Progressive Muscle Relaxation

If your body has been besieged by pain, it may be hard for you to recall what it feels like to have relaxed muscles. All you feel is muscle pain, which has been made worse by your constant clenching and contracting. For some people, progressive muscle relaxation can help you learn the difference between tense and relaxed muscles. Done regularly and correctly, this practice can help you train your muscles to relax.

The technique was developed in 1929 by a psychologist from Chicago named Edward Jacobson, who detailed how to do progressive muscle relaxation. He said it impossible to feel physical pain if the muscles in our body are completely relaxed. Mastering progressive muscle relaxation takes practice, however, especially if you are in pain. Here's how to do it:

  • Locate a quiet place and get into a comfortable position.

  • Close your eyes.

  • Begin by tensing up your toes for five seconds. Then relax them. Notice the different sensation between tensing and relaxing.

  • Progressively move up the body, alternating between tensing, or clenching, and relaxing.

  • Continue all the way up to your head, making sure to also include your shoulders and jaw.

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