Wellness lexicon

Progressive muscle relaxation after Jacobson

The progressive muscle relaxation after Jacobson (PMR) is a technique to release muscle tension. The idea is that when concentrating on the tension felt in the different muscles, the person starts to feel the whole body relax. The aim of progressive muscle relaxation after Jacobson is to be aware of muscle tension and then release it.

The American doctor and physiologist Edmund Jacobson (1885-1976) found that even a person who is completely calm and relaxed can still suffer from muscle tension, which has a negative effect on the body and mind. However, he also found in some cases that there was almost completely no muscle tension at all if the person was deeply relaxed.

Progressive muscle relaxation is easy to learn; it doesn’t require much effort and can be done any time making it easy to fit into everyday life. It is usually practised in groups whilst lying down wearing loose clothing. With eyes closed and breathing gently, you concentrate on body parts where there is tension and discomfort. Specific muscle areas will be tensed one by one and then released again. These changes should be noticed consciously and then repeated. The increased tension causes a boost in blood supply to some body parts, which might lead to a feeling of warmth, heaviness and tiredness during the relaxation phases. To finish off, you are required to count backwards, take a deep breath and finally, open your eyes.

Progressive muscle relaxation after Jacobson is often used to release stress or to alleviate nervousness and anxiety. It is also used to help treat psychosomatic disorders, sleep disorders, muscle tension and severe headaches. 

Related topics: Zilgrei method , Autogenic training

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