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Physiother Theory Pract. 2018 Jun 25:1-10. doi: 10.1080/09593985.2018.1488319. [Epub ahead of print]

The effects of a relaxation program featuring aquatic therapy and autogenic training among people with cervical dystonia (a pilot study).

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a Department of Physiotherapy, Motion in Brains Research Group, Instituto de Neurociencias y Ciencias del Movimiento, Centro Superior de Estudios Universitarios La Salle , Universidad Autónoma de Madrid , Madrid , Spain.
b Unidad de Daño Cerebral. Hospital Beata María Ana , Madrid , Spain.
c Center for Social and Cognitive Neuroscience(CSCN), School of Psychology , Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez , Santiago , Chile.
d Laboratorio de Neuropsicología y Neurociencias Clínicas (LANNEC), Facultad de Medicina , Universidad de Chile , Santiago , Chile.
e Geroscience Center for Brain Health and Metabolism (GERO) , Santiago , Chile.
f Clínica de Memoria y Neuropsiquiatría (CMYN), Servicio de Neurología. Hospital del Salvador y Facultad de Medicina , Universidad de Chile , Santiago , Chile.


Classic physical interventions for cervical dystonia (CD) have focused on treating motor components or, on motor components and relaxation programs. However, no CD treatment study has focused on a relaxation program alone. We developed a pilot study to assess whether a therapy completely based on a relaxation program could improve the physical and mental symptomatologies of patients with CD. Fifteen persons were included in the experimental group, which received individual sessions of aquatic (Watsu) therapy (WT) and autogenic training (AT). In addition, 12 persons were included in passive control group. We administered different questionnaires related to quality of life (SF-36), pain (Toronto Western Spasmodic Torticollis Rating Scale (TWSTRS) and Visual Analog Scale (VAS)) and mood (Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI)). A significant interaction was observed between treatment and time with regard to the SF-36, VAS, and TWSTRS within the experimental group (p < 0.01). The BDI-II showed depression decrease as a simple effect (p < 0.05), and the STAI did not change. No effects were found with regard to the control group. In this exploratory study, we found that a therapy based on whole body relaxation improved the symptoms of patients with CD. This knowledge enables a disease-management strategy that uses a holistic perspective and moves beyond the dystonic focus.


Cervical dystonia; Watsu therapy; autogenic training; body awareness; relaxation program

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