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Progressive & Passive Muscle Relaxation

Therapists often teach Progressive & Passive Muscle Relaxation to treat patients with anxiety and stress-related symptoms. Both can induce the relaxation response, with one requiring mental and physical activity, and the other just mental activity. For a relatively simple technique, the list of benefits shown in research is surprising:

  • dr. martinImproved sleep
  • Less back and neck pain
  • Reduced feelings of anxiety, anger, and tension
  • Lower systolic blood pressure
  • Lessened TMJ symptoms
  • Decreased frequency of migraine headaches
  • Reduction in panic attacks
  • Lessening of depression symptoms
  • Improved Cardiovascular health

Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) – PMP was developed by an American physician in the 1920s, who observed that progressively and intentionally tensing and then relaxing a muscle group would result in mental relaxation as well. The key to the practice is to tense one muscle group at a time and to hold the tension for a full five seconds before relaxing for 15-20 seconds. It is important not to hold your breath and to exhale deeply, especially during the relaxation of the muscle group. Then, you can move to the next muscle group and repeat.

Passive Muscle Relaxation – (PassMR) – PassMR was developed by a cardiologist at Harvard in the 1970s after doing research on relaxation. While similar to Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR), PassMR does not require the physical tensing of muscle groups, but instead uses the power of suggestion and the brain to relax the body, one area at a time.

It is important to wear comfortable clothing, to adopt a comfortable position, and to be in an environment as free from distraction as possible. These relaxation techniques are teachable skills which require practice to master.

To schedule an appointment for Progressive & Passive Muscle Relaxation Training, please call 757-596-1900 or click here to self-schedule. You do not have to be an Orthopaedic or Interventional Pain Management patient at OSC to schedule a consultation with Dr. Martin.

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