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Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Are you suffering from stress and anxiety? Progressive Muscle Relaxation may help you to restore your physical and emotional well-being. This technique is quick and easy to learn, which makes it a great addition to your treatment program. PMR is a suitable complementary treatment for psychological conditions as well as physical ailments. Try it out to experience the benefits for yourself.

What is Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)?

Progressive muscle relaxation is a useful technique that can be used to relieve stress. The simplicity of this technique makes it an appealing option for people who are suffering from anxiety or insomnia. PMR can also be used to cope with some types of chronic pain. PMR involves tensing and releasing muscles groups. Muscle groups are tensed separately and then released to enter the relaxation phase. Medical professionals have used this technique in combination with traditional treatment to help people to manage headaches as well as to find relief from digestive problems. PMR can also play a role in managing cancer pain. Edmund Jacobson explained this technique during the 1930s and its founded on his belief that physical relaxation promotes mental calmness.

What Can PMR Help With?

While this technique can help with specific physical and mental concerns, it has benefits for almost everyone. With our busy lifestyles, most people need to incorporate relaxation techniques into their daily routine to release stress.

Physical Concerns

Progressive muscle relaxation can be used in conjunction with pharmaceutical medicine to treat physical ailments. If you’re experiencing physical pain, it’s advisable to seek advice from your medical professional to find out whether this is a suitable technique for you or not. While its best to seek medical advice, the risks of PMR are low and it has the advantage of not presenting any interaction risks with pharmaceutical medicine.

Stress Management

tress is an epidemic in our modern society. It’s important to learn strategies to cope with the pressures of our busy lifestyles. Prolonged stress can lead to emotional and physical problems so it’s advisable to take time out to relax. Progressive muscle relaxation is an effective technique to release tension in the body, which often results in improved mental calmness.

Mental Concerns

PMR may be helpful as a complementary treatment for a range of psychological challenges. If you’re trying to stop smoking, this technique can help you to cope with the symptoms of withdrawal. People who are struggling with schizophrenia may find that PMR makes a great addition to their treatment program. This technique can help to reduce the stress and anxiety that can be associated with this psychological condition. Progressive muscle relaxation may help to bring relief from insomnia. Practicing this technique at night can help you to feel relaxed enough to drift off into sleep. People who are struggling with dementia often suffer from anxiety. PMR can be a useful strategy to relieve tension and promote a relaxed mind in these instances.

How to Get Started with PMR

Are you wondering how to get started? We are here to help! An advantage of progressive muscle relaxation is that it requires a minimal investment of time and money. It’s easy to learn the abbreviated form of this technique so that you can practice it at home by yourself.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Breathing

Breathing exercises are an effective relaxation technique in themselves. When combined with tensing and releasing your muscles, deep breathing is particularly effective. As you tense your muscles on an inhalation bring attention to your breath. Connecting to the rhythm of your breath promotes relaxation. You can enhance the effectiveness of your PMR practice by taking deep breaths before you begin tensing your muscles. Start by focusing on your regular breathing pattern and noticing each breath. Once you’ve brought your attention to your breath, you can start to extend your inhalations and exhalations. When you’re using deep breathing to relax, you’ll need to breathe from your diaphragm.

Muscle Groups

It’s advisable to tense and release the muscle groups in order from your toes and ending with your face. To get started, change into comfy clothes and find a good spot to try the technique sitting up or lying down. Make sure that you put your phone on silent and remove all distractions before you begin. On an inhale, tense one muscle group and after 5 or 10 seconds release the muscles again. It’s important not to tense the muscle groups to the point of pain. Focus on any changes that you feel in your body after tensing and releasing your muscles. Once the process is complete, you would have tensed and relaxed your whole body.

Mindfulness

To increase the impact of the PMR process, you can use a visualization to imagine stress leaving your body. Paying attention to your body in this manner helps you to connect with your body so that you can take better care of it. As you continue to tense and release each muscle group, you’ll go deeper into this practice. Learning to acknowledge and attend to tensions in your body puts you on the right track to maintaining your mental and physical well-being.

Daily Practice

You only need to put aside 10 to 20 minutes a day to reap the benefits of this technique and you can practice it from the comfort of your own home. Getting into the routine of a daily practice will help you to cope when stressful situations arise at work or in your personal life. If you’re looking for additional guidance, you can find PMR scripts and audios online. Most therapists are also trained in PMR if you find yourself in need of some more advanced guidance.

This technique can also have benefits for children as well as teenagers. You can even consider setting aside time each day for your whole family to practice PMR.

Now that you know more about progressive muscle relaxation, you can start to benefit from this technique. Whether you’re struggling with a psychological condition or physical ailment, you may find that PMR is a useful addition to your treatment program.

Resources

  1. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/muscle-relaxation-for-stress-insomnia
  2. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/uz2225
  3. https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/progressive-muscle-relaxation-pmr/
  4. http://www.rochester.edu/uhs/ucc/self-help-and-online-screening-resources/deep-breathing-techniques/
About The Author Jenna-Lee Strugnell
 

Jenna-Lee Strugnell holds Honors in Psychology from Rhodes University as well as a BA in Psychology and English. She is the founder and director of the non-profit organization, Tales of Turning, which uses narrative therapy to support mothers in under-resourced communities. Jenna-Lee has training in narrative therapy, counseling, brain gym, applied behavior analysis and social entrepreneurship. She is dedicated to combining her passion for psychology with her love of writing to produce informative content for therapeutic contexts as well as for the non-profit sector. Blog: https://talesofturning.co.za/blog-page/

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