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Relaxation techniques can have a profound impact on your well being. Research now shows that meditation improves the  immune system, promotes deep and restful sleep, increases ability to think clearly, slows cell damage and aging, improves energy and may even inhibit the growth of cancer cells.    

Some common ways of relaxing are:

bulletMeditation
bulletTaichi
bulletYoga
bulletQigong
bulletMartial Arts
bulletGuided imagery
bulletImagery
bulletBiofeedback

SAPUSA Relaxation Technique

Find a quite and comfortable place.  Sit in a chair or on the floor with your head, neck and back straight but not stiff.  Rest your hands on your thighs (near knees) with palms facing up.  Close your hands so that the thumb and second finger are just touching. Close your eyes or you can keep them slightly open. Try to relax your body and put aside all thoughts of the past and the future and stay in the present.

Breathing

Breathe in through your nose slowly using your tummy muscles and not your chest. There should be little or no upper chest movement. Hold the breath and then slowly push out all the stale air using your tummy muscles.    Use of the tummy muscles helps to massage your internal organs and is the most efficient way of getting fresh air into your system and used air out.   Become aware of your breathing, focusing on the sensation of air moving in and out of your body as you breathe.  Feel your belly rise and fall, the air enter your nostrils and leave your mouth.  Pay attention to the way each breath changes and is different.   Each part of the breathing cycle should take about 2 to 4 seconds i.e. In 4 seconds, hold, 4 seconds, out 4 seconds and wait 4 seconds before breathing in again.  Focus on your breathing. If a new though enters your mind, remain calm and don't dwell on it.  Just let it go and simply return to your breathing.   You will be still fully aware of your surroundings and if you find yourself getting carried away, observe where your mind went off to, without judging, and simply return to your breathing. 

As the time comes to a close, sit for a minute or two, becoming aware of where you are.  Get up gradually.

Relaxing

As you exhale each breath, release all tensions and allow your whole body to become more and more relaxed.

Energy

A more advanced technique is to focus energy to a problem area.   We know that the Chinese documented these techniques almost 5,000 years ago and have been using them since. Don't worry about how it works.  A recent trial in Germany proved that people could increase their strength by just using their thoughts.  A group of participants increased the strength of their right arm by 20% .over a baseline group. As you breathe in and hold your breath, focus on moving the good energy associated with the breath to problem area e.g.  arthritic knee or cancer. As you breathe out, focus on exhaling the bad energy out.

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Deep relaxation involves a number of physiological changes including:

bulletDecreases in heart rate
bulletDecrease in respiration rate
bulletDecrease in blood pressure
bulletDecreases in skeletal muscle tension
bulletDecrease in metabolic rate and oxygen consumption
bulletDecrease in analytical thinking
bulletIncrease in skin resistance

Regular practice of deep relaxation for 20 30 (or more) minutes on a daily basis can produce, over time, a general feeling of relaxation to the rest of your life. Most people notice that after practicing deep relaxation once per day for several weeks, they tend to feel more relaxed all the time. Initially, you will only want to spend about 10-15 minutes doing this relaxation technique..  With time and practice, it will become easier and more enjoyable and you will be able to do it anywhere - waiting in a car, in a train or bus, even while driving your car.

bulletIncreased energy and productivity.
bulletImproved concentration and memory
bulletIncrease in ability to focus
bulletReduction of insomnia and fatigue
bulletDeeper and sounder sleep
bulletPrevention of stress becoming cumulative
bulletPrevention and or reduction of psychosomatic disorders such as hypertension, migraines, headaches, asthma, ulcers etc.
bulletReduction of generalized anxiety
bulletReduction of frequency and severity of panic attacks
bulletIncreased self confidence and reduced self blame
bulletIncreased availability of feelings. Muscle tension is one of the chief impediments to an awareness of your feelings.
 
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