Progressive Muscular Relaxation

Progressive Muscular Relaxation

Progressive Muscular relaxation is the contraction of muscles groups for short periods of time, followed by relaxation, and then further relaxation of the same muscle group. Progressive muscular relaxation is a technique to increase both physical and mental relaxation and thus, to relieve physical and mental stress. There is no equipment needed, only loose clothing. Therefore, there is also no cost involved.

Technique of Progressive Muscular Relaxation

Progressive muscular relaxation is the tensing or tightening of a muscle group, holding that group of muscles in that state for about a few (5 to 10) seconds, and then relaxing that muscle group. After relaxing that muscle group, one tenses and then relaxes the same muscle group further. That’s why the action is called progressive.

Doing this activity over all muscle groups in the body can increase total body relaxation, and thus reduce stress.

It is wise to first start holding the muscle contraction for 5 seconds, and gradually increase the cycles to 10 seconds over time as one gets more skilled with the activity.

Progressive muscular relaxation can be done anywhere, and without using special equipment.

Physical and Mental Benefits of Deep Breathing

Slowing of the heart rate
Lowering of the blood pressure
Slowing of the breathing 
Reducing the need for oxygen
Increasing the blood flow to major muscle groups
Reducing muscle tension

Other Benefits

No equipment needed
No cost involved
Can be done almost anywhere


As with any exercise program, the most difficult thing is to do the activity repeatedly. The only requirement to do progressive muscle relaxation is DESIRE. By doing it, one can decrease stress without having to spend money. 

By Kathleen R Watson M.D. 
Editor,  by our Fitness Branch Editor,Health Power’s Food and Fitness Channel