What is Progressive Muscle Relaxation – HEROINE


There are many ways to relax to deal with stress. And progressive muscle relaxation is one of them. Moreover, it is beneficial not only for reducing anxiety, but also for overall health. About how it affects the body and how to perform it correctly, read this material.

What is progressive muscle relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation is a specialized technique that involves sequentially tensing and relaxing muscles throughout the body. It helps reduce stress, anxiety and anxiety. It also promotes relaxation.

The technique was invented by American doctor Edmund Jacobson in the 1920s. It was based on the assumption that experiences that activate the body’s response to stress and the feeling of relaxation are opposite phenomena of the mind. They cannot be experienced at the same time. Therefore, by practicing relaxation, you can reduce anxiety and other negative feelings that accompany a stressful state.

Benefits of muscle relaxation

Initially, this technique was developed in order to cope with anxiety. But over time, it has established itself as a technique that has a complex positive effect on health.

For example, according to a study conducted in Indonesia in 2018, muscle relaxation improved the condition of people with hypertension. This technique helped lower blood pressure and heart rate.

Muscle relaxation also improves the quality of sleep. This conclusion was reached by scientists from China in 2020. Their study showed that this technique helped people suffering from insomnia and frequent awakenings in the middle of the night. Sleep came faster, was deep and calm, and awakening was easy.

Muscle relaxation is also beneficial for irritable bowel syndrome, according to a 2014 South Korean study. The results showed that participants who regularly practiced this technique experienced a 0.38% reduction in IBS symptoms.

And according to a report from the Migraine Foundation of America, progressive muscle relaxation can also help those suffering from headaches. It helps to reduce discomfort and reduce the frequency of their occurrence.

How to perform progressive muscle relaxation

It is necessary to perform this technique in a calm, quiet environment so that you can concentrate on your sensations and breathing.

When you tense your muscles, you need to take a deep breath through your nose, and when you relax, exhale. You do not need to hold your breath, otherwise you will not be able to relax and relaxation will be ineffective.

Before you begin, think about where you feel the most tension in your body. Often it appears in the neck, shoulders, lumbar region, legs. Areas with the highest stress will need to be given special attention.

Get into a comfortable lying or sitting position. Let your whole body relax and “go soft”. Take a few deep breaths, think about something pleasant, or try to get rid of thoughts in your head, as in meditation.

Begin to perform muscle relaxation from the legs. Point your feet down, bending your toes under you. You should feel the tension and hold the position for a few seconds as you inhale. Then exhale and relax your muscles. Repeat the movements several times, for example, three or five – determine how many approaches to do for each part of the body, depending on the degree of its tension.

Next, you need to repeat the tension and relaxation in the calf muscles, and then move on to the knees. Press them firmly against each other for a few seconds, and then relax your legs.

Move on to the thighs and gluteal muscles. You can tense the left and right sides of the body alternately or simultaneously. Repeat the same with the gluteal muscles.

After you have completed the relaxation for the lower body, move on to the abdomen. Tighten your abdominal muscles, stay in this position for five seconds and relax. Repeat steps three times.

Then tighten your chest muscles. This is especially important if you often feel tightness in your chest or have problems with your posture.

Then move on to your hands. Start with your hands – tightly clench them into fists, and then relax. This exercise is especially important for those who work long hours at the computer or have carpal tunnel syndrome.

Next, tighten your forearms and shoulders. Try to keep your back straight.

In the end, pay attention to the face. Put your lips together and stretch them out as if you want to kiss someone. Stay in this position for a few moments. Then open and close your mouth three times. And then raise your eyebrows, as if very surprised and relax them.

It’s okay if at first it will be difficult for you to control your muscles and you will not be able to feel them everywhere. Try not to be nervous and listen to your feelings again and again. If you practice muscle relaxation regularly, over time you will learn to feel your muscles better and control your body. The main thing in this technique is to do everything slowly, calmly and concentrate on the sensations, and not on the thoughts in your head.

Read related:Myoclonus: why involuntary muscle contraction occurs

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