What is Progressive Muscle Relaxation?
Strong feelings and emotions tend to store themselves in our body and when we experience heightened states like anxiety, nervousness, stress, and anger, it can leave us feeling so tense that we are unable to remember what it feels like to be relaxed.
If we sit on these feelings, the experience of tension can become our normal.
Stress, fear, and anxiety like to reside in the neck, shoulders, stomach, and jaw. Anger and frustration may present in the lower back. Burnout and fatigue may present in areas all over the body, the head in the form of headaches and migraines, the chest in the form of tightness, and general aches, pains and muscle tension.
People turn to many methods to help relieve stress, whether that be receiving a massage, going to a yoga class, or having a laugh with a friend. Tuning into the body enables us to dip into that toolbox of strategies to aid in the release of tension.
A strategy that may be utilised, and can be pulled from our internal resource toolbox, is that of Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR). PMR involves progressively scanning the body by tensing, holding, and releasing one muscle group at a time. The technique builds on the theory that when you are physically relaxed, it’s difficult to feel anxious, fostering the cultivation of deep physical and mental relaxation.
PMR has proven highly effective at relieving symptoms that arise from several conditions, including anxiety, insomnia, stress, headaches, and high blood pressure. PMR is best done lying down with an ability to scan the entirety of our body. Each muscle should be slowly tensed, but not to the point of pain or strain.
While PMR can provide an immediate feeling of relaxation, it is best to practice frequently. Learning to relax the body is a skill, requiring practice and relaxation. This technique can be used as a preventative (listening in the morning when you wake) or as treatment (when you are experiencing heightened feelings like anxiety and stress).
Get in touch with us to learn this valuable skill. Our clinicians are highly trained and skilled in teaching PMR.