Given the hustle and bustle you go through almost every day, a relaxation routine is quite suitable.
Yes, stress and anxiety could take a toll on you, and one of the ways your body reacts is by the muscles being tensed up.
However, a progressive muscle relaxation method is quite handy in relieving you of that tension.
In subsequent paragraphs, you shall be walked through how to go about muscle relaxation exercises.
Before we go into the steps involved, let us consider the various body parts you shall be working on while practicing the muscle relaxation technique.
- The forehead
- The shoulders and neck
- The jaw
- The buttocks
- The arms and hands
- The legs
- The feet
The Body Parts Involved in Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Nothing beats exercising in a calm, quiet place, wouldn’t you say? A place void of distractions is a perfect spot to rock those muscles for relaxation.
You can lie on the floor, or you can lean back on a comfy chair, loosen or remove any tight clothing that might get in your way, and remove your contacts or glasses (if you’re wearing any).
Take deep, slow, and even breaths. Yes, diaphragmatic breathing is best done before you begin. Now, give the following areas your sole focus and ensure you keep your other body parts relaxed.
The forehead: Squeeze the muscles situated in the forehead and ensure you hold it for up to 15 seconds. You should feel the muscles getting tensed and tightened.
While counting for 30 seconds, slowly release the tension in your forehead. If you do this correctly, you will surely notice the difference in your muscles. They’ll feel completely relaxed.
Take deep, slow, and even breaths.
The shoulders and neck:
To boost the tension in your shoulders and neck, raise both your shoulders close to your ears and remain in that position for 15 seconds.
After that, release the pressure slowly within 30 seconds. You can count to keep track of time. The feeling of relaxation will surely hit you.
The jaw: Tense and squeeze the jaw muscles for up to 15 seconds. Afterward, release while counting for 30 seconds. You’ll feel relaxed around that region. Take slow and even breaths.
The arms and hands:
Clench both your hands tightly into fists, hold them to your chests, and remain in that position for 15 seconds. Ensure you clench your fists as tight as possible.
Then, release it while counting for 30 seconds. As you feel relaxed, take slow and even breaths.
The buttocks: Squeeze the muscles in your buttocks for up to 15 seconds. Then, release slowly while counting for 30 seconds. As the tension leaves, you’ll feel relaxed. Take easy breaths afterward.
Slowly squeeze the muscles in your calves and quadriceps for over 15 seconds. Then, slowly release them while counting for 30 seconds. The tension will surely be replaced with a feeling of relaxation.
The feet: Enhance the tension in the toes and feet by tightening the muscles. Ensure you tighten them as much as possible. Then, while releasing the tension, count for 30 seconds. You’ll feel relaxed afterward.
Essentials for Muscle Relaxation
Here are some natural muscle relaxers that you can add to your muscle relaxation exercise.
Blueberries: They are great sources of polyphenols and antioxidants, and they have anti-inflammatory effects. They help in relaxing the muscles after exercise.
Protein: Taking enough protein after exercise helps in the reduction of muscle inflammation.
Magnesium: It is quite essential for almost all bodily functions. To be precise, it helps in freeing muscle contractions.
Curcumin: Cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric all contain curcumin, which aids in relaxing the muscles.
Other things you will need for muscle relaxation include:
A calm and quiet environment: As earlier mentioned, this is of the utmost importance. It helps you to have a proper focus.
An HD gym mirror: Yes, this also plays a major role in your exercise in front of a home gym mirror. While practicing muscle relaxation, will be more effective if you see yourself doing it. Thus, you’ll know if you are getting the positions or moves right. More so, it will also enhance your focus.
Techniques Involved in Muscle Relaxation
To carry out the muscle relaxation processes properly, some techniques are highly needed.
Some recommended techniques are:
This is a technique and a necessity for muscle relaxation. It is easy to learn, can be practiced anywhere and you can check out your stress levels with it.
It is one of the strong prerequisites for many exercising techniques.
This is a form of traditional meditation in which a peaceful scene is imagined: a scene where you are free to let go of any distraction, obstruction, stress, and anxiety.
In your mind, you can choose a calm and quiet setting and imagine being there.
To aid your imagination, you can use an app or an audio download.
This is another technique you can explore for muscle relaxation. What you can get at a professional spa is at least a fragment of that on your couch or bed before you sleep after a hectic day.
To make the self-massage quite suiting, you can use scented lotions and aromatic oils.
Rhythmic and mindful exercise:
Yes, rhythmic exercise works wonders given the fact that there is a flow of repetitive movement. With this, you can attain relaxation. Rhythmic exercises you can try include:
All these techniques can be harnessed for muscle relaxation.
Precautions to Take Care of While Practicing Muscle Relaxation
As much as progressive muscle relaxation can be quite helpful in the treatment of a plethora of anxiety and stress-related illnesses, it could be unsafe for people with underlying health complications.
Yes, people that suffer from severe physical or mental health defects should see their health care providers.
This is to ensure there is no harm. The progressive muscle relaxation method is safe for those that are healthy and have no underlying health challenges.
Sandra is a health blogger based in San Diego, California. She is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. She loves being outdoors and exploring new places with her husband. She is a mom of two awesome kids and a dog named Luna!