Scientific relaxation for health and happiness

Occasional Blog Post:

By Dr Jim Byrne

17th October 2020

The Many Negative Effects of Cumulative Physical Tension

– including emotional and behavioural problems; and how to resolve them


Introduction human beings did not have bodies, most of our problems would be over. (Or if we had bodies, but no external Demanding and Stressing Environment; that would also leave us feeling blissful). And yet, we live in cultures that keep insisting that our problems are essentially mental; essentially individual; but paradoxically fixable with all kinds of consumer goods and material things, like ‘retail therapy’; antidepressants; drugs for anxiety or hyperactivity; alcohol; foreign holidays; movies; flashy clothing; surgery; electroshock treatment; a new house; a big-f***er car; plastic surgery; sweets; chocolates; snorting cocaine; and on, and on, and on.

But what if most of the more serious consequences of stress and strain could be solved by a self-help form of scientific relaxation; which you can do in your own home; in a matter of minutes each day; at no financial cost whatsoever; resulting in a feeling of mental and physical bliss?  What then?  (It seems to me that it would be decried, denied, blown off – which seems to be what has happened, in wider society, to a most wonderful system of scientific relaxation, developed over a period of 70 years of research, by Dr Edmund Jacobson).


The system; the benefits; and how to do it

Nata-Lifestyle-coach8Renata Taylor-Byrne has recently completed the best part of a year of research on the history and current status of Dr Jacobson’s Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) system; including the known benefits (in fixing all kinds of medical, emotional and personal performance problems); and guidance on how to practice this system in your own home, quickly and easily; to gain enormously.

Here are the details:

Progressive muscle relaxation book, 1Relax Your Way to a Better Life: Using Dr Jacobson’s Progressive muscle relaxation technique for physical and mental health

By Renata Taylor-Byrne

Edited by Dr Jim Byrne

And published by: The Institute for E-CENT Publications, September 2020


Scientific Relaxation and common-sense ‘relaxation’

Scientific relaxation is very different from slouching on a couch; or lying on a beach; or knocking out your conscience with lots of alcohol.  Scientific relaxation involves consciously tensing and relaxing individual pairs of muscles in order to learn the difference in the feeling between the two states.  After a while, you become quite conscious of the difference, and can consciously decide to switch off the unnecessary tension, and slip into a sweet feeling of relaxation, even in work, or in the wider world.  Later still, this feeling for the difference between tension and relaxation becomes non-conscious, habitual, and automatic.

But first you need to learn how to do it.

And that process is described in Chapter 10 of Renata’s book.***

You can get more information about the content of her book here:  Relax Your Way to a Better Life.***

For an immediate grasp of the overall shape of her book, please see the Contents page, which follows:


Preface        v

Chapter 1: Introduction  1

Chapter 2: How tension builds up in your body each day         7

Chapter 3: The different ways that excessive tension affects your body         13

Chapter 4:  How progressive muscle relaxation cures insomnia 19

Chapter 5: Reducing anxiety in sports & public performance roles     27

Chapter 6:  PMR helps children and adults to handle test anxiety      35

Chapter 7: How progressive muscle relaxation makes pain more manageable 41

Chapter 8: Reducing anxiety in various contexts, using progressive muscle relaxation   49

Chapter 9: How progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) fits into a healthy and flourishing lifestyle        59

Chapter 10: How to practice PMR at home  67

Chapter 11: Conclusion  73

References   77

Appendix A: An Overview of Progressive Muscle Relaxation  85

Appendix B: How to establish the relaxation habit 107

Appendix C: The importance of diaphragmatic breathing         119

Appendix D: Some background on Jacobson’s electrical measurement of physical tension          125

Endnotes     131


You can get more information about the content of her book here:  Relax Your Way to a Better Life.***


MensGroup2That’s all for today.

Best wishes,


Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling (University of Manchester, 2002-2009)


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