Skip to main content

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

This is a typical relaxation exercise: 

  1. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Remember to breathe slowly and deeply.
  2. Tense up a group of muscles - tense hard but don't strain - and hold for about 5 to 10 seconds.
  3. Release the tension from the muscles all at once.
  4. Stay relaxed for 10 to 20 seconds. Some people prefer to count.
For example:
  • Tense for count of 5 and release all at once … Rest for count of 10
  • Tense for count of 10 and release all at once … Rest for count of 20

Pay close attention to your feelings of relaxation, when you release the contracted muscles:

Start with your hands or feet and move through the muscle groups in a progression. You may prefer to do one side of the body at a time. You may also repeat relaxing and tensing muscle groups that you have already done, in order to relax them further. Some people prefer to listen to a recording as a guide through progressive muscle relaxation. You can audio stream Mindfulness & Meditation and Relaxation & Guided Imagery playlists on Soundcloud - using your mobile device or computer.

You may find this helpful, especially if you are feeling confused as to which muscle group to start with and in what order, to use the list below. 

Some muscle groups to tense and release include: 
  • Forehead - wrinkle forehead into frown, tense, release, rest, and/or raise eyebrows 
  • Eyes – close eyes tightly, hold and release 
  • Mouth - press lips tightly together 
  • Jaw - open mouth wide and stick out tongue 
  • Neck and shoulders 
  • Chest 
  • Abdomen 
  • Upper arms - bend arms at elbows and flex biceps
  • Forearms and hands - extend arm, elbows locked, and bend hand back at the wrist 
  • Hands – clench and unclench fists 
  • Buttocks - tense 
  • Thighs 
  • Back – arch back 
  • Lower legs 
  • Feet – point toes and curl them under 

*This content was originally created by BC Cancer and repurposed by BC Renal

SOURCE: Progressive Muscle Relaxation ( )
Page printed: . Unofficial document if printed. Please refer to SOURCE for latest information.

Copyright © BC Renal. All Rights Reserved.

    Copyright © 2024 Provincial Health Services Authority