News Psycotherapy

What is Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Dott.ssa Francesca Cosentino

It is a technique relaxation accessible to all, easy to learn either individually or in small groups. Practice allows improve muscle relaxation, regulate breathing and heart rate, relaxes the mind in cases of anxiety and contractures and promotes a state of mental calm. Numerous studies have documented the benefits in decreasing muscle tension and resulting psychic relaxation. Unlike others approaches does not establish any dependence on the therapist, but allows to learn the technique through a gradual training e progressive. 

The first results are visible already after the first sessions of exercises and increase with the frequency, the effects are all the more visible if the patient can perform relaxation even at home for the period of time indicated.

The method was invented by Edmund Jacobson, American psycho physiologist for the purpose to quickly dissolve anxiety, stress and states of psychic tension physics.

For the unfolding it is you need to lie down on a bed or sit comfortably in one chair, depending on the patient's needs. The duration of the session guided is 30/45 minutes, then 10 minutes a day already allow to enter into relaxation. It takes place in an environment quiet, wearing comfortable and warm clothes. It is advisable use soft lighting and a warm, well-ventilated climate. Regular practice allows you to acquire a growing serenity to have a greate body awareness.Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of relaxation training on patients heart attacks and on people with hyperstimulation of the nervous system vegetative. It is also useful within the path for treatment of panic attacks and anxiety.It is based on the principle muscle contraction and relaxation, wherein a contraction a longer relaxation must follow. The progressive term indicates that relaxation occurs gradually and affects districts different muscles with particular attention to the areas referred to increased tension and contraction. Relaxation begins always with deep breathing, teaching the patient the awareness of the various parts of the body. In particular the abdominal breathing allows the person to perform one correct inhalation and exhalation perceiving the movements of the abdominal exercises they generally start from the lower limbs, but in cases of activation Neuro vegetative and depending on the patient's needs, it is possible to start from the head, passing through the back and the shoulders, involving arms, abdomen and buttocks up to legs and feet.

The original sequence designed by Jacobson includes:
  • breathing abdominal, 

  • lower limb, 

  • leg, 

  • calf, 

  • thighs, 

  • buttocks, 

  • pelvis, 

  • abdomen, 

  • hands / fist, 

  • forearm, 

  • shoulders, 

  • pectorals, 

  • neck, 

  • forehead and face

In predisposed subjects and dehydrated, it is possible that the contraction may cause it to arise of muscle cramps, an event easily avoided through adequate fluid intake and daily hydration. We recommend a minimum 8/10 individual sessions for the most severe cases while for the cases the insertion inside a small one is as light as possible group of max 5/6 people. In some people the training allows the emergence of content and emotional experiences that they favor openness and psychological dialogue. Once loose tension, this technique can be associated with a technique cognitive used in EMDR treatment called "place at sure". The technique is carried out exclusively by  psychotherapists enabled to manage content and emotional reactions, in this sense it is possible that the patient in whom strong emotional contents and reactions emerge behavioral, may also have individual tools for cope with psychic as well as muscular tensions. The path can be accompanied, for those who wish, to psychological interviews deepening, does not present any particular contraindications either side effects.For older people or debilitate it is useful to have a soft mat, neck cushions and back and a light blanket to make the seat comfortable and comfortable. The use of a can be useful and pleasant relaxing background music. It is particularly indicated as a preparatory technique before surgery to promote a psychophysical relaxation of the patient who is ready to undergo an operation. Psychophysical reactions at the level cerebral, muscular and hormonal direct the person towards a better one relaxation, and a reaction more suitable for the intervention. The patients report better mental status, and greater awareness and ability to manage stress.

Dott.ssa Francesca Cosentino

Cell. 3407268484


  • "Progressive Relaxation. A Physiological and Clinical investigation of muscular states and their significance in phychology and medical practice " Edmund Jacobson, 1938. 

  • “Relaxation progressive in psychology. Technical theory and evaluation. " G.Bertolotti, Carrocci publisher, 2015. 

  • "Muscle relaxation progressive. The Jacobson method for therapy is effective muscular relaxation ”Dietmar Ohm, Red Edizioni.