What is Progressive Relaxation?

Developed by Edmund Jacobson in 1929, progressive relaxation is a series of sequential muscle

 relaxation exercises.[1]

 Four muscle groups which are usually included are:

1. Hands, forearms and biceps...

2. Head, face, throat and shoulders, including concentration on forehead, cheeks nose, eyes, jaws, lips, tongue and neck....

3. Chest, stomach and lower back....

4. Thighs, buttocks, calves and feet....

        An abbreviated version of Progressive Relaxation may read as the following:

Curl both fists, now tighten the biceps and forearms as tight as possible. Hold them for 10-20 seconds. Now relax them. Next wrinkle up the forehead. Simultaneously, press your head back as far as possible and roll it in a clockwise fashion. Now reverse the head roll. Now wrinkle up the muscles of your face like a walnut. Now relax them. Arch your back, but be careful if you have a bad back, and now take a deep breath. Press out the stomach, Now relax it. Put both feet flat on the floor and now pull your toes back toward your face as far as possible. Tighten your shins. Now your calves, thighs, and buttocks. Now relax them. (Between intervals of muscle groups and exercises allow 20 to 30 seconds.)

Keep a daily log of your relaxation practice.

Relaxation Journal

Time of Day________
Biodot color at:
Beginning of Session______
End of Session______


1. Brian L. Seaward, Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Wellbeing 3rd ed., Boston: Jones Bartlett and Publishers,2002, pp 423-428

Email: rbrehm@msn.com  Copyright 1998  [Robert Brehm]. All rights reserved.