By – Supriya Janardhan, Associate Professor, MUSCULOSKELETAL SCIENCES at K.J Somaiya College of Physiotherapy.
What is relaxation-
According to Britanncia dictionary, meaning of relaxation is a way to rest and enjoy yourself or time that you spend resting and enjoying yourself!!
Why do we need relaxation?
According to study published in 2020 by Nadar Salari,Amin Hossienani-Far etal,prevalence of stress is 29.6%,anxiety 31.9,depression is 33.7%.
When we relax, muscles are minimally tensed, reduces wear n tear of muscles and hence joints. Relaxation reduces stress and the symptoms of mental health conditions like depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. Relaxation also has other related health benefits, like reducing heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate, reducing muscle tension and hence chronic pain.
In order to be benefitted from above effects it is necessary to practice relaxation techniques.
The article published in 2021 by university of Sydney (faculty of medicine and health), stated that relaxation therapy reduces the impact of stress related conditions and encourages physiological and psychological equilibrium. Regular practice relaxation can delay the onset and progression of disease, reduce duration of illness and hence speed up the process of a return to better health, improve the quality of sleep.
Regular practice of simple relaxation techniques enables patients to experience less pain, alleviate mood ,better sleep.
Commonly used relaxation techniques are breathing excercises,Savashana,certain mediation technique, Tai-Chi etc.
Breathing exercises- Breathing exercises will help strengthen the cardiovascular muscles and improve blood pressure. Regular deep breathing also decreases the chances of stroke. Deep breathing stimulates the vagus nerve which reduces the ‘fight or flight’ response. Regular breathing exercises can also improve attention span.
Savashana-is intended to rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit. In this entire body is at rest, muscles and joints are relaxed.Individual tends to forgets all thoughts.
As evidences show Mediation decreases autonomic parameters inducing quiescent state.
Tai chi -strengthens both the lower and upper extremities and also the core muscles of the back and abdomen. Flexibility. Tai chi can improve upper- and lower-body flexibility as well as strength, and balance.
Physical therapist advices whole body relaxation called as Jacobson’s relaxation or local part relaxation eg- elbow, shoulder, knee etc depending the need of the patient.
Jacobson’s relaxation focuses on tightening and relaxing specific muscle groups in sequence. The person is made to lie down on firm surface comfortably. The person has to first tighten the muscles of foot and relax or let it go, followed by knee, hip, back, shoulder and neck muscles. The technique need to be under command and supervision of physical therapist.
The individual can do any of technique or method after consulting the physical therapist to avoid any complication occurring doing wrong method.