Progressive Muscle Relaxation

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Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR)- (walk through at the bottom of post)

is one of my favourite meditation strategies.

PMR has been shown to be useful for:

  • Assisting in falling asleep,
  • Managing general anxiety,
  • Managing stress,
  • Improving athletic performance through reduction of performance anxiety , general anxiety and through physiological measures.

I love using progressive relaxation as a tool to help fall asleep.

If you are feeling wired with a racing mind- PMR usually brings you down a few levels, and can help facilitate the initiation of sleep.

Other times- it can help you to simply turn off and fall asleep.

You can also do it:

  • In the middle of the day if you need a coping strategy
  • In bed to fall asleep: before bed or if you wake in the middle of the night.
  • Before you head into a big presentation to stay calm and to focus
  • Or the night before game day if you’re experiencing performance anxiety.

It is also an excellent beginner meditation tool due to the focus that is placed on breathing and your physical body. With the focus on your breath and body, this allows you to practice a meditative state, before moving on to the next step where things get a little more cognitive – which is undoubtedly harder at the start , therefore more likely to become discouraging, and then you’re less likely to do it.

One step at a time – I love realistic, attainable and sustainable health.

Check out this brief *very sped up* video of the process: it is a visual I created to help you see how subtle the process really is.

Full Walk-through instructions below.

Full instructions and walk through on how to complete PMR :

The walk-through below is the method I use – most programs suggest: curling toes, flexing calves, buttocks, abdomen, trapezius’, hands, and then face.

However, in my method- I try to get every muscle group, on the front and the back of the body, I personally find it more effective.

If you feel pain or discomfort, relax , let go , do deep breaths and move on to the next muscle group.

Here you go:

Lie comfortably,

Start with slow, deep breathing. Once you have a deep breath rhythm:

Start at the toes, curl them down for 5-10 seconds as firm as you can while continuing deep breaths,

Then- completely relax the toes for 5-10 seconds, noticing how buttery and relaxed these muscles now feel. and how that area of your body is sinking, relaxed, into the surface you are lying on.

Next, flex the toes upwards for 10 seconds ,followed again by completely relaxing them.

Now continue to move up your body through each muscle group- on the front and back of your body,

Though your: 

lower legs,






upper arms, 




Last: do your face muscles, scrunch them up and let them go, and feel your whole body melt like butter into the mattress/surface you are on.

Relaxing music can help the process as well as using recordings, especially when you first start. Youtube is full of guided recordings for progressive muscle relaxation.

Trouble Sleeping? Make an appointment.

We will work together to try to find the root cause of your sleep issues, and aim to treat the root.

Optimize Your Health Today.


Dr. Elena Zarifis is a Naturopathic Doctor who holds your athletic achievements in high priority.

Providing Naturopathic Medicine for Athletes and active adults of all levels, the ultimate goal is to optimize your health, in order to have you feeling and performing your best.


  • Acupuncture
  • Supplementation
  • Lifestyle Modification
  • Botanical Medicine
  • Nutrition
  • Comprehensive Lab Work
  • B12 injections
  • Desiccated Thyroid 




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