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Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Development

The method of progressive muscle relaxation traces back to the American physiologist Edmund Jacobson (1885 – 1976). During physical examinations he realised that all the feelings of restlessness and excitement accompany a considerable increase in muscle tension.  Fear, for e.g. automatically tenses parts of the skeletal muscles; however fear can be reversed if muscle tension is decreased. Relaxation of the skeletal muscles involves further relaxing processes in the vegetative nervous system such as lower blood pressure, reduced heart rate and slower breathing. The progressive muscle relaxation technique therefore leads to the same autonomous changes as experienced for e.g. in autogenic training.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Technique

Progressive muscle relaxation is a relaxation technique that is easy to learn and it can be used without making a great effort. It is based on the principle of tensing and relaxation. First of all, certain muscle groups are tensed and then relaxed again. Switching between tensing and relaxing enables the experience of intensive relaxation. A state of peace and calmness is reached.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Application

Nowadays progressive muscle relaxation is applied for a variety of problems including stress, insomnia, nervousness and muscle tension. 

Progressive muscle relaxation is easier to learn than autogenic training. During progressive muscle relaxation muscles used as the starting point for the entire relaxation.


The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook


New Directions in Progressive Relaxation Training: A Guidebook for Helping Professionals



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