Muscle relaxation techniques have many benefits and uses. Whether it is for aiding recovery from a muscle injury, or whether it's for relaxing your body and mind to help you sleep, meditate, lower your heart rate or overcome stress. If you have cramp or a twitch meanwhile then muscle relaxation techniques might also help you to overcome them.
Here we will look at a couple of muscle relaxation techniques you can use to completely relax parts or all of your body.
The first step is to relax yourself generally which you can accomplish by generally relaxing yourself and by concentrating on your breathing which is a technique used in meditation. Simply breathe in a calm and methodical manner, and focus on listening to each breath. This focuses your mind and is generally sufficient to help you relax. You can also make a conscious effort to relax your muscles with each outward breath, feeling yourself get deeper and deeper into a physically relaxed state as you do.
Sometimes just making a conscious effort to relax the muscles is enough to help you release some of the tension and this is something that we often simply don't think to attempt. The key to doing this effectively is to ensure that you remember to do each body part and this includes even the face – make sure you take the time to think to relax your face, neck, feet and toes and all the parts of your body you might not have otherwise thought of. This is sometimes called 'body scanning' as you are scanning your mind across each body part.
Massaging your muscles is of course a great way to relieve stress and to help them relax. A professional masseuse in particular will know how to find tense areas and knots and to 'work them' out.
There are various different forms of visualization that can help you to relax and to specifically relax your muscles. One method to try is to lie down and to image yourself gently being covered in a silk cloth across your whole body. Another is to imagine that you are sinking gradually into the floor and being enveloped by it, or that your body is actually turning into water and your arms and legs are melting and spreading out.
Progressive relaxation seems counter-intuitive because it involves actually tensing your muscle, but this is a fantastic way to help them relax. Here you actively tense each muscle group and then release it and you will immediately feel the contrast between the tension and the relaxation. As with body scanning, make sure to do every muscle group including the more minor ones such as your facial muscles and even your feet and calves and then to actively feel the tension flush out of them as you de-tense each area.