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Stress is a part of our everyday lives. It can be positive or negative but it cannot be eliminated keeping stress at a manageable level is a lifelong process. Relaxation therapy is an effective means of reducing the stress response in some individuals. The degree of anxiety that an individual experiences in response to stress is related to certain predisposing factors, such as characteristics of temperament with which he or she was born, past experiences resulting in learned patterns of responding and existing conditions such as health status, coping strategies and adequate support systems. Various methods of relaxation therapy are presented

  • Deep breathing exercises: relaxation is accomplished by allowing the lungs to breathe in as much oxygen as possible. Air is breathed in slowly through the nose, held for a few seconds, and then exhaled slowly through the mouth. Breathing exercises have been found to be effective in reducing anxiety, depression, irritability, muscular tension and fatigue. An advantage of this type of exercise is that it can be accomplished anywhere at any time
  • Progressive relaxation: each muscle group is tensed for 5-7 seconds and then relaxed for 20-30 seconds during which time the individual concentrates on the difference in sensation between two conditions. Excellent results have been observed with this method in the treatment of muscular tension, anxiety, insomnia, depression, fatigue, muscle spasms, neck and back pain, high blood pressure, etc
  • Modified (or passive) progressive relaxation: relaxation is achieved with this method by passive/concentrating on the feeling of relaxation within the muscle groups
  • Meditation: the goal of meditation is to gain “mastery over attention”. The basic component of meditation includes – a quiet environment, a passive attitude, a comfortable position and a word or scene to focus on. It has been used successfully in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, obsessive thinking, anxiety, and depression
  • Mental imagery: this method of relaxation employs the imagination in an effort to reduce the body’s response to stress. The individual follows his or her imagination in selecting an environment considered to be relaxing, and then concentrates on this relaxing image in an effort to achieve relaxation. Some might select a scene at the seashore, a mountain atmosphere or floating through the air in a white fluffy cloud. Soft background music enhances the effect
  • Biofeedback: biofeedback uses a machine to reduce anxiety and modify behavioral responses. Small electrodes connected to the biofeedback equipment are attached to the patient’s forehead. Brain waves, muscle tension, body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure can be monitored for small changes. These changes are communicated to the patient by auditory and visual means. The more relaxed the patient becomes, the more pleasant are the sounds and sights presented. These pleasant sights and sounds stops when the patient stops relaxing and they resume when the patient reach the relaxed state. It has been used successfully in treating hypertension, migraine headaches, muscle spasms/pain, anxiety, phobias, stuttering and teeth grinding
  • Physical exercise: physical exercise provides a natural outlet for the tension produced by the body. Following exercise, physiological equilibrium is restored resulting in a feeling of relaxation and revitalization. It helps in strengthening cardiovascular system, prevent obesity, relieve muscular tension, and prevent muscle spasms. Reduces anxiety and depressions


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