Progressive Muscle Relaxation Script

This progressive muscle relaxation script relaxes your body and your mind.

Dr Jacobson in his book initially had 200 muscle exercises and training programs that took weeks to complete. Since then, there have been many modifications to the progressive muscle relaxation script, making it shorter and easier to use.

However, the basics have remained unchanged – that individual muscle groups are tensed and then relaxed.

This relaxation technique starts by tensing one muscle group for five to 10 seconds.

Then the same muscle group is relaxed letting the muscle go limp for 15-20 seconds.

When I use this progressive muscle relaxation script with clients I find that this relaxation technique creates a deep sense of physical relaxation.

This free and almost free progressive relaxation music complements your relaxation practice.

Suggested tips before starting this progressive muscle relaxation script

  • Find a quiet place that is comfortable for you.
  • Practice at a regular time during the day. Preferably not after you have eaten
  • Find a comfortable position. If you are sitting, then keep your back straight and feet flat on the floor. If lying down (the preferred option as your body is supported by the floor) then you can put a pillow beneath your knees for extra support.
  • Adopt a passive attitude to PMR.
  • When tensing muscles (without straining), do so for roughly 5 seconds. When you relax your muscles do so for roughly 15-20 seconds before progressing to the next muscle group.
  • Tense each muscle group once before progressing.

Progressive muscle relaxation script

  1. Start out with a few relaxing breaths. Use the diaphragmatic breath, and as you exhale feel the tension begin to ebb away.
  2. Clench your fists. Move your awareness to your hands. Clench both of your fists for up to 5 seconds. Release for 15-20 seconds, imagining the tension ebbing out of your hands.
  3. Tighten your biceps. Move your attention to your arms. Draw your forearms toward your shoulders, creating a bicep. Hold for up to 5 seconds and then release for 15-20 seconds. As you release and imagine the tension flowing out of your biceps.
  4. Forehead and scalp. Move your attention to your forehead. As you inhale lift your eyebrows and wrinkle your forehead. Hold for up to 5 seconds and then release for 15-20 seconds. As you release, feel the relaxation of the muscles of the forehead.
  5. Facial muscles. Move your attention to your facial muscles. Furrow your eyebrows and purse your lips. Try to pull all of your facial muscles towards your nose. Hold for up to 5 seconds and then release for 15-20 seconds. As you release feel the relaxation of the facial muscles.
  6. Jaw. Bring your attention to your jaw. Clench your jaw tightly, feeling the tension in the surrounding muscles. Hold for up to 5 seconds and then release for 15-20 seconds. Relax the muscles and allow the tension to disappear. You may feel your mouth begin to open a little.
  7. Neck and shoulders. Now bring your awareness this region. Shrug your shoulders towards your ears. Feel the tension in the surrounding muscles. Hold for up to 5 seconds and then release for 15-20 seconds. Feel the tension in the muscles ebb away.
  8. Upper back/shoulders. Now bring your awareness between the shoulder blades. Push your shoulder blades back as if you were trying to get them to touch. Feel the tension in the surrounding muscles. Hold for up to 5 seconds and then release for 15-20 seconds. Feel the tension in between the shoulder blades ebb away.
  9. Upper chest. Now bring your awareness to your upper chest. Tighten the chest muscles and hold. Feel the tension in the upper chest muscles. Hold for up to 5 seconds and then release for 15-20 seconds. Feel the tension in the chest muscles flow away.
  10. Stomach. Now bring your awareness to your navel area. Try to draw your navel in to your backbone. Feel your stomach muscles tighten. Hold for up to 5 seconds and then release for 15-20 seconds. Feel the tension in the abdominal muscles dissipate.
  11. Buttocks. Now bring your awareness to your buttocks area. Squeeze your buttocks together, consciously tightening the muscles in this region. Hold, hold hold…and now release for 15-20 seconds. Feel the tension in these muscles disappear.
  12. Thighs. Now bring your awareness to your thigh muscles. Try not to contract your stomach muscles as you consciously tighten your upper thigh muscles. Hold, hold hold…and now release for 15-20 seconds. Feel the tension in the thigh muscles dissipate.
  13. Calves. Now bring your focus to your calf muscles. Consciously tighten your calf muscles by pointing your toes. Hold, hold hold…and now release for 15-20 seconds. Feel the tension in the calf muscles flow away.
  14. Feet. Now bring your focus of attention to your feet. Tighten your feet by curling your toes toward the ground. Hold, hold and hold some more…and now release for 15-20 seconds. Feel the tension in the feet flow away.
  15. Mentally scan your body for any residual tension. If you find a muscle group with residual tension then tense and relax this area again.
  16. Feel a wave of relaxation, from the top of your head to the tip of your toes. When you are ready bring your awareness back to your breath and slowly open your eyes.

This entire progressive muscle relaxation sequence should take you 15-25 minutes.

Cautions for Progressive Muscle Relaxation
1. Prior to practicing progressive muscle relaxation please consult your local medical professional. This is emphasized especially if you have a history of injuries, back problems, or muscle spasms. PMR could aggravate these existing conditions.
2. Please do not contract muscles that are cramped, in pain or strained.
3. Even short isometric contractions of muscles can increase systolic and diastolic blood pressure. People with hypertension should not use PMR.
4. This site is for information purposes only. If you decide to continue with this exercise you do so at your own risk.

In my practice I often combine progressive muscle relaxation with visualization to enhance the feeling of relaxation.

You may want to record the above progressive muscle relaxation script onto an audio cassette or mp3 player.

If you liked this progressive muscle relaxation script then you may also like these progressive relaxation downloads.

Search here for more relaxation exercises

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