Progressive muscle relaxation, or diaphragmatic breathing, is a very simple process of tensing and releasing selected muscles in order to relax and provide a state of total relaxation in the body. Why not give it a try?
This technique was extended by the American physician Edmund Jacobson in the early 1920s.
Dr. Jacobson wrote several books on the subject of progressive relaxation. The technique involves learning to control the tension in each specific muscle group in the body by deliberately inducing tension in each group. This tension is then released, paying attention to the difference between tension and relaxation.
How can progressive muscle relaxation help with stress?
During relaxation, the larger muscle groups of the arms and legs, as well as the muscles of the chest and back are flooded with oxygen-rich blood. The brain sends indications to the muscles to be “ready for any situation”, and that is what often makes them tense.
When the call to action does not arrive, there is nothing to release the tension. This often leads to muscle aches and knots. Progressive muscle relaxation consists in tensing and relaxing these muscles thus discharging any tension that has been retained in the muscle.
Is there anything else I can prove besides this technique?
Of course! Try diaphragmatic breathing or yoga. Both are excellent ways to help you relax. But do not give up progressive muscle relaxation. It really works. If you feel silly, make sure you are doing it alone. One of the best times is when you are lying in bed about to go to sleep. We must have the lights off so nobody bothers.
I tried progressive muscle relaxation, but I do not think it works. What am I doing wrong?
If you are tensing your muscles and keep the tension for a maximum of 10 seconds and then release then you are doing it correctly. However, you must “tune” your muscles and your body to get an idea of how much tension they might have. Try to be patient and continue to practice progressive muscle relaxation. Your benefits may be more subtle than what you are expecting.
These learning sessions are not exercises or self-hypnosis
The “Biofeedback” is a modification of this technique in which one uses external measuring devices to indicate the success of relaxation at rest and then those techniques are used to relax without the help of external measuring devices.