Relaxation therapies differ in philosophy and method. The goal is to use the power of the mind and body to achieve a sense of relaxation. Relaxation therapies often focus on repeating a sound, word, or prayer. They may focus on a body sensation. Passive attitudes help ward off intruding thoughts. Relaxation therapies lower the metabolism and make a person feel relaxed.
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Relaxation therapies can help treat chronic pain and insomnia. Many people also use them to lower stress and anxiety. The methods can be deep or brief. Deep methods include autogenic training, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation. Brief methods include paced respiration and self-control relaxation.
A deep method of relaxation focuses on relaxing both the mind and the body. Some of the types of meditation include:
The brief meditations require much less time and skill. These are often shorter forms of a deep method. Self-control meditation is a shortened form of progressive muscle relaxation. In paced respiration, the person breathes slowly and deliberately. In deep breathing, the person takes a deep breath, holds it for 3 to 5 seconds, then slowly releases it. This sequence is repeated several times. Brief methods are often used when the person faces anxiety or stress.
Relaxation therapy has been studied quite a bit for the relief of chronic pain and insomnia. Pain and insomnia affect millions of Americans every day. Relaxation therapy can help a person deal with these conditions without medication or surgery.
Many people prefer a method of relaxation to other treatments that may be costly, invasive, or have side effects. Relaxation therapies are taught at many hospitals and in the community. They also can be learned from books, audiotapes, and videotapes. They are not difficult to learn, and cost very little. They have no known side effects.
Article type: xmedgeneral