7 TYPES OF RELAXATION TECHNIQUES




 

7 TYPES OF RELAXATION TECHNIQUES

 

 

 

Who doesn’t like unwinding after a hectic day at work?

Well we all do!

 

There are so many ways to help you relax and this article is designed to help you become more familiar with 7 relaxation techniques which, if practiced regularly, can produce a positive physiological response and assist in countering stress. These techniques are most effective when accompanied by regular exercise, a nutritious diet and a positive mental attitude.

 

 

1. Yoga

The literal translation for yoga means the connection between mind, spirit and body. It is a system of exercises or poses (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayamas), and meditation used to attain bodily and mental control for well-being.

The literal translation for yoga means the connection between mind, spirit and body. It is a system of exercises or poses (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayamas), and meditation used to attain bodily and mental control for well-being.

Physiologically, it benefits the nervous and respiratory systems and is known to decrease the symptoms of numerous aliments including allergies, stress, depression, and anxiety. The psychology of yoga provides many techniques for resolving conflicts, adapting to change, exploring alternatives, and working things out in a calm, objective manner.

And, although it is not used so much in western practices, spirituality has traditionally been an underlying theme amongst yoga practioners.

 

Yoga, although not a fat burning exercise, boasts the following benefits:

 

  • Improves posture and balance
  • Assist in digestion and elimination
  • Improves sleep
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Reduces stress and depression
  • Improves concentration and memory
  • Increases flexibility, strength, energy and agility

 

 

2. Meditation

Meditation may improve health by lowering blood pressure, alleviating insomnia, reducing stress and improving memory. Many women claim that they feel younger, happier, and more alert from meditating.

Anyone who has ever practiced meditation can tell you of the many benefits it has to offer. Meditation may improve health by lowering blood pressure, alleviating insomnia, reducing stress and improving memory. Many women claim that they feel younger, happier, and more alert from meditating.

The following is a basic meditation that can be practiced for just a few minutes as a recharge during the day or for up to 20 minutes for complete relaxation.

  1. Find a quiet and comfortable place to sit.
  2. You can either close your eyes or just let your eyes drop to where they are comfortable and allow them to gaze, without focusing on anything.
  3. Focus on your breathing for 30 seconds or so. Allow the air to enter through your nose and leave through your mouth.
  4. Relax your muscles, starting with your facial muscles and work your way down your neck, through your limbs and trunk and to your toes.
  5. Become aware of your thoughts. If you are feeling stress or anxiety, take 3 or 4 deep inhalations, hold them for 10 seconds and with each exhalation, try to let go of the emotion.
  6. Once you feel calm, picture a peaceful setting like a beach, the wilderness or a lake. See yourself there, content in this setting. Stay there for a moment.
  7. Gradually allow your attention to return to your surroundings and open your eyes.

Note: It is common, especially if you are new to meditation, to find your thoughts wandering in different directions or focusing on a sound in your environment. Try putting on some relaxing music or gently bring your thoughts back to your meditation focal point.

 

 

 

3. Massage

Massage is the manipulation of soft body tissue with the hands, fingers, elbows and/or feet by rubbing or kneading movements.

Massage is the manipulation of soft body tissue with the hands, fingers, elbows and/or feet by rubbing or kneading movements. Massage can be applied by a qualified massage therapist, lay person or by yourself. Try using aromatic essential oils to enhance the experience.

 

There are several types of massage, each with its own technique and benefits.

 

Acupressure

Acupressure, like acupuncture, applies pressure to certain points but with the fingertips rather than needles.

 

Shiatsu

Similar to acupressure, shiatsu uses the fingertips as well as hands, knees, elbows or feet to apply pressure.

 

Reflexology

Reflexology is a type of massage using pressure points in the hands and feet.

 

Swedish massage

The most popular method of massage used today, Swedish massage uses long strokes, kneading and tapping of the muscles and soft tissue.

 

Rolfing

Rolfing is aimed at working the deeper soft tissues of the joints and at realigning or straightening posture. It works specifically on the connective tissue around the muscles and tends to be somewhat painful. Hellerwork is a type of Rolfing which boasts dramatic results in breaking bad posture habits. Aston Patterning is another offshoot of Rolfing.

 

Deep Tissue Massage

The deeper muscles and the individual muscle fibers are the target here. Massage therapists use fingers, thumbs and even elbows to apply pressure. Neuromuscluar massage is one form of deep tissue massage that is applied to individual muscles to increase blood flow and reduce tension.

 

Sports Massage

The techniques of sports massage are similar to those in Swedish and deep tissue massage but has been adapted to help warm up muscles before exercise and aid in relaxation before and after competitions.

 

Craniosacral Therapy

Here the focus is entirely on the skull and spinal column. The pressure used is very gentle and is used to reduce tension caused by cranial trauma.

 

Feldenkrais

This type of therapy may benefit people who have had a stroke or an accident. It treats everybody differently using a range of postures and movement patterns.

 

Trager

Another method used for injuries is Trager, which uses gentle, rocking massage to release the body’s past harms or injuries. The idea is to make people more aware of their bodies, particularly the way they move and hold themselves as a result of the injury. This “freeing up” also rids people of the emotional stress associated with the injury.

 

Bowen Technique

This method of massage incorporates rest periods between a series of massage movements within a treatment session to allow the body to absorb the healing process.

 

Core Energetics

This is a technique where spirituality is an important element in the healing process. The core represents the higher self and the patient is encouraged to identify their core energy and feelings.

 

Lymph Massage

Lymph massage is a specific technique that massages the lymph nodes and lymph system using light strokes. The strokes are always with the muscle fiber, rather than cross-fiber, because the lymph system runs in the same direction as the muscle fiber. This is an excellent method for eliminating toxins.

 

Pregnancy Massage

This massage relieves the tensions and aches caused by pregnancy and shift in the center of gravity to the body and may assist reducing the effects of edema and a fatigue.

 

Reiki

Reiki is a healing technique which places the hands gently in specific positions either on or above the body. This laying-on of hands is designed to relieve pain and restore vitality.

 

Therapeutic Touch

Therapeutic Touch touches the energy field around the body. It is based on the theory that the human energy field extends beyond the skin and flows in balanced patterns in health but is depleted and/or unbalanced in illness or injury.

 

 

 

4. Aromatherapy

For centuries people have derived therapeutic benefits from aromatherapy to both their physical and psychological well-being.

Aromatherapy consists of highly concentrated aromatic oils which are distilled from different plants, fruits, wood and roots and then mixed with carrier oils which consist of pure vegetable oils such as almond or grape seed oil. For centuries people have derived therapeutic benefits from aromatherapy to both their physical and psychological well-being. For maximum benefit, ensure that the essential oils you purchase contain no chemical or artificial ingredients.

 

There are many ways to use essential oils for their fragrance and balancing properties.

 

Aroma

The easiest and most effective method to use essential oils is to breathe the pure oil in deeply, straight from the bottle.

 

Diffuser

An aroma diffuser is a small container that is filled with water and heated usually by a candle. By adding a few drops of an essential oil to the water in the bowl of an aroma diffuser the aromatic vapors of the essential oils are diffused as the water is heated. It is a great way to freshen the air in a room and definitely sets the mood you are trying to create.

 

Bath

Add several drops of an essential oil to the bathtub water, stirring the water to mix the oils evenly. Baths are particularly good because it benefits the senses as the vapors are inhaled as well as the skin which absorbs the oils.

 

Massage

Create your own massage oil by adding 20 drops of an essential oil to a carrier oil.

 

Poultice

Add a few drops of an essential oil to a bowl of hot or cold water. Soak a cloth in the water, wring out and apply cloth to affected area. Use hot poultices for muscular or joint pain such as arthritis and cold poultices for inflammation or fever.

 

Make a spray for perfume or air freshener

Add 20 –30 drops of an essential oil to 1 oz. (25 ml) water in a mist spray bottle and shake. Use as a perfume to freshen up or to freshen the air in a room.

 

 

 

 

 

5. Relaxation Breathing

Relaxation Breathing is also called the “1:4:2: Ratio”. This technique can be used to provide the concentration or balance you need during a stressful or tiring situation.

  • Find a place where you can be on your own for a few moments.
  • Breath by inhaling through your nose and out through your mouth.
  • Inhale deeply and count as you do so, 1….2…..3… . Most people are able to inhale to a count of between 7 and 10.
  • Whatever you were able to count to during inhalation, multiply it by 4, holding your breath as you count to that number. So, if you inhaled to a count of 8, hold your breath for a count to 32.
  • Exhale by doubling your inhalation count. Again, if you inhaled to a count of 8, exhale while counting to 16.
  • Repeat this 3-5 times. This should provide you with a sense of calmness and improved concentration.

As an alternative, try to breathe easier, breathe deeper with 4 Minute Fitness

 

Relaxation Breathing is also called the “1:4:2: Ratio”. This technique can be used to provide the concentration or balance you need during a stressful or tiring situation.

 

 

 

6. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese form of medicine, dating back some 5,000 years. It is used to provide relief from conditions such as back ache, eczema, arthritis, and asthma, just to name a few.

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese form of medicine, dating back some 5,000 years. It is used to provide relief from conditions such as back ache, eczema, arthritis, and asthma, just to name a few.

Acupuncturists use very fine needles that poke the skin at specific points on the body, thereby enabling energy or “qi” to flow easily. Qi moves along 14 vertical pathways in the body and, if left obstructed or unbalanced, illness will set in.

Electro-Acupuncture is a modern version of acupuncture in which very small electrical impulses sent through the acupuncture needles are used for the purpose of pain relief. Other modern methods for stimulating acupuncture points include using lasers, sound waves (sonopuncture), auricular (ear) acupuncture and moxibustion (heat from specific herbs is applied to acupuncture points).

Another method widely used today is acupressure where fingers, instead of needles apply pressure to specific points. This is an effective way to treat many of the internal organs of the body.

Color Atlas of Acupuncture: Body Points, Ear Points, Trigger Points A very usable and accurate text for both the student and practitioner. The drawings/photographs are detailed yet easy to translate and understand.

 

 

 

 

 

7. Biofeedback

Biofeedback is a technique used in psychophysiology where a psychophysiologist trains a person to alter their brain activity, blood pressure, muscle tension, heart rate or other bodily functions by being “fed back” information about what was occurring in their bodies in either a visual or audible way.

Psychophysiology is the study of the mind-body connection, such as the changes that occur to the body when a person experiences particular thoughts or emotions.

For example, an electroencephalograph (EEG) can pick up electrical signals from contracting muscles, which then activates a particular sound or a flashing light. To reduce this muscle tension or to relax, the person must mentally try to slow the frequency of sounds or flashes.

Once they are able to associate their muscle contractions with their tension levels, they can control the length and degree of tension without being having to be attached to the biofeedback sensors.

Neurotherapy involves the EEG (electroencephalograph) sensors to be placed on the person’s scalp and ears to measure brainwave activity. Neurotherapy practitioners teach the client to change his or her brainwave activity by playing computerized games similar to something like Pac Man.

Figures on the computer move through the maze whenever the person produces specific brainwave patterns. Through this method, clients learn to change their brainwave activity.

Some of the conditions that may benefit from biofeedback are:

 

  • Migraines and headaches
  • Chronic pain
  • Stress
  • Sleep Disorders
  • Some forms of depression and anxiety
  • Digestive disorders
  • Incontinence
  • Hypertension
  • Cardiac arrhythmias (abnormalities in the rhythm of the heartbeat)
  • ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder)
  • Raynaud’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • PMS
  • Paralysis, spinal cord injury and other movement disorders.

 

 

Side effects, though rare, may include temporary tiredness or dizziness. Many individuals report a heightened sense of control and relaxation during and after treatment sessions

The length of treatment varies between individuals; many people reporting progress with as few as ten sessions, but effective treatment usually requires twenty to forty sessions.

Neurotherapy has been reported to be effective when sessions are initially received three times per week, followed by two weekly sessions, and to ensure progress, it is recommended that clients receive at least one session per week as a follow up.

 

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