Acute effects of a guided relaxation routine (body scan) on tobacco withdrawal symptoms and cravings in abstinent smokers

Addiction. 2007 Jun;102(6):989-93. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2007.01832.x.


Aims: To examine the acute effects of a guided relaxation routine (body scan) on desire to smoke and tobacco withdrawal symptoms in overnight abstinent smokers.

Design: Experimental.

Participants: Thirty individuals reporting to smoke 10 or more cigarettes daily for at least 3 years.

Intervention: Participants were assigned randomly to complete a 10-minute body scan (experimental group n = 15) or listen to a natural history passage for 10 minutes (control group n = 15).

Measurement: Ratings of strength of desire to smoke and smoking withdrawal symptoms were assessed at baseline, immediately after the interventions, and 5, 10 and 15 minutes post-intervention.

Findings: There was a significant group x time interaction for strength of desire to smoke. The mean desire to smoke rating was significantly lower in the body scan group relative to the control group immediately after the intervention, and 5 minutes post-intervention. The body scan group also reported lower ratings of irritability, tension and restlessness, relative to the controls.

Conclusion: A brief body scan intervention reduces strength of desire to smoke and some tobacco withdrawal symptoms in temporarily abstaining smokers. The body scan may be beneficial as a technique for managing cigarette cravings and withdrawal.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Behavior, Addictive / rehabilitation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Relaxation Therapy*
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Substance Withdrawal Syndrome / prevention & control*
  • Treatment Outcome