By Luc Therrien
Behavioural Health Consultant
What has convinced me to teach relaxation to everyone?
I could tell you that relaxation and meditation have been studied extensively over the past 40 years and that we’ve even observed a change at the genes’ level after only one session of relaxation, but that may seem abstract.
Instead, I want to share with you an experience I had after the first relaxation workshop I taught.
At the end of the first class, two ladies who didn’t know each other shared a similar story. They had stomach and abdominal problems and had gone through numerous tests, which all came back negative. They were told something that they perceived as insulting – it was in their head. So, they came to the group with their arms crossed and the attitude that we would not teach them anything new.
By the end, they told us that they felt as if we had saved their lives. One said that the first time she practiced a relaxation technique at home, her children became concerned because Mom wanted some quiet time and space! Both ladies realized through this relaxation class how they were stressed with life and had neglected to take care of the most important person in their lives – themselves.
I also experienced an insight during the most recent class I taught. We asked which technique the participants preferred and one woman said the diaphragmatic breathing. She went on to explain that the first time she did it, the knot on her left shoulder disappeared. She practiced regularly the diaphragmatic breathing and it never came back. She had this knot for 18 years and no matter the kind or amount of therapy (physiotherapy or chiropractic), the pain would always come back. This time though, she had been six weeks without this discomfort.
Here are resources for you to start relaxation on your own, including a video that I did:
For guided imagery:
For Progressive muscle relaxation:
Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba (ADAM)
This site has audio as well as scripts if you want to print them.
Inner Health Studio also has many options for audio (Relaxation Downloads) as well as various worksheets if anyone is interested in those:
Inner Health also has kids’ downloads: