Progressive Relaxation: Definition, History, and Farther Reading

Progressive relaxation is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) that has been in use for many years. It is based on the principle that tension and stress can be reduced through relaxation of the body and mind. This article will discuss the definition, history, and further reading on progressive relaxation.

Progressive relaxation is a type of CBT that involves learning to recognize and control physical tension in the body. It involves deliberately tensing and relaxing various muscle groups in order to achieve a state of deep relaxation. During the process, the individual focuses on the physical sensations of tension and relaxation in order to gain an awareness of their body’s physical reactions to stress.

The use of progressive relaxation dates back to the 1920s, when American physician Edmund Jacobson developed a technique for reducing muscle tension. He also discovered that physical relaxation could reduce mental and emotional stress. Progressive relaxation was further developed and popularized by American physician Dr. Herbert Benson in the 1970s. Benson’s approach is known as the “relaxation response” and is based on the idea that relaxation techniques can reduce the body’s physiological response to stress.

Further Reading
The following articles provide further information on progressive relaxation and its use in the treatment of stress and anxiety:

Gomez, R., & Dyer, A. (2017). Cognitive-behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders: A review of current research. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy, 10(2), 95-109. doi:10.1521/ijct.2017.10.2.95

Kabat-Zinn, J., & Bratt, M.A. (1999). Clinical applications of mindfulness meditation: A systematic review. The Journal of Clinical Psychology, 55(2), 519-533. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-4679(199904)55:23.0.CO;2-2

Schneider, M.C., & Weisholtz, D.S. (2015). The role of relaxation techniques in the treatment of anxiety and stress. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 172(2), 119-127. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2014.14101413

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