What Is Progressive Muscle Relaxation, And How Can It Benefit Us?

It's normal to experience stress occasionally. However, if your stress intensifies or persists for a while, you risk holding the tension in your muscles. You might not even be aware that your muscles are tense. Progressive muscle relaxation, sometimes referred to as Jacobson's relaxation technique, is one method for reducing muscle tension. One at a time and in a specified manner, you tighten and relax each muscle group as part of the progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) therapy technique.

Your muscles should feel less tense while also being more aware of how that tightness feels. Regular use of this strategy could aid you in controlling the negative physical impacts of stress. Additionally, studies show that it offers therapeutic advantages for ailments like migraines, high blood pressure, and sleep problems.

Here, let's dive deeper into PMR, its advantages, and how to use this technique.

What Exactly Is Progressive Muscle Relaxation?

In the 1920s, American physician Edmund Jacobson developed PMR. The idea behind it was that physical relaxation might encourage mental tranquility. Jacobson discovered that by tensing and then releasing a muscle, you might relax it. He also found that it may calm the mind.

A framework for obtaining this level of relaxation is provided by PMR. You must concentrate on one muscle group at a time. This makes it possible for you to feel the tension there. Additionally, it's crucial to contract each muscle group before relaxing it. This activity highlights the relaxed vibe in the neighbourhood.

What Are The Advantages?

The advantages of PMR for health are well-supported by research. Let's examine what research has shown regarding the advantages of this method in more detail.

Enhances Sleep

Because PMR relaxes you, it might also improve your sleep. Researchers examined PMR on 80 burn patients in a 2020 trial. Due to their psychological and physical circumstances, these patients frequently have significant anxiety levels and poor sleep.

Two groups of patients were created. For three days in a row, one group engaged in PMR for 20 to 30 minutes each day. The other group received only standard medical attention. The researchers found that the patients who underwent PMR demonstrated a substantial reduction in anxiety and an increase in sleep quality compared to the group who just received regular treatment after three days.

Lowers Tension And Anxiety

One of the main advantages of PMR is the reduction of anxiety. This comprises anxiety brought on by a stressful situation or generalised anxiety disorder. 

In a 2019 study including 50 unemployed people, it was discovered that PMR decreased the signs of stress, anxiety, and depression. It also improved one's quality of life and overall sense of well-being.

Reduces Neck Discomfort

You may experience neck pain if you frequently hold stress in your shoulders or neck. It's a widespread illness that is frequently linked to mental and emotional strain. 

A 2013 study found that PMR may help lessen the signs and symptoms of persistent nonspecific neck discomfort. Additionally, it might enhance bodily performance and quality of life in the process. 

Stabilises Systolic Blood Pressure

Your risk of heart disease and stroke increases if you have hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. PMR may assist, but stress can make the issue worse.

A 2019 study found that PMR combined with music therapy reduced systolic blood pressure in older people.

Decreases Lower Back Pain

Low back discomfort is another typical condition. Although there are numerous potential causes, stress can exacerbate them. According to a 2018 study, PMR for eight weeks may lessen chronic low back pain. 

Reduces Migraine Attacks

A neurological disorder called migraines makes your face and head ache terribly. Stress, especially typical everyday pressures, can cause migraine attacks. 

A 2016 study found that PMR can lessen the frequency of migraine attacks. The neurotransmitter serotonin, which is frequently low in those with migraine, is thought to aid by regulating the levels of other neurotransmitters.


Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a kind of relaxation method that can aid in easing the signs and symptoms of stress. Individual muscles must be tensed, then released, one at a time. This slows breathing, focuses attention on the current moment, and triggers the relaxation response within the body. 

There are a variety of additional relaxation methods and therapies to attempt if the exercise is ineffective. Please also note that PMR does not replace existing medical treatment prescribed to you.

Finding a calm area, sitting or lying down, and then progressively tensing and relaxing muscles from the feet up to the head is how people might practice PMR at home. Try the video below for a guided PMR session hosted by Elroy 'Spoonface' Powell.


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