Progressive Muscle Relaxation


Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a relaxation technique in which you intentionally tense and release certain muscles in the body. With practice, you learn to notice the difference between tension and relaxation in the body. Studies have shown that this awareness and control can help those who deal with anxiety and insomnia.

How To

Before you begin, ensure that you are in a comfortable and distraction-free space where you will be able to focus on this process for around 15 minutes. Sit or lie down, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a two-step process: first the tension and then the release.

Step 1 – Tense

Think about and focus on the particular body part. Inhale and apply tension to the muscles of that particular body part by squeezing it for about 5 seconds while continuing to breathe. Really work to only allow the muscles of that body part to tense and not any surrounding muscles.

Step 2 – Release

Now release the muscles of the particular body part as quickly as you can while exhaling. Allow the muscles to become loose and the body part to go limp. Focus on this feeling and the difference between the previous feeling of tension. Stay released for about 15 seconds before moving on to the next body part’s muscle group.

Order of Muscle Groups

Begin at the bottom of your body and work your way up as follows:
-lower leg
-entire leg
-repeat on the other side of the body
-repeat on the other side
-neck and shoulders

Once you’ve gone through all the muscle groups, allow yourself to enjoy this state of deep relaxation. It is recommended when beginning Progressive Muscle Relaxation to practice this process twice a day for a couple weeks. There are CDs and YouTube videos which can guide you through the process as well if desired.

Okanagan Clinical Counselling Services provides comprehensive counselling services as well as a wide variety of specialty programs, subsidies, and workshops to best help our patients. Our counsellors specialize in concerns such as depression, anxiety, addictions, eating disorders and more. Please contact us today to learn more about our services, weekend/evening appointments, and sliding fee scale.  Okanagan Clinical Counselling Services has three locations throughout the Okanagan in Penticton, Kelowna, and West Kelowna for your convenience.

This blog post was written by OCCS’s Clinical Counsellor:

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