Counseling Sheet

Rest and Relaxation

Agatha M. Thrash, M.D.
Preventive Medicine

Some years ago, Dr. Edmund Jacobson, Director of the Laboratory for Clinical Physiology at the University of Chicago, found that patients who came to him did not know how to relax. Their muscles were more tense than was necessary for what they were doing, like sitting with clenched fists without knowing it, or digging fingernails into the skin. These acts signified a degree of muscle tension far in excess of the need for the occasion. So he developed a system of teaching people how to relax.

In brief, his instruction tells you to lie down on a comfortable bed, like a cat on a hearth, with muscles relaxed and yielding.

  • Begin by relaxing the hand at the wrist, until it drops limply when not held up.
  • Then relax the forearm at the elbow joint, until it and the hand flop down when let go.
  • Next relax the arm at the shoulder so that hand, forearm, and arm hang limp.
  • Now relax the other hand, forearm, and arm the same way.
  • Similarly, relax the lower extremities, beginning with the foot at the ankle joint, then foot and leg, foot, leg, and thigh, and then the whole lower extremity.
  • Repeat for the other side.
  • When all four extremities are relaxed, continue with the loosening up of the muscles of the abdomen, body walls, neck and finally, the face.

The muscles that make us smile or frown are some of the most difficult to relax. But when a person has learned to relax all the muscles, he can just go limp at will. Dr. Jacobson believed many problems and diseases would yield to proper relaxation. Among these are insomnia, constipation, asthma, angina, high blood pressure, digestive disturbances, and ulcers.

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Uchee Pines Lifestyle Center
30 Uchee Pines Road #75
Seale, Alabama 36875