A progressive relaxation exercise (PRE) program was effective at improving self-efficacy and promoting symptom management in patients with lung cancer, according to results of a randomized controlled study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.

To address the multitude of symptoms associated with chemotherapy experienced by patients with lung cancer, researchers recruited 84 patients at the Gazi University Health Research and Application Center in Turkey between 2018 and 2019. Patients were randomly assigned to receive usual care alone (42 patients) or with PRE training (42 patients). Usual care included an educational session and a book on symptom control.

PRE comprised 70 minutes of relaxation exercises targeting the hands, upper arms, shoulder, face, chest, abdomen, hips, upper legs, and lower legs guided by an MP3 voice recording. Patients received a guide for the exercises, a music player, headphones, and were instructed to perform the PRE at least daily. To encourage compliance, patients were contacted weekly by phone.

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Patients in the intervention and control groups, respectively, were mean age 65.07 and 66.48 years, 80.95% and 83.3% were men, and 57.1% and 61.9% had stage 4 disease.

Compared with baseline, participants in the PRE group reported significantly improved Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale (MSAS)-Global Distress Index (P =.0001), MSAS-Physical (P =.00), MSAS-Psychological (P =.0001), and Total Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale (P =.0001) scores. Similar trends were observed during subsequent assessments.

For the control cohort only the MSAS-Psychological scores improved from baseline (all P ≤.018).

The patients in the intervention arm also were better able to cope with stress and make decisions.

These results were limited by the single center, unblinded study design.

The researchers concluded that incorporating PRE training and telephone-based support better equipped patients receiving chemotherapy for lung cancer to cope with negative symptoms.


Kirca K, Kultutürkan S. The effect of progressive relaxation exercises on treatment-related symptoms and self-efficacy in patients with lung cancer receiving chemotherapy. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2021;45:101488. doi:10.1016/j.ctcp.2021.101488