Effects of floatation REST on serum cortisol in rheumatoid arthritics.

Betsy A. McCormick, Doré R. Shafransky, Thomas H. Fine, and John W. Turner, Jr.

Medical College of Ohio

Rheumatoid arthritics (RA) is a painful debilitating disease involving synovial lined joints effecting millions worldwide. Currently treatment is pharmacological and expensive. The etiology is unknown but one cause may be a defective hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis resulting in abnormal cortisol levels. Additionally since psychophysiological changes which occur during relaxation are often opposite of responses to various disease states of RA, it is likely that relaxation training can benefit RA patients. This study examined the effects of two specific relaxation technologies on cortisol in RA, autogenic training (AT) (n=7) and floatation REST (n=7). The former is psychophysiological self-control therapy. The latter is a potent mediator of relaxation. Previous REST studies demonstrated decreased levels and variability in cortisol. Serum levels of cortisol were measured using RIA. No significant differences in cortisol across, between groups, or in a time-group interaction occurred.

John W. Turner, Jr., Ph.D., Dept. of Physiology and Molecular Medicine, Medical College of Ohio, 3000 Arlington Avenue, Toledo, OH 43699

Tags: research, REST, cortisol, arthritis, therapy