of the experimental group made significant differences on the reduction of HARS and BAI scores (P<0.05), and on the breathing and anxious condition change. There are significant differences in heart rate (P=0.023), skin conductivity (P =0.008) and breathing rate (P=0.013) between the two groups. Only the participants in experimental group made significant differences in breathing (P=0.027). It is concluded that diaphragmatic breathing relaxation training reduces the level of anxiety.