Stress Relief Exercises header Relieving Stress By Exercise navigation top
 
Stress Relief Exercises
Stress Relief Articles
 


Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a relaxation technique used to release stress. It can relax the muscles and lower blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation is the tensing and then relaxing each muscle group of the body, one group at a time. Though this technique is simple it may take several sessions before it is 'mastered.'

Some people prefer to listen to an audiotape (or CD or mp3) that guides one through progressive muscle relaxation. The scripts are usually about 20 minutes long.

Progressive muscle relaxation may be done sitting or lying down.

Tense up a group of muscles - tense hard but don't strain - and hold for about 5-10 seconds. Release the tension from the muscles all at once. Stay relaxed for 10 - 20 seconds.

Some people prefer to count, for example:

Tense for count of 5
Release all at once
Rest for count of 10
...or
Tense for count of 10
Release all at once
Rest for count of 20

Pay close attention to the feeling of relaxation when you release the contracted muscles.

When going through the muscle groups, some people start with the hands, others with the feet. You may do one side of the body (hand, arm, leg, foot) at a time or do both sides at the same time. Listening to a prerecorded script that guides you through the process is helpful.

Sample of Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercise:

• Hands - Clench fists
  tense for 5, release, rest for 10

• Right forearms and hands - Extend arm, elbow locked, and bend hand back at the wrist
  tense for 5, release, rest for 10

• Upper right arm - Bend arms at elbows and flex biceps
  tense for 5, release, rest for 10

• Forehead - wrinkle forehead into frown, tense, release, rest, and/or raise eyebrows
  tense for 5, release, rest for 10

• Eyes - close eyes tightly, hold and release
  tense for 5, release, rest for 10

• Mouth - press lips tightly together
  tense for 5, release, rest for 10

• Jaw - open mouth wide and stick out tongue
  tense for 5, release, rest for 10

• Buttocks - tense
  tense for 5, release, rest for 10

• Abdomen
  tense for 5, release, rest for 10

• Chest
  tense for 5, release, rest for 10

• Back - arch back
  tense for 5, release, rest for 10

• Neck and shoulders
  tense for 5, release, rest for 10

• Thighs
  tense for 5, release, rest for 10

• Lower legs and feet - Point toes toward shin
  tense for 5, release, rest for 10

• Feet - Point toes and curl them under
  tense for 5, release, rest for 10

You may repeat relaxing and tensing muscle groups that have you have already done to relax them further.

Other relaxation techniques that can be self-taught are deep breathing and meditation.

Top ^

© 2004-2011 stress-relief-exercises.com. All Rights Reserved / Progressive Muscle Relaxation