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Progressive Muscle Relaxation:

Just Ten Minutes to Better Health



Relaxation techniques such as Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) are great for your health on all levels. (Scroll down to learn the technique.)

Woman relaxing, photo

While PMR works most obviously on the physical body, it has benefits for our minds, hearts, and energy fields as well.

A relaxed, peaceful energy field feels very different from a tense, anxious, stressed energy field. To me, a relaxed field feels very smooth, while a tense, anxious field usually feels spiky and electrical. Our energy can better maintain its optimal state of balance and flow when we're relaxed, and can respond better to things as they arise.

On a physical level, relaxation feels great and allows our bodies’ natural self-healing and restoration processes to work like they’re supposed to.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation is an extremely effective technique for releasing the tension that gets lodged in our muscles. Often we don't even know that we are holding tension in various parts of our body.   

Progressive Muscle Relaxation helps you learn to be aware of when your muscles are tense, and how to let them go  voluntarily. 

The physical relaxation induces psychological and energetic calm as well. Your breathing slows down, and your brain stops whirring.  Peace at last!

PMR is a two-step process.  You tense and then release your muscles, working systematically through the muscle groups of the entire body.  The whole process usually takes about ten minutes. You can spare that!


Getting Ready

  • Find a quiet place where you will be undisturbed. You should have as little background noise as possible, not even music.
  • Wear comfortable clothing; remove your shoes.

  • Never practice after using any intoxicants.
  • Sit in a comfortable chair if possible. You’re less likely to fall asleep than if you’re lying down.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Tense and Release Procedure

Step 1: Tension

First, focus on the first group, e.g your right foot. Inhaling deeply, tense the muscles for 8-10 seconds.

Step 2: Releasing the Tension

After the 8-10 seconds of tension, quickly let the muscle go, exhaling at the same time. Let the muscle relax as completely as possible, becoming heavy and limp. You might want to imagine the tension and effort draining out of the body part, like water out of a faucet, and into the ground.

Notice the difference between a state of tension and relaxation in those muscles.

Stay relaxed for about 15 seconds, and then repeat the tense and release process with the same muscle group.

Then move on to the next group, working your way systematically through the whole body.


The Sequence

Take yourself through the two-step procedure in the following order.

The order doesn’t really matter, it’s just good to be systematic so you don’t skip anything and you don’t have to think about it. Feel free to fine-tune the list, so that you spend more attention on areas where you need it.

  • Right foot
  • Right lower leg & foot
  • Entire right leg
  • Left foot
  • Left lower leg & foot
  • Entire left leg
  • Right hand
  • Right forearm and hand
  • Entire right arm
  • Left hand
  • Left forearm & hand
  • Entire left arm
  • Abdomen
  • Chest
  • Lower back
  • Upper back
  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Face

Afterward

After you finish a session, rest with your eyes closed for a few seconds, and then get up slowly.

Try to maintain a deep, even rhythm of breathing to prolong your peaceful state.


Important

If you have a history of serious injuries, muscle spasms, or back problems, you should check with your doctor before doing Progressive Muscle Relaxation. The muscle tensing could worsen these issues.





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