A recent article by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) (www.nccih.nih.gov) details the current research around relaxation techniques, which are used for a variety of physical, mental and emotional symptoms, including stress management, anxiety, and chronic pain conditions.
Types of Relaxation Techniques
With stress-based complaints making up an estimated 75-90% of all primary care visits, learning to manage stress and promote relaxation strategies is an issue of utmost importance in any conversation about health and wellness. Health Psychologists who practice Behavioral Medicine seek to evoke the relaxation response and reduce stress-based symptoms by teaching a number of relaxation techniques including:
- Diaphragmatic Breathing
- Mindfulness Meditation
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation
- Guided Imagery
- Mantra-based Meditation
- Autogenic Training
- Biofeedback-assisted relaxation
- Movement-based relaxation such as yoga and Tai Chi
What Can Relaxation Help With?
More research needs to be done, but the current research has found promising results that suggest relaxation practices can play a role in benefitting the following conditions:
- Anxiety related to health problems and medical procedures
- Anxiety in older adults
- Pain conditions such as labor, and TMJ
- Nausea from chemo-therapy
- Chronic headaches and pediatric chronic pain (when used with psychotherapy)
- Stress and anxiety associated with heart disease
- Menstrual cramps
- High blood pressure
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Smoking Cessation
Could Relaxation Training Help You?
Relaxation is generally thought to be safe for most people, but some people struggle with finding the time to practice new techniques, or are looking for expert guidance and coaching on learning the most useful technique for their lifestyle and symptoms. Meeting with a practitioner who specializes in relaxation training may be a helpful addition to your wellness program. Contact us to see if we can help with your goals for more relaxation and better health.
“Dr. Sarah Gray is a Harvard Medical School-affiliated clinical psychologist who has a Boston-area private practice: Integrative Psychology and Behavioral Medicine. For more information please visit www.drsarahgray.com“