Desmond Kaplan MD FAPA

Child, Adolescent & Adult Psychiatry

1777 Reisterstown Road, Suite 50
 Baltimore, MD 21208

Relaxation Techniques

Practicing different methods of relaxation may be an effective form of treatment for the symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, irritable bowel syndrome and other conditions. Stress can contribute to a range of mental and physical health problems. When stress is present on a regular basis, some individuals find that the symptoms of their health conditions may worsen. Since stress plays a major role in many cases of chronic pain or discomfort, reducing stress through relaxation, may in turn reduce these symptoms.

While stress can negatively affect the nervous system, relaxation techniques can bring it back into a balanced state by producing a state of deep calmness that is opposite of the stress response. Relaxation techniques may combine different methods of breathing, movement, focusing and awareness to calm the mind and body. These techniques can be effective when they are practiced on a regular basis and are combined with a healthy lifestyle that includes good nutrition and regular exercise.


Meditation is a mind-body practice that has been performed for centuries. Learning meditation can help an individual to achieve a state of relaxation and tranquility and can be used any time the effects of stress are being felt.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation is a method of stress relief that involves learning to tense and relax groups of muscles in order to feel the difference in sensation and promote a resting state. Patients are trained to focus on muscle groups throughout the body to promote an overall relaxed feeling.


Visualization employs positive imagery to enable patients to picture themselves in a more relaxed mindset. Choosing a setting that produces a calming sensation can help the individual to lower stress levels significantly.

Deep Breathing

Deep breathing exercises may be very beneficial in reducing stress as they can work to physically calm the body. When breathing is slow and deep, other manifestations of tension such as a rapid heart rate begin to normalize and patients become more relaxed.


Yoga involves a series of poses and stretches, combined with deep breathing. Yoga may reduce anxiety and stress, as well as improve flexibility, strength, balance, and stamina.

Individuals should choose and practice the relaxation technique that works best for their body, mind, and lifestyle. In many cases, individuals may find that alternating or combining different relaxation techniques will keep them motivated and provide them with the best results.

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