ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 6, Issue 2, 185-205, 2015
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The Influence of Relaxation Training on Respiratory Variability and Self-Reported Relaxation

Authors
  Ruth Wuyts - Health Psychology, University of Leuven, Tiensestraat, 102, B- 3000 Leuven, Belgium
  Elke Vlemincx - Health Psychology, University of Leuven, Tiensestraat, 102, B- 3000 Leuven, Belgium
  Ilse Van Diest - Health Psychology, University of Leuven, Tiensestraat, 102, B- 3000 Leuven, Belgium
  Omer Van den Bergh - Health Psychology, University of Leuven, Tiensestraat, 102, B- 3000 Leuven, Belgium

Volume 6, Issue 2, 2015, Pages 185-205
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5127/jep.038913

Abstract
From a dynamic systems perspective, healthy breathing is characterized by complex variability. However, slow regular breathing instructions are often included in relaxation techniques. This study investigates the influence of relaxation training on natural breathing dynamics. Spontaneous breathing was measured in healthy persons during 5 sessions of relaxation training without breathing instructions (N = 29) vs. during quiet sitting resembling spontaneous relaxation (N = 29). Each session started with 10 minutes baseline recordings and ended with a mental stressor and a recovery phase. Results showed no differences between conditions in subjective relaxation and mean respiratory parameters. However, structured breath-to-breath variability increased across sessions during baseline and stress in the relaxation group only. In the control group, total variability increased across sessions during stress without concomitant changes in structured variability. The results point to the importance of respiratory variability in breathing regulation and suggest integration of a dynamic systems perspective in relaxation research.

Table of Contents
Introduction
Method
 Participants
Measures
 Questionnaires.
 Physiological measures.
Procedure
Data Analysis
 Physiological data reduction.
  Respiratory parameters.
  Cardiovascular parameters.
  EMG.
 Statistical analysis.
  Self-report measures.
  Respiratory, cardiovascular and EMG measures.
Results
 Control Questionnaires
 Self-report Measures of Relaxation
 Respiratory Parameters
  Mean respiratory parameters.
  Respiratory variability.
  Sigh rate.
 EMG
 Cardiovascular Parameters
  Heart rate.
  Heart rate variability.
Discussion
Summary and Discussion
Limitations and Future Studies
Conclusions and Clinical Implications
References
Appendix
 Script 1
 Script 2
 Script 3
 Script 4

Correspondence to
Omer Van den Bergh, PhD., Health Psychology, University of Leuven, Tiensestraat, 102, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium.

Keywords
Respiration, Breathing regulation, Respiratory variability, Relaxation training, Dynamic Systems Perspective

Dates
Received 12 Sep 2013; Revised 22 May 2014; Accepted 4 Dec 2014; In Press 8 Jul 2015







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