Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)

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Balance Type
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PMR (Progressive Muscle Relaxation)

Purpose/AimTo guide a client through a simple relaxation technique for both body and mind to assist in reducing anxiety/stress and/or as a coping strategy for disease. To potentially educate a client to embrace this as a daily practice.Summary of the process

Useful/Appropriate for

  • Relaxation/calming the body and mind
  • Clients with anxiety disorders
  • Clients with over-active adrenals
  • Reduction of stress
  • Combining with visualisation for pain management
  • Preventative health strategy
  • Slowing the heart rate
  • Reducing blood pressure
  • Improving quality of life for those who suffer chronic illness and post-operative recovery.


  • MUST NOT be used for anyone suffering psychiatric illness.
  • Not helpful for those suffering depression. The deeper the depression, the greater the danger of exacerbating symptoms.
  • NB: Moving further inward will not assistThe moment you ask a client to close her eyes, she is in an altered state of consciousness.


  1. Reassure client that they are always in full control, at all times…and that the intention is NOT to fall asleep. Is client warm enough, happy to proceed?
  2. Find comfortable position, seated, if able. Spine aligned.
  3. Begin by gently closing eyes….
  4. Bring awareness to your toes … allowing any tension to be released….
  5. Letting go of feelings…..
  6. Toes, feet, ankles, lower legs, knees, upper legs, pelvis, hips, bottom, lower back, whole back, shoulders, arms, hands,
  7. Bring your attention now, to your lower tummy, below your navel
  8. Notice the rhythm of your breath and the movement in your tummy wall….in….out….
  9. Bring awareness to your whole tummy… now to the chest
  10. Breathing in…. and out…. in…. and out
  11. Now…in a moment, I’ll be inviting you to take one big, deep breath in….hold…then release…….
  12. So on your next comfortable breath, breathe in……. and release…..
  13. And once more ……
  14. Bring awareness to your neck, throat, back of neck, head
  15. Bring awareness to face - whole face…letting go of tension
  16. Swallow for comfort if necessary, moisten lips for comfort, if need be…just be.
  17. Calm peace …
  18. On every breath out, saying the word………calm…..
  19. Feeling a beautiful sense of calm, of peace… tranquility…..
  20. Beginning to slowly return now… no rush
  21. Becoming aware of your body, its parameters… and how you are sitting…
  22. The room in which you are in….
  23. Slowly returning – wriggling your toes and fingers now….
  24. Hands and feet….
  25. Stretching /moving your body to your needs…
  26. In your own time, open your eyes

There is a relaxation exercise in the text book Basic Personal Counselling, a training manual for counselors, Geldard & Geldard

Further Reading

Background Readings

Text book: Basic Personal Counselling, a training manual for counselors, Geldard & Geldard Relaxation.htm