When people think about muscles, they think about strength. However, muscles have two jobs: to contract and to relax. Muscle contraction causes the muscle fibers to shorten in length, pulling the attached bones with it. This muscle action is the bases of all skeletal movement. If the muscle does not relax after contraction, it is considered hypertonic, spastic or over-active. Hypertonicity causes the skeleton to get stuck in all sorts of abnormal positions and postures. And hypertonicity leads to joint pain. In combination with muscle weakness, hypertonicity amounts to poorly functioning muscles. Muscle therapy is meant address such weakness and hypertonicity in order to create better muscle function and improve painful conditions like shoulder tendonitis, neck pain, and back pain.
Many types of muscle therapy do a great job improving strength, but neglect the relaxation component of muscle function. On the other hand, there are a handful of muscle therapies which induce the ...
What is PMR?
Progressive Muscle Relaxation is an amazing tool that can help you relax and experience feelings of warmth and well-being. It can also teach you to recognize the difference between the sensations of tension and relaxation. PMR is a simple process of tensing and releasing muscles in your body.
When done properly, PMR will reduce pulse rate, blood pressure, and decrease respiration and perspiration rates. In other words, it lowers anxiety levels!
All of us need to work towards a lifestyle of greater relaxation. However, if you are suffering from anxiety, depression , irritable bowel syndrome, or insomnia , PMR can provide some much needed relief.
How to do PMR
When I teach my clients PMR, we generally focus on four major muscle groups:
1. Head, face, throat and shoulders
2. Biceps, forearms, hands
I mentioned in my post about breathing exercises that I should write a post about my experience with asthma, anxiety, and relaxation exercises. That time has arrived.
Studies have linked asthma with anxiety disorders, and as a lifelong asthmatic I can tell you I've had my share of anxiety. This was especially true when I was a kid. Something what really helped me to control my anxiety was a method called Progressive Muscle Relaxation . The stress of an asthma attack in itself can cause anxiety. Yet new wisdom confirms that anxiety may exists even while asthma is controlled, or even if asthma goes into hibernation. In fact, anxiety is up to six times more likely in asthmatics than non-asthmatics. The reason the link remains a mystery. Likewise, it's not known if asthma came first or if the anxiety came first. Regardless, I remember my first bout with anxiety/ depression. It came in November of 1976. I was a six year old kid and my great grandpa passed away. I r...
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