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Relaxed muscles – relaxed brain: Progressive muscle relaxation

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Jacobsen’s progressive muscle relaxation is an established as well as proven self-relaxation technique. The effect of this method, as well as the health benefits, have been proven in numerous studies. Learn here how progressive muscle relaxation works and how you can benefit from it.

What is progressive muscle relaxation?

Progressive muscle relaxation (also progressive muscle relaxation = PMR) was named after its inventor Edmund Jacobsen, an American physician and physiologist. He noticed in 1929 that the emotional state has a physiological influence on the body. Fear, stress and anxiety, for example, lead to tension, breathing becomes faster and so does the pulse. However, this effect works reciprocally, so signals from the body can affect the brain and throttle the activity of the central nervous system. Jacobsen took advantage of this body-to-brain effect and developed PMR. The aim is to bring the brain into a state of relaxation by alternately tensing and relaxing the muscles. Progressive here means that this happens progressively over all muscle groups of the body, including the face. While lying down, the muscles are gradually tensed strongly in a steady rhythm and this tension is held for a short time, after which it is released again and relaxation is felt.

The multiple effects of progressive muscle relaxation

The effects of PMR have been proven many times, that’s why the method is also used for supportive treatment of psychological as well as physical complaints and diseases. Due to the calming effect, heart rate and breathing slow down, blood pressure decreases and intestinal activity is reduced. Muscle tension is relieved as the blood vessels of the muscles dilate. Because of these effects, progressive muscle relaxation is used for many ailments, including, for example:

  • Stress
  • Inner restlessness
  • Sleep disorders
  • Depression
  • Pain
  • Nervousness


In addition to reducing negative factors, PMR also promotes desirable states and qualities, such as:

  • Body awareness
  • Emotional stability
  • Resilience
  • Mental balance
  • Inner calm

Learn Progressive Muscle Relaxation

PMR is a relaxation method suitable for beginners, because it is easy to learn in just a few hours. In addition, anyone can participate, since you don’t have to do anything except tense and release your muscles. The effect is immediately noticeable, so it does not require weeks of training. However, it should be noted that people with physical ailments or severe tension should go to a professional trainer or check with their doctor beforehand. Courses, which are partly financed by the public health insurance, are suitable for the beginning. If you don’t want to attend a course, you can also simply do PMR on your own with guided audio files. You can find such programs in the Teamfit app. Just try it out and let yourself be surprised.

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