With which patients should it be applied?
This relaxation method has been around for a long time and has been scientifically validated many times. You can use it with your patients with all anxiety disorders, with all phobias, especially agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder (chronically stressed people who need relaxation). But there’s nothing to stop you from using them in all mental pathologies. For example, it can be useful for patients who are addicted, who are smokers or alcoholics, because it gives them a possibility to do an action instead of smoking. So you can even teach it for addictions.
Which relaxation method for which patient?
There are three methods of relaxation: vagal, Schultz’s autogenic training and Jacobson’s progressive muscle relaxation. But which one to choose? Sometimes your patients will ask you which one to choose. In this case, it is best to ask them how they feel. If the main problem for one is that he feels tense, that his shoulders hurt, that his neck is stiff, that his legs hurt, then the Jacobson method is the most appropriate. If, on the other hand, another person tells you that he or she feels hot sensations when anxious, strange sensations of uneasiness, then Schultz’ autogenic training is the most appropriate method. As for vagal relaxation, it is very quick to teach and apply and should therefore be automatic.
Starting a Jacobson relaxation session
In a relaxation session, ask your patient to sit or lie down, to take off their purse, their jacket: to put themselves at ease. There is nothing to stop you from using background music if you wish. Dr. Malbos advises in particular to use music called “Space Music”, a kind of electronic music which allows to have a very calm musical background and thus favourable for relaxation or meditation. The temperature of the room is also important. It should be pleasant, so don’t hesitate to turn on a fan or the heater. In addition, when you speak, you should keep in mind to speak slowly and with a low, calm and warm voice, this encourages the relaxation process..
Jacobson, the method
Let’s start the Jacobson method. Start by telling your patient to clench his or her right fist at 80%, so quite hard. Ask him to concentrate on the sensation of pressure, the sensation of burning, the sensation of tension in the fist. It is very important, only the fist should be contracted. The forearm, biceps, shoulder, and all the rest of the body should be completely relaxed. At first, your patient will have difficulty contracting only the requested muscle components in isolation, but this is normal. Practice will make this exercise easier to perform.
The second phase of this method is the relaxation phase. Tell your patient to very gently, very slowly, relax his right hand. He/she should concentrate on the pain disappearing and the pressure decreasing. He has to realize that this tension is disappearing. His palm opens then, always very gently. His fingers will spread until a state of total relaxation.
These two phases are a summary of the whole idea behind the Jacobson relaxation method. This method consists in doing a phase of contraction at 80%, strong and slightly painful, followed by a phase of relaxation. That’s why it’s called “Jacobson’s progressive muscle relaxation”, because it allows patients to have a better knowledge of their state of contraction of their muscles. Learning this method will allow them to detect when their muscles are too tense and above all to be able to relax them.
Everything else will consist of doing exactly the same thing for each muscle group. A muscular order however is to be followed and is advised by Doctor Malbos :
3. front (orbiculaire, froncer les sourcils)
3. maxillaires (muscles masséters, serrer les dents)
4. lèvres (faire la moue)
5. coup (muscles stermo cléido mastoïdien, demandez à votre patient de mettre sa main sur son front et quand même temps le front pousse contre cette main)
6. muscles trapèzes (haussement des épaules)
7. muscle diaphragme et des muscles accessoires de la respiration (faire une respiration profonde et rester en apnée)
8. muscles abdominaux
9. muscles fessiers
10. muscles quadriceps (en bougeant la jambe ou pas)
11. mollets (muscles releveurs des pieds, relever l’avant du pied)
12. orteils (muscles releveurs, relever les orteils)
Vous pouvez préciser à votre patient la méthode suivante : un jour, un côté et un jour, un autre. Les patients non-sportifs qui ont souvent une faible conscience de leur corps peuvent parfois souffrir de légères courbatures comme s’ ils venaient d’effectuer une séance de sport. Au début de l’exercice de relaxation, il faut bien leur préciser qu’il ne faut contracter qu’à 80% du muscles et à la suite de la séance, les rassurer et leur dire que des courbatures sont possibles dans les jours à suivre et tout à fait normales. L’entraînement les diminuera.
En parlant d’entraînement ; à quelle fréquence faut-il faire la méthode de relaxation musculaire progressive de Jacobson ? 2 fois par semaine selon le docteur Malbos.
La méthode de relaxation Jacobson est à réaliser avec vos patients afin qu’ils prennent conscience de cette différence d’état entre l’état de contraction et de relaxation pour ainsi pouvoir relâcher leur corps n’importe quand.
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