Progressive Muscle Relaxation

By Team Felicity
Thu May 13 2021


By Raavi Rehman, MA in Clinical Psychology

Want to relieve anxiety at home in a matter of minutes

The first one to come up with this relaxation technique was Dr. Edmund  Jacobson, he noticed that a lot of his patients suffered from muscle pain and tension. Even when asked to relaxed they seemed detached from their physical tension and were unable to release it.

This technique is often combined with breathing exercises or mental imagery. It can be done by starting at the head or feet and working your way down or 
up the body, as required.

When used on a regular basis, it can help you control the physical effects of stress. It also has therapeutic benefits for conditions like high blood pressure and migraines. It also has benefits for the following issues:

Anxiety: It has been shown in several research papers that this relaxation technique helps with anxiety. People with disorders like general anxiety disorder, stress-related disorders are also known to benefit from this. 

Sleep: Sleep is always better when the body is relaxed. Thus, people facing issues like not being able to initiate or maintain sleep can try this technique every day to see results.

How is it done?

Jacobson’s progressive muscle relaxation can be practised in two ways:

  1. Whole-body technique
  2. Localised technique, This form can be used for specific purposes like a relaxation focussed on vocal cords for singers, for helping with anxiety and panic disorders the whole-body technique works best!

For the activities given below refer to the time duration on the upper right corner of the box, the purpose of focussing on each body part is to feel the tension (5secs) and the relaxation (10 secs) and to become aware of the difference in the muscles when relaxed and when tensed.