9. Relaxation exercises

Four-point relaxation exercise

ad modum reg. physiotherapist Bibbi Westin

  • Sit comfortably on a chair, preferably with a straight back support.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Feel your feet solidly on the floor, placed a comfortable distance apart from each other; your bottom should have good contact with the seat of the chair.
  • Let your shoulders relax and sink.
  • In your jaws, let there be a slight gap between the upper and lower rows of teeth.
  • Take three deep breaths. After this, continue breathing with calm, deep breaths.
  • Let your focus flow between these four points –
    feet, bottom, shoulders, and jaws –
    over and over again for several minutes.
  • Finish by stretching your body several times, and allow yourself to yawn and sigh.

More relaxation and breathing exercises

1. Breathe in and stretch your arms towards the ceiling, and then bend slowly forwards as you breathe out, letting your arms, head and torso hang down towards the floor completely relaxed as though you were “hanging out to dry”. You can also bend your knees slightly so you do not overstretch the backs of your thighs. Hang for a while in this position and simply breathe easily. Then breathe in as you “roll” yourself up with the thoracic spine, neck and head coming up last.

Develop the above exercise: when you are leaning over forwards, lift the right arm out in front of you as though you were greeting someone. Breathe. Is it possible to lift your arm even higher? Breathe. Remain in this position for a moment. The left arm is relaxed and hangs straight down. Then change arms.

2. Stand with your feet approximately 30 cm apart, and imagine that you are about to sit on a chair. Take three deep breaths, slowly bend your back and knees slightly forwards and then “sit down” on the imaginary chair. Stretch the arms forward in order to keep your balance. “Sit” completely relaxed, as though you mean to be in this position for a while. Try to sit a little more deeply. You can release any feeling of exhaustion or tightness – simply leave it behind – each time you breathe out. After a moment, straighten yourself up again and shake away tension in your limbs.

3. Tense your stomach muscles, breathe out the tension, and pump out the adrenalin by clenching your hands and bending your elbows. After a while it will be easier to take slower, deeper breaths.

4. Breathe out and count to four. Then hold your breath and count to four. Then breathe in and count to four. Then hold your breath and count to four. Repeat the entire process.

5. Relax and focus on your head/neck. Tense one hand strongly until it becomes proportionate to the tension in the head/neck, and maintain this tension until your hand becomes tired. Now imagine that your hand is actually the musculature in your head/neck, and start to relax the hand. Feel how the blood circulates in your hand, and how it becomes warm and relaxed. Continue until the hand is completely relaxed, and notice what happens to the muscles in your head/neck.

6. Yawn often, as this is an effective way for the body to oxygenate itself as well as release tension, especially in the diaphragm and the jaw musculature. You can coax out a yawn by imagining one at the same time as you stretch, and lower the chin or move the jaw slightly from side to side.