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Maturitas. 2005 Jun 16;51(2):154-62.

Applied relaxation and oral estradiol treatment of vasomotor symptoms in postmenopausal women.

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Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Unit of Medical Psychology, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University Hospital, S-58185 Linköping, Sweden.



The aim was to evaluate and compare the effects of applied relaxation and oral estradiol treatment on hot flushes, mood and psychological wellbeing in postmenopausal women.


In a prospective study, 30 postmenopausal women with vasomotor symptoms were randomized to applied relaxation or oral estradiol treatment during 12 weeks with 6 months follow-up. Number and severity of flushes were registered daily and Kupperman's Index and a general estimate of climacteric symptoms, Mood Scale and Symptom Check List were completed at baseline, 4, 8 and 12 weeks of treatment, and 3 and 6 months after therapy.


After 12 weeks of treatment, the number of flushes/24 h decreased significantly over time in both treatment groups. In the group receiving applied relaxation, the mean number of flushes/24 h decreased from 6.0 (95% CI 4.5-7.6) to 3.0 (95% CI 2.1-3.9) after 12 weeks of treatment. The mean number of flushes/24 h was 1.7 (95% CI 0.7-2.5) at 6 months follow-up; i.e. a 72% decrease. In the estrogen group, the mean number of flushes/24h decreased from 8.4 to 0.8; i.e a 90% decrease in the number of flushes after 12 weeks of treatment. The significant change in flushes reached after 12 weeks of treatment and remained to 6 months after end of treatment in both groups. Estrogen therapy reduced flushes significantly faster than applied relaxation. General climacteric symptoms according to the Visual Analogue Scale and the Kupperman's Index decreased significantly over time in both groups. General mood (Mood Scale) increased significantly in the estrogen group, but not in the group receiving applied relaxation. Psychological wellbeing according to Symptom Checklist, increased significantly from baseline to 12 weeks in both groups.


We suggest that applied relaxation may be used as an alternative treatment of vasomotor symptoms for postmenopausal women but should be further evaluated.

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