Relaxation techniques are those methods or treatments used to achieve calm, reduce anxiety, stress or anger. There is growing evidence and scientific studies that link chronic stress and emotional and physical problems. Because of this, relaxation techniques are increasingly used as treatment in a growing number of therapies.
Achieving tranquility through relaxation techniques
The connection between mental and physical health is a foundation for eastern medicine. By calming the mind through relaxation techniques, a number of physical and psychological problems can be eased. Today this connection is used to treat an increasing number of diseases including pain, respiratory problems, anger management, anxiety attacks cardiac health, depression, headaches, and other stress-related problems and conditions.
Relaxation techniques are basically those methods or treatments used to achieve calmness, reduce anxiety, stress or anger. Relaxation techniques are employed as building blocks of anxiety management programs and can help lessen muscle rigidity, diminish blood pressure and lower the heart rate. Premeditated relaxation techniques ease anxiety and assist the mind and physical body to escape from the stress of twenty-first century living.
Origin of relaxation techniques for anxiety
Most Eastern religions encourage meditation to relax the brain and calm the body. In the Christian and Jewish religions, prayer is also used to gain mental alacrity, and calm the mind while asking for guidance from a higher power. Many of the relaxation techniques increasingly used in western medicine have their origins in the mindfulness, equanimity and concentration taught in these eastern religions.
How it works
When you feel anxiety or stressed the body discharges several different hormones to cope. Adrenaline is released by the adrenal glands, which makes us more alert and focused. Cortisol converts protein to energy and releases our stored sugar, glycogen, so our bodies have the fuel needed to respond quickly. These hormones are designed to help the body during the “fight or flight response.” In the short term, this response helps us deal with stress. But during stressful times, high levels of these hormones are released for extended period of time. And this causes wear and tear on the body and on the immune system. Prolonged stress can cause pain, ulcers, headaches, and increased blood pressure. Relaxation techniques reduce blood pressure and lower heart rate. Relaxation techniques reduce the intensity of stress-producing hormones. Research has shown that deep controlled breathing methods can have a soothing impact on the mind, soul and body.
Reduced Symptoms of Epilepsy: Many studies have found that seizure frequency declines by using relaxation techniques. The reason for this connection is that stress is known to be a trigger of seizures.
Management of diabetes: Studies have shown that treatment of diabetes, either through diet or through insulin are more effective when the body is under reduced stress, and that management of stress through relaxation enhances the body’s capability to circulate glucose in diabetic patients.
Benefits for asthmatic patients: Asthma can be triggered by emotional and psychological factors, and well as other physical stimuli in the environment, such as pollutants. Stress is a known trigger for asthma, as are high levels of emotion. Relaxation techniques can help asthmatics manager their stress levels and the emotional response to those stress levels, and thus manage their symptoms.
Pain relief: Relaxation techniques are commonly used in treatment of many forms of main, including chronic pain, back pain, migraines, headaches, and fibromyalgia. Biofeedback is where you monitor how relaxation is causing physical changes in the body. Patients monitor their pulse, blood pressure and temperature as they practice deep breathing or another relaxation technique. Often the way that the body changes in response to the relaxation technique stimulates a positive feedback loop, as once you know that the relaxation is working, it encourages further relaxation.
Insomnia: There are many reasons why people suffer from insomnia, but reducing your stress through relaxation techniques is supported by many studies and often used as treatment. Biofeedback, where you monitor how relaxation is causing physical changes in the body, may further help you relax and sleep.
Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms (IBS): The over-stimulation of the stress response due to the pressures of modern-day society may contribute to the development of stress-related illnesses, such as IBS. Many find that management of that stress through relaxation is a valuable way to alleviate or lessen its symptoms.
Depression: a number of studies show that relaxation treatment can be an effective treatment of depression. Relaxation techniques are often considered a first line treatment for depression. Relaxation techniques may be used in combination with other therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or pharmacological solutions.
General health and well-being: Relaxation techniques do not merely calm the mind and body. They strengthen the immune system and are used as a treatment in a number of psychosomatic diseases, including in high blood pressure and irritable bowel syndrome.
Relaxation techniques are generally considered completely safe for almost everyone. However, relaxation techniques may bring to the surface long buried emotions. As such, there have been rare reports that certain relaxation techniques might cause or worsen symptoms in people with epilepsy or certain psychiatric conditions. Persons with a history of abuse or trauma should consult their doctors before engaging in such techniques.
Relaxation techniques for anxiety are a low cost and relatively easy way of alleviating a number of physiological and psychological conditions. They are used in the treatment of a diverse range of diseases and symptoms, including chronic pain, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, depression, insomnia, to strengthen the immune system and improve well-being. Unlike the use of drugs, relaxation techniques cost nothing, have almost no side effects and can be used anywhere, to help manage any situation
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