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Quick Progressive Muscle Relaxation script

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is a stress management technique developed by Edmund Jacobson, Physical Therapist in early 1920s. According to Jacobson, since mental stress and anxiety accompanies muscular tension, one can reduce stress and anxiety by learning to relax muscle tension. Jacobson's Progressive Muscle Relaxation (JPMR) technique (exercise/therapy) is still popular among modern physiotherapists as well as psychotherapists.

Benefits of Progressive Muscle Relaxation: PMR for Anxiety & Sleep

Progressive muscle relaxation or PMR, can be utilized to reach a deep state of calm, as maintenance in a relaxation program, or to help induce sleep.

PMR can bring a multitude of benefits beyond short-term relaxation, ranging from relief for tension headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia (sleep problems), digestive issues, stress reactions, anxiety (e.g. test anxiety or fear of flying), and other stress/anxiety related symptoms.

How to do Progressive Muscle Relaxation

PMR works by first tensing various muscle groups for 5-7 seconds, bringing your awareness to how the muscles feel tensed, and then relaxing them suddenly bringing your awareness to how the muscles now feel relaxed.

Sit in a comfortable chair. It would be ideal that has armrests. It can be done lying on a bed as well. Get as comfortable as possible (do not use shoes or tight clothing). Do not cross your legs. Take a complete deep breath. Do it very slowly. Alternately tense each specific muscle group for about 5-7 seconds and relax. You should concentrate on feeling the muscles, specifically the contrast between tension and relaxation.

Quick Progressive Muscle Relaxation script (Script 1)

Pay attention to your Hands.

Clench your fists, tighten and tense. Extend the fingers and relax afterwards.

Pause for about 5 - 10 seconds…

Pay attention to your Biceps and Triceps.

Tense the biceps and triceps folding the arms in the opposite direction than usual. Then relax.

Pause for about 5 - 10 seconds…

Pay attention to your Shoulders.

Pull them up carefully and then relax.

Pause for about 5 - 10 seconds…

Pay attention to your Neck (lateral).

With shoulders straight and relaxed, bend your head slowly to the right as far as possible, then relax. Do the same for the left.

Pause for about 5 - 10 seconds…

Pay attention to your Neck (forward).

Bring your chin to your chest, then relax. (bringing your head back is not recommended).

Pause for about 5 - 10 seconds…

Pay attention to your Tongue.

Press your tongue against the palate and then relax. Press against the floor of the mouth, then relax.

Pause for about 5 - 10 seconds…

Pay attention to your Eyes.

Open as much as possible and relax. Be sure you are completely relaxed - eyes, forehead and nose.

Pay attention to your Breath.

Inhale as deeply as possible, and then take a little more, then exhale. Then breathe normally for about 15 seconds. After throwing as much air as possible, expire a little more. Breathe normally for 15 seconds.

Pay attention to your Back.

With shoulders resting on the back of the chair, pull your body forward so that your back is arched. Then relax.

Pause for about 5 - 10 seconds…

Pay attention to your Buttocks.

Tense and elevate the pelvis out of the chair, then relax. Squeeze your buttocks against the chair. Then relax.

Pause for about 5 - 10 seconds…

Pay attention to your Thighs.

Extend legs and raise them 10 cm. Do not tighten your stomach. Then relax. Tighten your feet on the floor, relax.

Pause for about 5 - 10 seconds…

Pay attention to your Stomach.

Pull it in as much as possible, tightening the muscles. Then relax.

Pause for about 5 - 10 seconds…

Pay attention to your Feet.

Tighten your fingers (without raising the legs); relax. Point fingers up as much as possible, then relax.

Pause for about 5 - 10 seconds…

Pay attention to your Fingers of the legs.

With legs relaxed, squeeze your fingers against the floor, relax. Bend your fingers up as much as possible, relax.

Quick Progressive Muscle Relaxation script (Script 2)

Ball up your left fist, tighter and tighter, feel the tension and then release and relax your fingers. Feel the relaxation in your hand and fingers, then repeat the exercise with your right hand and then with both hands.

Bend your elbow and tighten your biceps. Tense tighter and tighter and feel the tension. Then straighten your arm, release and feel the difference. Now tighten the other biceps and then both arms at once, and release. Repeat.

Press your feet and toes against the floor and feel the tension in your calf muscles. Curl the tip of your toes up towards your shin and feel the tension in the lower legs. Release and feel the difference. Repeat.

Squeeze your buttocks and thighs and feel the tension. Press your heels against the floor as hard as possible. Release, feel the difference, and repeat.

Tense your abdominal muscles and feel them tighten; release, breathe in and out against your abdominal wall. Repeat.

Furrow your brows by drawing the forehead muscles upwards to create horizontal lines. Hold for five seconds, then release and feel your forehead become smooth and your scalp relax.

Draw your eyebrows together and feel the tension. Release and relax the eyebrow area.

Squint your eyes tightly, then release and repeat the exercise.

Clench your teeth together tightly and clench your jaw muscles. Feel the tension in the jaw and then release. Same with the lips: Press them together tightly, hold, and release and feel the difference.

Push your head back as far as possible and feel the tension in the back of your neck, then release. Focus on the difference and repeat the exercise.

Now raise your shoulders up high and higher, hold the tension and release.

To complete the exercise, speed up your breath slightly, allow the energy to flow back into your arms and legs, stretch them out, open your eyes and feel the full effect of your relaxation.

Note : Do the process of tensing various muscles without straining - just contract each muscle firmly but gently as you breathe in. If you feel uncomfortable at any time, simply relax and breathe normally.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation for Kids

Today’s kids are under an increasing amount of stress and pressure. A fast-paced environment and overexposure to media means that many children don’t know how to relax. The tension reinforces the stress so that they barely know moments of calmness.

This affects their health as well as their ability to concentrate. They perform less well at school, become apathetic and lack energy. The consequences can go as far as behavioral disorders and severe phobias.

Progressive muscle relaxation, as developed by Doctor Edmund Jacobson, helps restless and stressed children relax their body. They learn to pay attention to their own needs and to recognize when the tension becomes too much.

Introducing the PMR therapy in a playful way

Progressive muscle relaxation is especially well suited for kids. Unlike adults, however, children do require constant guidance. While adults can follow the therapist’s instructions and perform the exercises, kids often don’t understand what is expected of them and have trouble comprehending why they need to do the exercises. This is why it’s important to introduce them to the therapy in a playful manner. The introduction should be both entertaining and calming in order to give the child the chance to actually relax.

Telling little stories in which the child has to perform certain tasks can help the child get into a fantasy world mindset. The child should be in a comfortable seated position on a chair or lying on a soft mat or a recliner. The therapist narrates a story and integrates the various exercises into the plot. The child must ball up their fists, raise their shoulders up to their ears and do other tasks. It is crucial to always resolve the tension to create a contrast between tension and relaxation. A calm voice and an undisturbed space to carry out the progressive muscle relaxation exercises are required. The story should be emotionally captivating but not overly exciting or suspenseful.

Practicing the PMR exercise

Another way of teaching PMR to children is to integrate individual tense-and-release sequences into a gymnastics lesson, until the child has learnt what is expected of him. The therapist stands in front of the child or the group and shows them how to do the exercises, then encourages the children to imitate them. Making these initiation exercises as entertaining as possible means the kids will enjoy them more and thus be more motivated in the long term. A child who has understood the concept of the session will soon be willing to cooperate on their own terms.

Children need sensitive therapists

Unlike adults who practice progressive muscle relaxation, children require a more empathetic and sensitive treatment approach. Adults are generally self-driven because they wish to change their situation, but children are usually made to participate by their parents. This is why most children should not be expected to cooperate willingly at first. With the right preparation, kids can learn to do progressive muscle relaxation without any help or assistance. The best way to motivate a child is to make them realize how they benefit from the exercises.

Benefits of Progressive Muscle Relaxation for Kids

The success stories of progressive muscle relaxation speak for themselves. Most children become more balanced and less nervous and tense very quickly. They are better able to sleep through the night, meaning they are better rested and ready for the school day and able to perform better in class. Progressive muscle relaxation is often used as a complimentary treatment along with behavioral therapy, and its positive effects are especially noticeable with children who are displaying behavioral problems. Therefore progressive muscle relaxation as invented by Jacobson is especially well suited for children.

   See also: Relaxation Techniques to Reduce Stress and Anxiety

Conclusion

Learning the basics of Progressive Muscle Relaxation Technique is not difficult, but it takes practice to harness its stress-relieving power. Stress experts advise stress people to set aside at least 20 minutes a day for your relaxation. The best way to maintain PMRT is to incorporate and adjust it into your daily routine.

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