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NCCIH Clinical Digest

for health professionals

Mind and Body Approaches for Stress and Anxiety

January 2024
yoga at home

Several mind and body approaches, including relaxation techniques, yoga, tai chi, hypnotherapy, and meditation may be useful for managing symptoms of stress in your patients. For some stress-related conditions, mind and body approaches are used as an adjunct to other forms of treatment. This issue of the digest provides a summary of current research on some of these approaches for stress, anxiety, and stress-related conditions.

Modality and Summary of Current Research

Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques may be helpful in managing a variety of stress-related health conditions, including anxiety associated with ongoing health problems and in those who are having medical procedures. Evidence suggests that relaxation techniques may also provide some benefit for symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and may help reduce occupational stress in health care workers. For some of these conditions, relaxation techniques are used as an adjunct to other forms of treatment.

Read more about research on relaxation techniques for stress and anxiety

Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong

A range of research has examined the relationship between exercise and depression. Results from a much smaller body of research suggest that exercise may also affect stress and anxiety symptoms. Even less certain is the role of yoga, tai chi, and qigong—for these and other psychological factors. But there is some limited evidence that yoga, as an adjunctive therapy, may be helpful for people with anxiety symptoms.

Read more about research on yoga, tai chi, and qigong for stress and anxiety

Meditation and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction

Some research suggests that practicing meditation may reduce blood pressure, anxiety and depression, and insomnia.

Read more about research on meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction


Hypnosis has been studied for anxiety related to medical or dental procedures. Some studies have had promising results, but the overall evidence is not conclusive.

Read more about research on hypnotherapy

NCCIH Clinical Digest is a service of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, NIH, DHHS. NCCIH Clinical Digest, a monthly e-newsletter, offers evidence-based information on complementary health approaches, including scientific literature searches, summaries of NCCIH-funded research, fact sheets for patients, and more.

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is dedicated to exploring complementary health products and practices in the context of rigorous science, training complementary health researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCIH’s Clearinghouse toll-free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCIH website at NCCIH is 1 of 27 institutes and centers at the National Institutes of Health, the Federal focal point for medical research in the United States.


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