Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is a technique that systematically relaxes your body and is a proven stress management technique. Here we provide a relaxation script for your use.
PMR works by reducing physical tension.
How often have you heard someone say, "Just relax"?
It could be your coach who sees you tensing up before a big match, your dentist telling you to relax when you hear the whirl of the drill, or a family member or work colleague who can see your frustration and tension.
While plenty of people have probably told you to relax, few are likely to show you how to relax.
Progressive relaxation is a simple and effective way to relax your body and reduce muscle tension.
Here we provide you with:
What is progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)
Progressive relaxation, also known as neuromuscular relaxation or Jacobsonian relaxation was developed in the 1930’s by Dr Edmund Jacobson.
In his book, Progressive Relaxation, he describes how he first used progressive relaxation techniques with patients who appeared physically tense.
He discovered that he could induce nerve-muscle relaxation through progressive relaxation – a process of tensing and relaxing different muscle groups.
While he developed over 200 different muscle relaxation exercises and a training program that took several weeks to complete, most current day progressive relaxation exercises that I and other professionals do take roughly 15-20 minutes.
This deep muscle relaxation technique is a two-step process that involves:
The goal of this relaxation technique is to be able to recognize some of the signs of stress, such as tension in the body, and to let the tension flow out of your body.
Benefits of Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Do you spend a large chunk of your day hunched over a keyboard or desk?
Have you noticed that you carry the tension in our shoulders, neck, or back after a stressful day?
Excessive muscle tension and accumulated tension are common symptoms of stress.
This accumulated tension can add up and cause a number of stress-related illnesses and increased fatigue and exhaustion.
Dr Jacobson spent several decades collecting data on the effectiveness of these muscle relaxation techniques.
Progressive relaxation activates the relaxation response and protects you from stress and promotes relaxation.
Physical benefits of muscle relaxation
One client that I used PMR techniques with has found that he can rid himself of stress headaches (or tension headaches), while another finds that he is less tense and anxious in sessions after 15 minutes of PMR.
Research shows that progressive relaxation has been used as part of a treatment strategy for:
Biofeedback research on various muscle groups, such as the lower back, shoulder, neck, jaw and forehead, has shown that tension significantly decreased following PMR exercises.
Psychological benefits of muscle relaxation
Research has also shown that this technique can be used to control muscle tension associated with anger. It could also be used in conjunction with these anger management tips.
"There is no place for a tense mind in a relaxed body" Edmund Jacobson
The sporting research shows that PMR has also helped athletes improve their sporting performance, with baseball batters performing better under stress than their teammates who did not practice PMR.
When I have used PMR with athletes I have found that it is a great tool for them to relax and recognize excess muscle tension.
It also gives them practical ways to find their optimal muscle tension for their sport.If you are interested in progressive muscle relaxation you may be interested in these progressive relaxation downloads.
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