Muscle Relaxation Training to Reduce Stress of Medical Nurses at Siriraj Hospital, Thailand

Tuesday, 23 July 2013: 1:30 PM

Pawilai Pitakwong, MSN, RN
School of Nursing, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to discover a new stress reduction technique.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to use the progressive muscle technique as part of their daily activities.


The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which progressive muscular relaxation training can facilitate reduction in the stress experienced by medical nurses at Siriraj Hospital, Thailand.


A longitudinal experimental design was used to explore the efficacy of progressive muscular relaxation reducing the stress level of medical nurses. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of two treatments: progressive muscular relaxation using audio recorded instructions and a live instructor (Arm A) or progressive muscular relaxation by using audio recorded instructions and a handbook (Arm B). Subjects in each group participated in two session of progressive muscular relaxation sessions per week for four weeks, either with the live instructor or using their handbook. All subjects were pre-, post-, and follow-up posttested for stress with the Stress Measurement Model of Dougan and others.


Thirty internal medicine nurses at Siriraj Hospital, Thailand participated in the study. The nurses who practiced progressive muscular relaxation using audio recorded instructions and the live instructor demonstrated statistically significant decrease in the stress levels after the intervention (p<0.01) and continued to decrease significantly after 8 weeks (p<0.01). In addition, Arm A showed statistically significant decrease in stress levels when compare to Arm B (p<0.01) immediately after the intervention. Arm B showed some decrease in the stress level immediately after the intervention and at the 8-week follow-up, however these were not statistically significant.    


The study finding revealed strong, preliminary evidence that progressive muscle relaxation training by audio-recoded instructions and with a live instructor was an effective method for reducing the stress level in medical nurses at Siriraj Hospital, Thailand. Stress reduction is likely to have a beneficial effect for the medical nurses themselves, and the quality of patient care they deliver. Larger studies are essential to confirm the findings of this pilot study.