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Fifty-seven veterans with congestive heart failure were interviewed about their experiences and changes after participating in a three-armed randomized trial: relaxation response (RR) training, cardiac education, and usual care. The interviews were tape-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed. Half of the 20 RR group interviewees reported physical improvements, and 13 reported emotional improvements. These improvements went beyond disease management to lifestyle changes and improved family/friends relationships. Five of 16 cardiac education group interviewees reported physical improvements, and eight reported emotional improvements. These improvements consisted of a better understanding of the disease and resulted in feeling more at ease. None of the usual care group interviewees reported any improvement from study participation. Although group support contributed to the benefits reported by RR and cardiac education groups, the use of the RR techniques seems to be the factor that distinguished the improvements. The value of the RR in congestive heart failure health care is suggested by the results.