Relaxation Therapy: Remove Tension, Improve Your Wellbeing

to remove the tension, learn the techniques and improve the wellbeing

The Benefits of Relaxation Therapy

Generalised Relaxation

When people practice relaxation once a day, they tend to feel more relaxed in general. This is probably the most obvious benefit of the relaxation that comes from practising techniques such as sequential muscle relaxation, visualisation, meditation, yoga, and Tai Chi – all of them produce mental relaxation, physical relaxation, or both.

Several studies conducted by Gruzelier (2002) have also shown that hypnosis and guided relaxation cause a significant modulation of the immune response, increasing the number of CD4-positive T cells while buffering the drop in natural killer (NK) and CD8 cells that occur in humans experiencing stress.

Seven independent trials reported beneficial effects on mental state (mood, anxiety, and depression) and on toxicity (nausea and vomiting), as well as beneficial effect on biomarkers (heart rate, blood pressure, cortisol, and immunity) (Kapogiannis et al 2018).

Relaxation can be taught in one session by conducting and recording a Progressive Muscle and Tension Relaxation session and practising it at home. However relaxation practised in isolation from anxiety triggers tends to become compartmentalised, so someone may find it easy to relax while meditating at home but find that “it all goes out of the window” when they encounter stress or a challenging situation, hence the two techniques below are recommended.

Cue Controlled Relaxation

When people regularly practice changing their emotional state they quickly become able to do so at will, with the minimum effort; people who practice meditation techniques often report that they become able to relax “on command” simply by choosing to do so. 

However the skill is more likely to be acquired when relevant techniques are used; someone who learns to relax first, then proceeds to relaxing more quickly by using a cue or a trigger (i.e. clenching their hand or repeating a word), they can then practice relaxation in challenging real life situations.

New evidence suggests that relaxation, breath control and engaging positive emotions affect positive changes that promote immune functioning (Culbert, 2016). Also the Cue Controlled Relaxation proves to be more efficient than aromatherapy or placebo (Spector et al, 2009).

Goals of relaxation skills

  1. Learn how to use these skills and cues.
  2. Learn to breathe in ways that promote calm and relaxation.
  3. Better tolerate racing thoughts.
  4. Improve awareness of the difference between tension and relaxation.
  5. Lower levels of tension and restlessness in the body.
  6. Learn to incorporate activities into our lives.
  7. Be calmer in our daily lives by learning to “slow down” and set realistic goals.

Relaxed Foresought 

Relaxation can become compartmentalised, but there is a simple solution to this; once you have mastered the basic skills of relaxation therapy, proceed to imagine yourself facing tense or difficult situations while continuing to maintain your composure. 

Through practising the relaxation skills and mental rehearsal, exposing yourself to gradually stronger stress inducers, you will soon condition yourself to feel relaxed (using the Rapid Relaxation technique) whenever you think about events that made you tense before, and ultimately you will find yourself more relaxed in those and in similar situations.

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These issues tend to respond well to Hypnotic Relaxation Therapy:

“Depression, Stress Management,

Insomnia, Phobias, Self-Esteem,

Sleep Problems, Chronic Pain,

Anxiety Disorder, Headaches,

Pain Management”.

Gary Elkins, PhD
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Based on:

Baum L. (2014). Hypnotic Relaxation Therapy: Principles and Applications by Gary Elkins. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 57:1, 80-81.

Borkovec T., & Fowles C. (1973). Controlled investigation of the effects of progressive and hypnotic relaxation on insomnia. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 82(1), 153.

Culbert, T. P. (2016). A Practitioner’s Guide: Applications of the em-Wave Pro-Stress Relief System.

Elkins G. (2014). Hypnotic Relaxation Therapy: Principles and Applications, Springer Publishing Company, NY.

Gruzelier, J. H. (2002). A review of the impact of hypnosis, relaxation, guided imagery and individual differences on aspects of immunity and health. Stress, 5, 147-63.

Gruzelier, J. (2002). The role of Psychological intervention in modulating aspects of immune function in relation to health and wellbeing. International Review of Neurobiology, 52, 383-417.

Kapogiannis, A., Tsoli, S., & Chrousos, G. (2018). Investigating the Effects of the Progressive Muscle Relaxation-Guided Imagery Combination on Patients with Cancer Receiving Chemotherapy Treatment: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. Explore (New York, N.Y.)14(2), 137–143.

Na, H. (2019). Hypnotic relaxation therapy to enhance subjective well-being among college students : a pilot study. Electronic Theses and Dissertations, Psychology and Neuroscience, Baylor University.

Robertson, D. (2019). Relaxations Techniques articles retrieved from

Spector, I., Carey, M., Jorgensen, R., Meisler, A., & Carnrike, C. (1993). Cue-Controlled Relaxation and “Aromatherapy” in the Treatment of Speech Anxiety. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 21(3), 239-253.

Vickers, A., Zollman C. (1999). ABC of complementary medicine. Hypnosis and relaxation therapies. BMJ. 1999 Nov 20; 319(7221):1346-9.