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Addiction. 2009 Jul;104(7):1251-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2009.02605.x.

Effect of isometric exercise and body scanning on cigarette cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

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Division of Community Health Sciences, St George's, University of London, Cranmer Terrace, London SW17 ORE, UK.



To examine the acute effects of a guided relaxation routine (body scan) and isometric exercise on desire to smoke and tobacco withdrawal symptoms.


Experimental comparison of three conditions.


Forty-eight individuals reporting smoking > or =10 cigarettes daily.


Random assignment to one of three interventions delivered via a 10-minute audio: isometric exercise (IE, n = 14), body scanning (BS, n = 18) or a reading about natural history (control group, n = 16). Interventions were delivered twice on the same day: in the laboratory, then in their 'normal' environment.


Desire to smoke (primary outcome) and withdrawal symptoms were rated at pre-intervention and up to 30 minutes post-intervention.


Controlling for baseline scores, post-intervention desire to smoke and withdrawal symptoms were significantly lower for IE and BS groups, compared with the controls, in both environments. There were no significant differences for IE versus BS. For desire to smoke, controlling for baseline values, ratings in the laboratory were significantly lower for IE and BS versus the control up to 30 minutes post-intervention. In the normal environment, these ratings were significantly lower only up to 5 minutes post-intervention.


Brief IE and BS interventions are effective for reducing desire to smoke and withdrawal symptoms in temporarily abstaining smokers. These interventions were found to be more effective in the laboratory than in the smoker's normal environment, but this may be an artefact of there not being a sufficient 'wash-out' period between interventions. These techniques may be beneficial for managing desire to smoke and tobacco withdrawal.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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