Saturday, September 17, 2011

SATURDAY STRENGTH: Relaxation Exercises

I was recently reading about ways to control pain, and I stumbled across an article on WebMD about stress relaxation and natural pain relief. The article talked about how chronic stress is one factor that contributes to chronic pain. It went on to mention the benefits of relaxation exercises...

"The good news is that you can get natural pain relief by making relaxation exercises a part of your pain-management plan."

"Relaxation exercises calm your mind, reduce stress hormones in your blood, relax your muscles, and elevate your sense of well-being. Using them regularly can lead to long-term changes in your body to counteract the harmful effects of stress."

I thought I'd share a few of the relaxation exercises they list here...

Foursquare breathing. Breathe deeply, so that your abdomen expands and contracts like a balloon with each breath. Inhale to a count of four, hold for a count of four, exhale to a count of four, then hold to a count of four. Repeat for ten cycles.

Guided imagery. Breathe slowly and deeply. For example, imagine a tranquil scene in which you feel comfortable, safe, and relaxed. Include colors, sounds, smells, and your feelings. Do five to ten minutes each day.

Mindfulness meditation. Sit or lie quietly and notice your breathing without controlling it. If pain or thoughts interfere, simply notice them without trying to push them away. Think of them as a cloud passing over; then return to observing your breath. Do this for about 20 minutes.

There are a few other options for relaxation exercises in the article HERE.

I tried some breathing exercises while I was at a cancer retreat, and was surprised at how effective they were. The article also mentioned a few other "relaxation methods:

"Choose whatever relaxes you: music, prayer, gardening, going for a walk, talking with a friend on the phone."

Yesterday, I was going through my music, looking for something that would help calm me. I love music, and so I was pleased to see that listed in the WebMD article. If you like spiritual music, try these:

"On This Holy Day" by Mark Geslison & Geoff Groberg (these are instrumental hymn arrangements)

"My Redeemer Lives" Series (4 CDs) by Todd McCabe (piano), and April Moriarty (violin)
Volume 1: Calvary, Volume 2: Galilee, Volume 3: Bethlehem (Christmas), Volume 4: Gethsemane
Link

Try playing some relaxing, inspirational music while you do the breathing techniques listed in the article.


1 comment:

After Jerusalem said...

Kara - I'm sorry you are struggling so much right now! My prayers are with you.
Nancy

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