PloS one 2018 01 0513(1) e0190231 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0190231
Lymphedema is sometimes accompanied by high degrees of anxiety and depression. This study aimed to assess the effects of relaxation techniques on the level of edema, anxiety and depression in women undergoing Comprehensive Decongestive Therapy (CDT).
This clinical trial compared two treatment methods in 31 women with post-mastectomy lymphedema, including 15 cases who received CDT and 16 who received RCDT (Relaxation plus CDT). The edema volume, anxiety and depression scores were compared at the first and last sessions of the first phase of the treatment and six weeks afterwards.
The edema, anxiety and depression scores were 63.6%, 54.1% and 65.5% in the RCDT group and 60.7%, 31.4% and 35.2% in the CDT group. There were significant differences between the two groups in terms of the reduction in depression (p = 0.024) and anxiety (p = 0.011) scores throughout the study. This significant relationship was due to the differences in the depression score in the 3rd and 9th weeks of the study between the two groups. Similarly, anxiety levels differed significantly between the two groups at the 9th week of the study (P = 0.013).
Relaxation techniques reduced the anxiety and depression scores and the volume of edema in the patients with lymphedema. The addition of this intervention to the therapeutic package for lymphedema patients requires further studies in terms of cost-effectiveness.