Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique for achieving a deep state of calm. The technique was developed by Dr. Edmund Jacobson in the 1930's and described in his book Progressive Relaxation.

This technique can relax the body within minutes, however at the beginning it takes practice to learn to release the muscles. Once your body knows how to tense and relax muscles you can relieve tension and stress on the spot.

Progressive muscle relaxation is based on a fact that complete physical relaxation is the absence of tension. If you are completely relaxed it is impossible to be tense and anxious. Progressive muscle relaxation can help you achieve a state of profound physical relaxation by soothing the chronic muscle tension that keeps the sympathetic nervous system in overdrive.

16 muscle groups are a focus of training "tense and release"
1. dominant hand and forearm
2. dominant upper arm
3. nondominant hand and forearm
4. nondominant upper arm
5. forehead
6. upper cheeks and nose
7. lower face
8. neck
9. chest, shoulders, and upper back
10. abdomen
11. dominant upper leg
12. dominant calf
13. dominant foot
14. nondominant upper leg
15. nondominant calf
16. nondominant foot

Some practitioners teach shortened versions where muscle groups are combined, for example into four groups:

  1. arms and hands
  2. face and neck
  3. chest, shoulders, back, abdomen
  4. legs and feet


Body awareness

We often become so accustomed to physical tension in our bodies that we literally do not know that it is there. Progressive Muscle Relaxation teaches you to recognize the difference between tension and relaxation in your body and with this awarenss you get a choice on how you want to be.








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