Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is one of the simplest and easiest to learn techniques for relaxation. PMR was originally used to treat symptoms of anxiety, but more recently it has been found to be effective for treating tension headaches, migraines, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), neck pain, insomnia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, backaches, and high blood pressure.
PMR is a two-step relaxation practice to reduce stress and build awareness of sensations of tension and deep relaxation. The first step is to create tension in specific muscle groups and notice what tension feels like in this body part. The second step is to then release this muscle tension and notice what a relaxed muscle feels like as the tension drains away. We live in stressful times. PMR can help you recognize muscles in a state of tension throughout your day, and after a few practices, incorporate letting go of tension regularly. PMR can be a good addition to traditional treatments and medications for pain. There are multiple guided sessions available on YouTube for practice. If any of the exercises cause discomfort or cramping, ease up, stop or skip this body part entirely so as not to exacerbate any pre-existing injury or cause pain. Take care and be well.
–Alice Wong, NP