by Robert S. Dinsmoor
A relaxation technique that involves tensing and relaxing the muscles of each part of the body, one part at a time. Typically, practicing progressive muscle relaxation starts with sitting or reclining in a quiet, comfortable setting with one’s shoes off. The muscles in one area of the body are tensed for 5–8 seconds, and then the tension is released before you move on to the next area. A typical practice might go something like this: P>
Some sources recommend doing progressive muscle relaxation twice a day, at least initially. Progressive muscle relaxation helps teach you to relax in part by helping you recognize the difference between tense and relaxed muscles. Eventually, you may learn to enter a relaxed state without having to do the progressive relaxation exercise.
Last Reviewed December 15, 2010
Robert S. Dinsmoor is a medical writer and editor based in Massachusetts.
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