Music assisted progressive muscle relaxation, progressive muscle relaxation, music listening, and silence: a comparison of relaxation techniques

J Music Ther. 2000 Spring;37(1):2-21. doi: 10.1093/jmt/37.1.2.


The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of music assisted progressive muscle relaxation (M + PMR), progressive muscle relaxation (PMR), music listening, and silence/suggestion on measures of anxiety and perceived relaxation. The study also examined participant responses to a posttreatment questionnaire to identify relationships between musical and nonmusical elements in relaxation techniques. Sixty university students participated in the study. Fifteen participants were randomly assigned to each treatment condition. Subjects were tested individually using the same relaxation script for M + PMR and PMR conditions. One-way analyses of covariance were computed to compare pre and posttest differences among groups. Results of the ANCOVA revealed no differences among groups for the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) or the Visual Analog Scale (VAS). Analysis of variance, however, revealed each treatment condition to be equally effective in producing significant changes in anxiety and perceived relaxation from the pre to posttest period. Additionally, mean score differences revealed decreases for all conditions with M + PMR eliciting the greatest amount of change. A content analysis of posttreatment questionnaire items revealed detailed information about each participant's relaxation experience, state of mind, and use of self-generated relaxation techniques.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Relaxation*
  • Music Therapy*
  • Relaxation Therapy*
  • Suggestion
  • Treatment Outcome