The importance of relaxation therapy

28 May 2021

Relaxation therapy is evidence-based and important for you and your patients

Hippocrates routinely advocated rest and understood the importance of relaxation for mental and physical health. Now 2,500 years later stress-related, chronic conditions are common and the need for relaxation increases.

What is relaxation therapy?

Listed as a psychological focussed strategy by the Australian Department of Health, relaxation therapy reduces psychological distress, physical tension and high states of arousal. It elicits the relaxation response where blood pressure, heart rate and physiological processes return to a more homeostatic level. Relaxation techniques are evidence-based, non-pharmacological, non-invasive and cost-effective.

Why is relaxation therapy important in clinical practice?

Most patients experience distress and routinely present with pain, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders or inflammation. Relaxation therapy reduces the impact of stress-related conditions and encourages physiological and psychological equilibrium. Regular relaxation can delay the onset and progression of disease, reduce duration of illness and hasten a return to better health. Relaxation therapy complements and works well with other medical and pharmaceutical interventions. 

How do patients benefit from relaxation therapy?

Regular practice of simple relaxation techniques enables patients to experience less pain, mood disorders, sleep disorders and inflammatory conditions. Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) research shows causal links between stress, inflammation and disease and demonstrates how relaxation therapy decreases sympathetic arousal and enhances parasympathetic responses to reduce chronic ailments. Importantly, learning how to relax offers patients an efficacious coping skill and greater control of their own health and wellbeing.

To address the need for novel, evidence-based treatments for chronic conditions, the Faculty of Medicine and health at the University of Sydney offers a unique and practical course Introduction to relaxation therapy and psychoneuroimmunology with Dr Judy Lovas.

This dynamic short course includes both theoretical and practical components to develop proficiency in using relaxation clinically. It introduces the wonderful world of PNI and offers the why, what and how of deep diaphragmatic breathing (DDB) as an intervention for common conditions. Course participants benefit both personally and professionally.

About the course instructor Dr Judy Lovas

As a Medicine and Health alumna, Judy is dedicated to quality education in relaxation therapy. She has an eclectic background in psychology, tertiary education, massage therapy, research and clinical practice and in 2009 completed her PhD in the effects of relaxation on psychological and immunological outcomes in people with spinal cord injury, supervised by Professor Ashley Craig.

Since then, Judy pursues her passion to teach evidence-based relaxation therapy, particularly as a win-win opportunity for health and medical professionals, and their patients. Judy presented at the 2021 General Practice Conference and Exhibition and regularly conducts relaxation classes in aged care, medical practices, schools and privately.

Between classes and speaking engagements, Judy regularly practices the art of relaxation with family and friends!

Connect with Judy online: