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Relaxation technique

A Relaxation technique (also known as Relaxation training) is any method, process, procedure, or activity that helps a person to relax; to attain a state of increased calmness; or otherwise reduce levels of anxiety, stress or tension. Relaxation techniques are often employed as one element of a wider stress management program and can decrease muscle tension, lower the blood pressure and slow heart and breath rates, among other health benefits.[1]



Since the 1960s, research has indicated strong correlations between chronic stress and physical and emotional health. Meditation was among the first relaxation techniques shown to have a measurable effect on stress reduction. In the 1970s, self-help books teaching relaxation techniques began to appear on bestsellers lists. In 1975, The Relaxation Response by Harvard Medical School professor Herbert Benson, MD and Miriam Z. Klipper was published. Their book has been credited with popularizing meditation in the United States.[citation needed]

Research released in the 1980s indicated stronger ties between stress and health and showed benefits from a wider range of relaxation techniques than had been previously known. This research received national media attention, including a New York Times article in 1986[1] Conventional medical philosophy adopted the concept and its early Twenty-first Century practitioners recommend using relaxation techniques to improve patient outcomes in many situations.[citation needed] Relaxation techniques are also a mainstay of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Six out of ten of the most commonly used CAM therapies are relaxation techniques.


People use relaxation techniques for the following reasons, among others:


A range of techniques are used by individuals to improve their state of relaxation. Some of the methods are performed alone, and some require the help of another person, often a trained professional; some involve movement, while some focus on stillness; and some methods involve other elements.

Certain relaxation techniques known as "formal and passive relaxation exercises" are generally performed while sitting or lying quietly, with minimal movement and involve "a degree of withdrawal".[2] These include Autogenic training, Biofeedback, Deep breathing, Meditation, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Pranayama, and Visualization.

Movement-based relaxation methods incorporate Exercise such as walking, gardening, yoga, Tai chi, Qigong, and more. Some forms of bodywork are helpful in promoting a state of increased relaxation. Examples include massage, acupuncture, the Feldenkrais method and Reflexology.

Some relaxation methods can also be used during other activities, for example, Autosuggestion and Prayer. At least one study has suggested that listening to certain types of music, particularly New Age music and classical music, can increase feelings associated with relaxation, such as peacefulness and a sense of ease.[3] Homeopathy has been used to support relaxation, and some find Humor to be helpful.


  1. ^ a b Relaxation: surprising benefits detected by Daniel Goleman, The New York Times, May 13, 1986, retrieved May 23, 2006.
  2. ^ Lehrer, Paul M.; David H. (FRW) Barlow, Robert L. Woolfolk, Wesley E. Sime (2007). Principles and Practice of Stress Management, Third Edition, p38. ISBN 159385000X. 
  3. ^ Lehrer, Paul M.; David H. (FRW) Barlow, Robert L. Woolfolk, Wesley E. Sime (2007). Principles and Practice of Stress Management, Third Edition, p46-47. ISBN 159385000X. 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Relaxation_technique". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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