Jacobson’s Relaxation technique

Progressive relaxation also known as Jacobson’s relaxation technique includes tensing muscle groups followed by relaxation of each group which has various health benefits on the response to stress.

It is well documented that relaxation techniques have a variety of health benefits. They relieve anxiety, reduce work-related stress, lower blood pressure, reduces the likelihood of seizures, improve sporting performances, and improves sleep. Jacobson’s relaxation technique is a progressive muscle relaxation. It is based on the simple concept that anxiety and stress are often accompanied with high muscular tension. Releasing the neuromuscular tension leads to an overall relaxation. This technique requires the activation of the muscle groups one by one, followed by the relaxation of that group. Isolating each body part allows the individual to gain a better understanding of their own body. It also allows one to learn how to release unwanted muscular tension.

Automatic Nervous System

This technique also influences the autonomic nervous system. It is an unconscious activation of various organic responses within the human body after a relaxing or stressing event. It has two parts. First, the sympathetic nervous system, which is also called the fight-or-flight response, regulates the body’s response to stress. In the second phase, the parasympathetic nervous system which is called the rest-and-digest response regulates the body’s response to relaxation. By creating tension first, the autonomic response for stress gets activated. This is followed by the relaxation of the muscle tension, thus activating the relaxation autonomic response. This active regulation of the autonomic nervous system leads to an overall relaxation of the body.

Endogenous Opioids

This technique has additional benefits of its own. The regulation of the autonomic response of the body is one unique to the Jacobson’s relaxation. Furthermore, this technique permits an increased production of endogenous opioids. These are the body’s own stress and pain management reactions while promoting a sense of well-being and improving mood (Mackereth & Tomlinson, 2010). By increasing endogenous opioids, the immune system of the individual is also more responsive.

How is this technique conducted?

As mentioned previously, the technique consists of tensing and releasing muscle groups for less than 30 minutes. As such, multiple videos and guides are easily found online. Just like anything else, this technique needs time and practice to be perfected. Therefore, exercising it once a day with a guide is an ideal way to improve for anyone affected by anxiety, chronic stress, insomnia, or epilepsy just as much as for those who are not.