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Relaxation Techniques You Can Practice Anywhere

Relaxation Techniques You Can Practice Anywhere

In our busy world, no matter where you look, there is stress everywhere. Work, personal, physical and other life stress can all take a serious toll on both your physical and mental health. You may notice increasing muscle tension, aches, pains and physical health complaints. You may feel mentally exhausted, experiencing impaired concentration or creativity, anxiety, tiredness or emotional tension.

5 Powerful Relaxation Techniques

Mental and physical stress is no way to live. You deserve better—to experience a relaxed, calm, balanced, healthy and happy state of being. There is good news for you. You can achieve a sense of calmness and reduced tension anywhere with the right relaxation exercises.

Using these 5 powerful relaxation techniques for anxiety and stress, you can reduce tension, regain balance, sleep better and feel more joy in your life in both mind and body.

1. Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) was developed by Edmund Jacobson in the 1920s to help patients with muscle pain and tension regardless of a physical or mental illness. PMR can not only help with general relaxation but give relief to those dealing with various health conditions, including headaches, anxiety and even cancer.

To practice PMR, follow these steps:

  • Find a quiet place and get into a comfortable position sitting or lying down.
  • Start by inhaling deeply through your nose and slowly exhaling through your mouth for 3 – 5 cycles.
  • Tighten your muscles by squeezing your body, clenching your toes and pushing your heels to the ground.
  • Release, then flex your feet towards your head for a few seconds until releasing again.
  • Move onto new muscle groups, your abdomen, legs, hands, arms, shoulders, neck and face.
  • Tighten then release.

You can repeat these sequences as needed and finish your practice with some deep calming breaths.

2. Breathing Exercises

Controlling and regulating your breath through various breathing exercises is a powerful way to calm your mind and relax your body. You don’t need to go to a yoga class. You only need a couple of minutes to practice any of these three breathing exercises and achieve fantastic results over time.

  • Stimulating Breath: Stimulating breath is an ancient yogic technique that can bring you more energy and mental focus. Keep your mouth closed and relaxed. Keeping your breaths short, inhale and exhale rapidly through your nose. You will make some funny noises and that’s normal. After three cycles, take a quick break. Breathe normally then try again. Start with 15 seconds or less, then increase it gradually.
  • 4 – 7 – 8 Breathing: The 4 – 7 – 8 breathing exercise is quieter and you can do it anywhere. Get ready by exhaling all air through your mouth. Close your mouth. To the count of 4, inhale through your nose. Count to 7 while holding your breath. Let it all out through your mouth to the count of eight. Repeat this cycle at least 3 times twice a day.
  • Breath Counting: Breath counting is a Zen technique that can help you with relaxation as well. Find a comfortable sitting position keeping your spine straight. Close your eyes. Begin with a few deep and cleansing breaths. Breathe in then count to 1 as you exhale. Breathe in again and count to 2 as you exhale. Next time count to 3, then 4, then 5. Never count to more than 5—instead start the cycle again. Over time, you can work up to 10 minutes of this breath counting Zen meditation practice.

3. Stretching

Sitting at the computer working all day creates muscle tension. Regular stretching, especially stretching your neck and shoulder can help with aches, chronic pain and mental health. Repeating these 5 simple stretching techniques daily can help your muscles to relax and make you feel better both physically and mentally:

  • Shoulder Shrugs: Take a few deep breaths, then start with a shoulder shrug. First, lift the top of your shoulder close to your ears imitating a shrug. Hold for 3-4 seconds, then release. Repeat 3-5 times, then move on to chin turns.
  • Chin Turns: Begin by looking forward, then slowly move your chin to your left stretching the left side. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Move back to center then move your chin to your right repeating the same thing. Repeat this 2-3 times, then move on to head tilts.
  • Head Tilts: Your starting position should be center. Tilt your head towards your right as if your ear was trying to touch your shoulder. Hold for 5-10 seconds, move back to center then move on to the other side. Repeat 2-3 times and get ready for a back stretch.
  • Back Stretch: Place your palms on your lower back and bend your knees. Push your back forward using your palm. Hold it for 10 seconds then release. Repeat this exercise 2-3 times before move onto your last stretch, elbow pull.
  • Elbow Pull: First, raise your right arm up as straight as you can the bend it behind your head. Deepen the stretch by pulling your elbow towards your head with your left hand. Hold for 10-15 seconds then repeat the other side. Do this exercise 2-3 times.

Repeat this entire stretching cycle at least twice a day or whenever you feel you need a stretch. If you need to, you can stretch your hips, back and hamstrings as well using yoga straps, wall stretches and the cat and cow pose. Over the course of a few weeks, you will notice more flexibility, less tension and less pain. Dr. Riter’s Real-Ease Neck Support can improve neck and shoulder tension more than most stretches you know. Using ergonomic office furniture that supports a good posture can also help to experience less tension and pain when working long hours.

4. Meditation and Visualization

Meditation and visualization are some of the best ways to alleviate stress. They can also be powerful relaxation techniques for sleep before bed. As you let distractions and worries disappear, you can achieve a state of blissful rest. Meditation and visualization can bring you immediate relief and a more relaxed being. What’s even better is that when practicing regularly, your mind and body will naturally learn to come back to a more centered, grounded and relaxed state when stress, pain or chaos arises.

There are many ways to practice meditation. You don’t necessarily have to sit in lotus pose (the yogic version of cross-legged) either. You can lie down or even find a movement meditation practice, such as dance or walking meditation. You may use a mantra for your meditation, including Sanskrit words such as ‘om’ or any mantra that feels right for you. You may want to take a course and learn a specific form of meditation, such as Vipassana, Transcendental Meditation, mindfulness meditation or Zen meditation.

Using a guided meditation exercise is possibly the easiest ways to guide your body and mind to a state of relaxation and calm.

Visualization is a form of meditation that you can do at any time without guidance. It’s like a quick mental vacation. Close your eyes and visualize your ‘happy place’. It can be anything, a beach, your cozy couch, the top of a mountain, the cozy hug of a loved one, your favorite yoga studio, or any place you love, feel happy and safe. Imagine being in this place by engaging all your senses. What do you see, hear, smell, taste and touch? How does it feel in your body? Let yourself enjoy the moment. You can smile.

5. Massage

Getting a massage is a powerful act of self-care. It also has benefits for your body and health. Massage improves the circulation of oxygen and nutrients in your system. It can stretch tight and weak muscles, improve your flexibility and range of motion. It can help you manage and reduce your symptoms of chronic pain. Massage can improve your stress levels, anxiety, depression, sleep and quality of life.

There are so many massage techniques and similar bodywork therapies that you can choose from. Deep tissue massage and myofascial release are the most popular ones for deep work. There is also Swedish massage, hot stone massage, aromatherapy massage, craniosacral therapy, Shiatsu, reflexology, Thai massage, sports massage, trigger point massage and more. Talk to your massage therapist and experiment to find the one that works the best for you.

You can also practice massage at home. The easiest way is of course to have a partner, friend or family member to rub your back and shoulders. That’s not always available. You can practice self-massage techniques anywhere you are. Get the difficult knots out with a theracane and work on your foot, neck and hips using massage balls. After a long day on your feet, a foot massager feels heavenly. Massage chairs and massage cushions can be lifesavers to get personalized comfort and relaxation at home without any effort.

Integrating Your Relaxation Techniques

Practicing relaxation methods like PMR, breathing exercises, stretching, meditation, visualization and self-massage can ease muscle tension, relax your body, calm your mind, reduce pain and improve your overall health. Go through these relaxation exercises as often as you need and take them on the go with you.

To learn more about how ergonomic office furniture, massage chairs, massage cushions and self-massage tools can aid your relaxation, visit our store. Make sure to check back and share your wonderful results with us.

References:

  1. http://psycnet.apa.org/fulltext/1990-20278-001.html
  2. https://www.anxietybc.com/sites/default/files/MuscleRelaxation.pdf
  3. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/muscle-relaxation-for-stress-insomnia
  4. http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2006-10511-002
  5. https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/body-mind-spirit/stress-anxiety/breathing-three-exercises/
  6. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002817715607607
  7. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/000579169090046N
  8. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2009.0321
  9. https://www.jpsychores.com/article/S0022-3999(03)00573-7/abstract
  10. https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/289116
  11. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0005796710001324
  12. https://liveanddare.com/types-of-meditation
  13. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2011/561753/abs/
  14. http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/19078022

5 Reasons To Get A Massage

Getting a massage is far more than a luxury. Studies show that treating yourself to regular massages can have a tremendously positive impact on your overall health and wellness, as well as being an important aspect of preventive care.

Whether you’re getting a massage for relaxation, medical purposes, or as a special indulgence, finding the time for a massage is very beneficial to everyday life. From reduced tension headaches and migraines to improved flexibility and circulation, there are numerous health benefits of massage therapy.

Every year, the ABMP celebrates EveryBody Deserves a Massage Week. This week was created to promote benefits of regular body work and to highlight the work of massage therapists.

In honor of the week, we have put together a quick list of reasons why everybody should get a massage:

  1. Stretch tight or weak muscles while improving flexibility and range of motion. This helps to reduce and ease back pain.
  2. Oxygen and nutrients are kneaded through soft tissues and vital organs to improve circulation.
  3. Manage and reduce chronic pain naturally to improve overall quality of life.
  4. Decrease stress, depression, and anxiety through decreased levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, while feel-good hormones, serotonin and dopamine, are increased.
  5. Improve sleep quality.

Even if you are not currently feeling aches and pains, you are not injured, or you are not feeling stressed, working in regular massages help prevent future health issues from developing. At Relax The Back, we understand the importance of preventive care, staying healthy, and living a pain-free life.

Visit your local Relax The Back store for a first-hand, in-store massage experience in one of our many massage chairs. Our trained specialists can also show you our numerous handheld massagers, foot massagers, and massage cushions to fit any budget or pain point.

10 Ways to Relax and De-Stress

The situations and pressures of everyday life can take a toll on one’s overall health and well-being. From depression, irritability, and anxiety to physical pain such as nausea, dizziness, and chest pain, stress can present itself in many different ways. Finding time and ways to relax will help reduce the negative effects of stress on your body and mind, relieve built up tension, and calm emotions. Relaxation techniques can help one cope with stress management and improve their overall quality of life.

Next time you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed, try one of our 10 ways to relax and de-stress. Even if you feel that you don’t have time to slow down, many of these techniques only take a few minutes.

Ways to relax

Simple Relaxation Techniques for Stress and Pain Relief

Most pain relief treatments often ignore or pay little attention to psychological factors, so in honor of yesterday being National Relaxation Day, Relax The Back wants to highlight a few basic relaxation techniques to help bring you back into balance. We understand that when hectic lifestyles and debilitating pain get you down, it can be difficult to abide by the conventional wisdom of staying positive for a speedy recovery. Here are some simple techniques you can practice to help improve your state of mind:

  • Take deep breaths – Inhale so that your abdomen or lower belly expands. If you notice your chest rising, this is indicative of shallow breathing. Start over, breathe in, and fill your lungs from the bottom to the top.
  • Visualization – Imagine your peaceful place as vividly as you can, trying to engage all of your senses. Visually walk around the scene, hearing the noises, smelling the flora, feeling the air, etc. Even if you don’t have the luxury to physically get away, you can give your mind a change of pace by practicing visualization.
  • Body Scan – Lie on your back, arms relaxed by your side, eyes open or closed. Engage in deep breathing to relax and turn your focus to every inch of your body, starting at your right foot and slowly working your way up your right side to the tip of your head and back down the left. Pay attention to any tense muscles or pain, and observe how your body feels.
  • Music – Listen to your favorite song to turn your attitude around or a calming tune with a slow tempo to align your heartbeat. Classical tunes and artists with soothing voices help do the trick. Visit our Facebook page for song suggestions every Monday that are sure to put you in a good mood or help you relax.
  • Self-Massage – When your crazy schedule leaves you no time for a visit to a massage therapist, give yourself a massage using out best-selling Theracane or the Dolphin Lite Handheld Massager. A self-massage can help you release tension and relax without hurting your wallet.

Take the time to find what techniques work for you. It only takes a few minutes to refocus your attention, but you’ll be reaping the benefits for far longer when you’re in a healthy state of mind.