by Jacobson in 1939, Progressive Muscular Relaxation (PMR) is a widely used
procedure today. It causes deep muscular relaxation in muscle groups,
tensed under stressful conditions. Muscular tension produces aches and pains,
particularly in the neck and back. For many individuals, the shoulder
muscles provides a kind of internal thermometer for the tension level. If you
tell yourself regularly to "drop your shoulders," you will be
surprised to find how often there is something to drop!!!!!!
the pendulum method - if you want the pendulum to swing in a particular
direction, then you first have to pull it back in the opposite direction and
then let go. Similarly in Progressive Muscular Relaxation, first you
deliberately apply tension to certain muscle groups, and then you let go, and
turn your attention to noticing how the muscles relax as the tension flows
away. The aim is to work systematically through the body, and it is usual to
start with the hands, work up to the shoulders, then back to the feet and up
to the shoulders again, leaving the face and neck to last. There is no reason
to suppose that you have to rigidly stick to a particular order, but it might
be difficult to start with areas in which physical and emotional tension seem
to concentrate, such as the shoulders, neck and face.
Before practicing PMR, you should consult with your physician if you have a
history of serious injuries, muscle spasms, or back problems.
two steps in the self-administered Progressive Muscle Relaxation procedure:
One: Tension - The process of applying tension to a muscle is essentially
the same regardless of which muscle group you are using. First, focus your
mind on the muscle group; for example, your right hand. Then inhale and simply
squeeze the muscles as hard as you can and hold to the count of 5; in the
example, this would involve making a tight fist with your hand.
Beginners usually make the mistake of allowing muscles other than the intended
group to tense as well; in the example, this would mean that there will be a
tendency to tense muscles in your right arm and shoulder along with those of
the right hand. With practice you will learn to make very fine discriminations
among muscles; for the moment just do the best you can.
important to really feel the tension. Done properly, the tension procedure
will cause the muscles to start to shake, and you might feel some pain but
don't over do it.
Be careful not to hurt yourself, as
compared to feeling mild pain. Contracting the muscles in your feet and
your back, especially, can cause serious problems if not done carefully;
i.e., gently but deliberately.
Two: Releasing the Tension- This is the best part because it is
actually pleasurable. After the count to 5, just suddenly but gently let go.
Let all the tightness and pain flow out of the muscles as you simultaneously
exhale. In the example, this would be imagining tightness and pain flowing out
of your hand through your fingertips as you exhale. Feel the muscles relax and
become loose and limp, tension flowing away like water out of a faucet. Focus
on and notice the difference between tension and relaxation.
The point here is to really focus on the change that occurs as the tension is
let go. Do this very deliberately, because you are trying to learn to make
some very subtle distinctions between muscular tension and muscular
relaxed for about 15 seconds, and then repeat the tension-relaxation cycle.
You’ll probably notice more sensations the second time.
It is of utmost important to coordinate your breathing with the tension
relaxation cycle. Every time you let go, exhale and feel the tension go out
from the concerned muscle group along with the outgoing breath. The breathing
must be relaxed and preferably abdominal.
Here is an
order that we find easy to remember which will help you not to forget any
Clench the fists.
Tighten biceps and lower arms together, without the hands.
Raise your shoulders as if they could touch your ears.
Screw up your toes.
of legs: Point your foot away from you so that it is almost parallel with
of Legs: Flex your feet upwards, stretching your heels down.
Tighten them while pressing your knees down into the floor.
Clench your buttocks together.
Hold your stomach muscles in tight.
Back: Press the small of your back into the floor.
Breath in, hold your breath, and tighten all your chest muscles.
Breath in, hold your breath and raise your shoulders as if to touch your
your head up, as if your chin could touch the ceiling.
your head forward until your chin reaches your chest.
and Jaw: Press your lips together and clench your teeth.
Close them up tight.
and scalp: Raise your eyebrows as if they could disappear.
Screw all the muscles up together.
learning the full PMR procedure, you will spend about 10 minutes a day
maintaining your proficiency by practicing a shortened form of the procedure.
But in the beginning it might take longer and it would be a good idea to tense
and relax one limb at a time instead of both together. With time and practice,
approximately 3 to 6 weeks, you may shorten the exercise gradually. For
example, you could try collapsing some of the muscle groups until you only
work on your arms, legs, abdomen, chest and face. Ultimately, you will acquire
something that will probably become an indispensable part of your daily life,
and the initial drudgery of practice will be long-forgotten.
recommended that you practice full PMR twice a day for about a week before
moving on to the shortened form. Of course, the time needed to master the full
PMR procedure varies from person to person.
some suggestions for practice:
practice full PMR in a quiet place, alone, with no electronic
distractions, not even background music.
your shoes and wear loose clothing.
eating, smoking, or drinking. It’s best to practice before meals rather
than after, for the sake of your digestive processes. Never practice after
using any intoxicants.
a comfortable chair if possible. You may practice lying down, but this
increases the likelihood of falling asleep.
fall asleep, give yourself credit for the work you did up to the point of
practice in bed at night, plan on falling asleep before you complete your
cycle. Therefore, consider a practice session at night, in bed, to be in
addition to your basic practice.
you finish a session, relax with your eyes closed for a few seconds, and
then get up slowly. (Orthostatic hypotension—a sudden drop in
blood pressure due to standing up quickly—can cause you to faint.) Some
people like to count backwards from 5 to 1, timed to slow, deep breathing,
and then say, “Eyes open. Supremely calm. Fully alert.”
Give PMR a
shot ! It only takes a few minutes out of your day; and the rewards of
enhanced recovery, better muscle control and the ability to more effectively
manage stress are well worth the investment.
If you continue with this procedure, you do so at your own risk. Twilight
Bridge cannot be held responsible in any way for any consequences arising out
of practicing Progressive Muscular Relaxation. The information given is
strictly for personal use. Reproduction in any form is a legal offence.