What is it?

Relaxation can take many forms and therapies can differ in origins, philosophy and method. The goal is to achieve a sense of relaxation and inner peace. Relaxation therapies can be divided into three main groups; those that focus largely on bodily sensations and manipulation such as progressive muscle relaxation, those that focus on mental manipulation such as self hypnosis and finally a combination of the two such as in mindfulness.

Relaxation can be done by the individual alone, in a group or can be administered by someone else such as in message. Other examples include; meditation, deep breathing, paced respiration and yoga. With all relaxation techniques practice improves ones ability to get benefit from the relaxation. Often one technique is preferred to others by individuals, so one should try other types of relaxation if one technique doesn’t suit.

Why use relaxation techniques?

Relaxation therapies can help manage stress, help control pain, can with sleep problems, can reduce anxiety and can help regulate emotions so we feel more in control.

Commonly recommended techniques.

  • Mindfulness, focuses on body sensations and thoughts that occur in the moment. The person learns to become more aware and reconnect with their sensations and thoughts.
  • Yoga, originating from Buddhism it is a bodily discipline that focuses the body and mind. Controlled breathing and slow, deliberate movements and postures are used.
  • Progressive muscle relaxation, a person is tensing and relaxing different major muscle groups usually starting in the arms and led and moving to the head and neck and torso muscle groups. Many scripts and professional CD can be found to lead you through this technique.
  • Transcendental meditation, a person focuses on a sound or thought. A word, mantra, or sound is repeated many times in an attempt to enter a trance like state of relaxation.