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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 628365, 22 pages
Research Article

Relaxation Techniques for People with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Systematic Review and a Meta-Analysis

1Department of Psychology, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, 20123 Milan, Italy
2Department of Neuromuscular Disease, Fondazione Don Carlo Gnocchi, 20149 Milan, Italy
3Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA
4Niguarda Ca’ Granda Hospital, 20162 Milan, Italy

Received 25 March 2015; Accepted 28 May 2015

Academic Editor: Waris Qidwai

Copyright © 2015 Eleonora Volpato et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) people suffer from severe physical impairments, which often elicit significant psychological distress and impact their quality of life. This meta-analysis aimed to assess evidence from the scientific literature on the effects of relaxation techniques. Methods. We investigated 9 databases to select 25 RCTs. Studies included both inpatients and outpatients with COPD. Both respiratory and psychological outcomes were considered. Results. Relaxation techniques showed a little positive effect on the value of the percentage of predicted FEV1 (; 95% Cl: 0.40–−0.01) as well as a slight effect on levels of both the anxiety (; 95% Cl: 0.42–0.10) and depression (; 95% Cl: 0.53–0.13). The higher effect size was found in the quality of life value (; 95% Cl: 0.51–0.24). The assessed quality of the studies, based on the PEDro Scale, was generally medium/high. Conclusion. Relaxation training can have a moderate impact on both psychological well-being and respiratory function, resulting in noticeable improvements in both. Although higher quality research is required, our results sustain the importance of relaxation techniques as a tool to manage COPD.