The Evidence Portal

Relaxation and muscle relaxation

Flexible activity

Relaxation and muscle relaxation can help relieve tension and stress and commonly forms part of mindfulness programs. Muscle relaxation or progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is the practice of tensing a group of muscles as you breathe in, and relaxing them as you breathe out. Participants will work through muscle groups in a particular order. The isometric tone of the muscle groups helps to release lactic acid build-up and improve the participants’ sense of calmness.

The practice of relaxing your muscles can help to relieve anxiety and stress. Muscle relaxation is a skill that improves with practice and when taught to a young person(s), can be continually practiced at home or outside of the program environment. PMR can also assist with falling asleep.

How can it be implemented?

Relaxation or PMR should be delivered by a trained facilitator in-person or remotely, via video or audio platforms. It can be delivered during one-on-one sessions, or to groups of young people.

Who is the target group?

This flexible activity has been implemented with a number of different target groups. Key characteristics include:

  • School students
  • Young adults aged 14-20

What programs conduct this activity?

  • In the Kripalu Yoga in the Schools (KYIS) curriculum, yoga practice included a 5 minute relaxation exercise.
  • No program name: yoga intervention consists of 42 standard yoga sessions which involve relaxation as a constituent component.

What else should I consider?

Relaxation and PMR should be delivered by a trained facilitator.

Further resources

Last updated:

24 Nov 2022

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