Monday Sep 25, 2023

Progressive Muscle Relaxation


Progressive muscle relaxation [PMR] is a relaxation technique of stress management developed by American physician Edmund Jacobson in 1934. This progressive muscle relaxation technique is focused on tensing and releasing tensions in the 16 different muscle groups. Jacobson reasoned that since muscular tension is usually followed as a by product of anxiety, one can lower 厚木市 リラクゼーション  and reduce anxiety by understanding and learning how to self relax those muscular tension. (McCallie et al., 2006)

Joseph Wolpe (Conrad and Roth, 2006 ) further adjusted this technique for use with systematic desensitization in 1948. Subsequently, both Bernstein and Borkovec in 1973 (Bernstein and Borkovec, 1973) came out with adjustments to the technique to suit cognitive behavioral stress management. Empirical proofs also supports the use of progressive muscle relaxation in high level tension responses and mind body techniques such as: irritable bowel syndrome, insomnia, reducing tension headaches, adjunct treatment in cancer and chronic pain management in inflammatory arthritis. (McCallie et al., 2006)

Let us take a closer look at what exactly is progressive muscle relaxation and how does this technique work. The idea behind progressive muscle relaxation is simply that of isolating one muscle group at a time, then intentionally creating muscle tension for 8-10 seconds, and then allowing the muscle to totally relax so as to release the tensions.

Taking for instance, when we take our right hand and tighten it into a fist with all our force, we can feel the muscle tension slowly increase in our hand and all the way up to the forearm. The longer we hold the tension and force, the more tense the arm becomes. The body will then become conscious that it does not feel comfortable in this position at all, where pain might even start to occur.

The above demonstrates an instance of intentionally exaggerated muscle tension in the body. When such tension exists around the forehead, one would usually experience headache and if it is around the neck area, a neck ache would be experienced. When the body continued to hold the muscle tension and then all at once, relax and totally let go, a difference will be felt when the hand is allowed to flop down onto the lap. The muscles around the arm now start to relax, and the muscle tension slowly flows away and disappears.

Based on the principle of muscle physiology, this process of relaxation is proven to work. The muscle has to relax whenever tension is being created in a muscle and then release. This happens because the muscle does not have a choice and it must react in this manner.

The interesting part of this process is that the muscle will not only quickly relax back to its pre-tensed state, and when it is allowed to rest, the muscle will become even more relaxed that it was before the tension was created. When this procedure of creating tension in the muscles and then releasing of the tension is applied to every major muscle group of the body, all of these muscles will become more relaxed prior to the beginning.

The main idea to initiating the relaxation response in this way is to take control of the voluntary muscles through creation of tension in them, followed by forcing them into a state of relaxation. When the body is aware of the presence of the tension, it will respond by triggering the muscles to relax, where the rest of the other components of the relaxation response will naturally follow.

Lesser oxygen is needed for relaxed muscle and hence the rate of breathing is slow. Since the heart does not require to be beating so fast to supply oxygen out to tense muscles, heart rate and blood pressure decline. Thus the normal blood flow will returns to the belly and digestion resumes where the belly is calmed and also the hands and feet are warmed up. As a result, this series of body adaptations all occur and fall naturally into place as the voluntary muscles are being directed into a state of relaxation, and changes in mood followed which make the body feeling calm and refreshed.

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