Can Relaxation Help reduce and manage Pain?
Research indicates that meditation can help improve a person's quality of life and reduce stress hormone levels. Studies also show that relaxation techniques reduce the perception of pain. One study found that among patients undergoing colorectal surgery, those who listened to guidedimagery tapes before, during, and after the operation had less pain and needed fewer pain medications than those who did not.
What are relaxation techniques good for?
In general, studies show that with consistent practice, relaxation techniques can potentially reduce symptoms or improve outcomes in the following conditions:
- Chronic tension headaches
- High blood pressure
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Panic disorders
However, it is extremely important that usual medical care and advice is followed for the above ailments.
Relaxation techniques are meant to complement usual medical care.
Learning to relax.
Can I learn relaxation techniques by myself?
If you want to generally reduce stress and enhance well-being, you can teach yourself some
relaxation techniques. Look for Apps, DVD’s, even Youtube for popular techniques such as guided
imagery and meditation, and check out what is on in your local community.
Below are a number of techniques you can test out, but for most people it is much easier to listen too and follow someone guiding them through the process, especially when you are trying the techniques out for the first time.
Quick Relaxation Techniques
As you become familiar with how the body relaxes, some quick methods of relaxation may be useful. Below are several "quick-release" techniques which can be done almost anywhere and only take a couple of minutes.
Tips to get you started.
- Get as comfortable as possible, you don’t need to lie down to do these techniques. You can do these exercises whilst you are stuck in traffic, in a waiting room or stood in a queue.
- Just be aware of your thoughts. Learning to just let your thoughts be is one of the most difficult parts of the process for most people. As you become more practiced, you will learn to become the observer of your thoughts without getting caught up in your thoughts; Learning to control your thoughts as opposed to letting your thoughts control you.
- Focus inward on your breathing is a great distraction from your mind. Just observe and allow your breathing to take on its natural rhythm and just watch it.
- Take note of all sounds in the environment and let them pass. Some people use the ticking of the clock to distract their mind. For some people it irritates them.
- Do these regularly and they might become automatic after awhile. But, learning to masterstress is like learning any other skills - practice, practice, practice.
- So, take 10 or 15 seconds every hour or so and do it - even if you have to set the alarm on your phone as a reminder. In fact I use my phone to help me with timing, if I only have a couple of minutes or so to do a relaxation, I will set my timer on my phone as it takes the pressure off my mind thinking how long have I got.
- Close your eyes and draw your attention and concentration inward.
- Smile inwardly with your mouth and eyes.
- Say to yourself "Observant mind. Calm body."
- As you exhale, let your jaw, tongue, and shoulders go limp.
- Feel a wave of warmth and heaviness sweep down to your toes.
- Enjoy the feeling of peace and relaxation that this brings.
- Open your eyes and resume normal activities.
Quick and Easy Muscle Relaxation
- While seated, tense yourself all over, a part at time.
- Pull your toes up to tense some of your leg muscles,
- Tense your thighs,
- Your buttocks,
- Take a deep breath and hold it,
- Tense your arms and fists, your jaw,
- Close your eyes tightly.
- Hold it for 5 seconds, then let go all at once, and feel the tension leave your system.
Breathing Your Tensions Away
Gently focus your attention on your feet.
- As you take in a slow, deep breath,
- imagine collecting all the tensions in your feet and legs,
- breathing them into your lungs and
- expelling them as you exhale.
Then, with a second deep breath,
- Imagine collecting all the tensions in your trunk, hands and arms,
- Expel that tension.
With a third one,
- Collect and expel all the tensions in your shoulders, neck and head
- Expel that tension.
Note: With practice, some persons are able to collect tensions in the entire body in one deep
inhalation and expel them.
- Try to raise your shoulders up to your eyes.
- Hold for the count of four.
- Now drop your shoulders back to a normal position.
- Repeat three times.
- Rotate your shoulders back, down and around, first one way, then the other.
- Do one shoulder, then the other.
- Now do both at the same time.