Research in the UK
In September 2010 Girasol, in conjunction with Professor Ann Buchanan of the Oxford Centre for Research into Parenting and Children, conducted formal research evaluating the impact of Creative Relaxation on 180 primary aged school children in Redbridge. Professor Buchanan stated in her report ‘Promoting Child Well- Being’: “What can be said about Creative Relaxation with some conﬁdance is that, the feedback from pupils and teachers, as well as ﬁndings from the previous pilot studies, suggests that Creative Relaxation training may offer real beneﬁts for children that could give them life-long stress-management strategies.” The report concluded that Creative Relaxation was a ‘Promising Intervention’ and recommended that a further larger study be carried out.
Southend Study 2013
In August 2013 we completed our largest research to date involving 60 staff members and 614 pupils (398 in the Experimental Group and 218 in the Control Group) from 5 primary schools in Southend. We measured the impact of Creative Relaxation on both emotional health and well-being of pupils and also on their mental ability and academic results. We also measured the impact on staff who were trained to deliver the technique in the classroom or to small groups of pupils. Some of the highlights from the report were:
Staff: we were particularly pleased with the findings regarding the impact on staff (including some SENCOS). 62% of them reported an improved ability to relax and 48% of them reported improved self-confidence. In interviews with staff, they made the following comments:
“I have felt the benefits in regards to stress especially linked to work – I have been less tearful”; “I feel better equipped to cope with heavy work load”; “I’m sleeping much better and I am more confident in conflict situations.”
Children: the findings regarding both emotional health and well-being and also on mental ability and academic results of children are still being processed, but indications are that they are very positive. For example, the emotional health and well-being results showed improvements in 75% of the areas studied including; an increase in children’s desire to learn, enjoyment of school, resilience in the face of challenge and a reduction in the frequency of anger. On the academic side, 3 of the 5 schools showed an improvement in reading, writing and mathematics and in mental ability tests, 67% of the children showed improved performance in arithmetic after learning Creative Relaxation.
The full report and findings can be accessed here. Creative Relaxation for Schools Southend Research Report March 2014.
General Relaxation Research
There is a vast body of research to prove the benefits of relaxation. Among the most notable is the research carried out by best-selling author Dr Herbert Benson Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He has shown through numerous studies how quick and easy relaxation techniques have immense physical benefits, from lowering blood pressure to a reduction in heart disease. His books The Relaxation Response and the more recent Relaxation Revolution, detail many of the studies which he carried out since 1970’s. You can access his published research through the Benson Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine. www.massgeneral.org/bhi
Research into Creative Relaxation in Spain
Research carried out in Spain, over a 12 year period, measured the effects of Training in Creative Relaxation on adults using recognised psychological tests. The research was conducted by Dr. Julio Herrero -a psychiatrist and head of the Health Department of Madrid City Council, and Dr Rachel Martin -a medical doctor and psychotherapist also employed by the same department. The research was conducted on Madrid City Council employees, members of the Madrid Metropolitan Police Force and also on members of the public who attended various of the Council’s Health Programme’s. In all, 1,297 adults participated. The research concluded that participants who did the Training in Creative Relaxation experienced more than 50% reduction in both anxiety and depression and that the Training in Creative Relaxation can help to guard against the damaging consequences of stress-related conditions. A summary of this research can be read below.