This technique can help to relax your muscles and slow your mind…in just 5 minutes. It is great to do before bed or as a relaxation technique at any time of the day and can be done sitting or laying down. This technique also helps to increase awareness of your body and areas that may be tight and in need of attention.
When you notice a certain body area or muscle tight, you can use this technique in that area or muscle to increase blood flow and relax the area. If doing this before sleep, set the intention to fall asleep before you complete the whole sequence. The technique can be more effective if done in a quiet area where you know you won’t be disturbed, and more than half an hour after a snack or 1 hour after a meal. You might like to use some music that relaxes you while you perform this technique.
Alternating between a) contracting the muscles and then b) relaxing the muscles completely. Imagine contracting the muscle by tightening through the area indicated and hold for 5-8 seconds. Breathe out on the relaxation phase and let all tension go from the muscle, as if you have just popped a water balloon and the water (tension) is running out. After 5 seconds move to the next area.
Progressively move through areas of the body in this sequence:
Right foot – Right lower leg – Right whole leg – Right buttock – Left foot – Left lower leg – Left whole leg – Left buttock – Right hand – Right forearm and hand – Right whole arm – Right shoulder – Left hand – Left forearm and hand – Left whole arm – Left shoulder – Abdomen – Chest – Lower Back – Upper back – Neck – Shoulder – Scalp – Face.
After completing this series, take 5 deep, full breaths into your abdomen to the count of 4 seconds, and breathe out for 8 seconds, imagining any residual tension dissolving. You may repeat this series if required.
For more relaxation techniques, check out this article including exercises to use your breath to improve your health.
Written by Dr. Jess Harvey B.Sc. (Anat, Phys), B.Ap.Sci (Comp. Med.), Ma Osteo., Registered Osteopath and Director of Head 2 Toe Health, a multidisciplinary clinic in Brisbane also providing Acupuncture, Massage, Life Coaching and Counselling – where we aim to get you as well as possible, as fast as possible, permanently. We believe in a thorough approach to restoring and maintaining health and address many aspects of our lifestyles that can contribute to pain, stiffness, dis-ease and disease. For any further information, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07) 3208 8308.