The impact of abbreviated progressive muscle relaxation on salivary cortisol

Biol Psychol. 2002;60(1):1-16. doi: 10.1016/s0301-0511(02)00010-8.


The purpose of this study was to examine whether acute relaxation training, conducted on two separate occasions, would be associated with reliable reductions in subjective and physiological indices of stress. Forty-six experimental subjects were led through Abbreviated Progressive Relaxation Training (APRT) exercises during two laboratory sessions spaced exactly 1 week apart. Fifteen control subjects experienced two laboratory sessions where they sat quietly for an equal amount of time. Results indicated that a brief relaxation exercise led to experimental subjects having significantly lower levels of post-intervention heart rate, state anxiety, perceived stress, and salivary cortisol than control subjects, as well as increased levels of self-report levels of relaxation. The results of this study may have implications for the use of relaxation training in enhancing immune function.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / analysis*
  • Male
  • Relaxation Therapy*
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Stress, Psychological*


  • Hydrocortisone