Progressive Relaxation: A Script for Birth
A Short Progressive Relaxation Script Many people are unaware that they are carrying tension in the body. This is a great script that your partner can read to you in preparation for relaxing during birth. Team it with the Full YogaBellies Breath, and you’ll be on your way to bliss. “Assume a comfortable position. Do not be too concerned about the placement of your arms, do what feels comfortable. Every muscle in your body has an opposing muscle so that you can move the parts of your body in many different directions. When one muscle is fully relaxed, its opposing muscle is fully tensed! For that reason, straight legs and arms should be an indication to you that your muscles are not as relaxed as they should be. In your comfortable position, choose a part of your body and tense it as much as possible. For example, if you choose your shoulders, lift them high to your ears really crunching your neck. Feel the discomfort and tightness in these muscles. Recognize how the tightness carries to neighbouring muscles. Then, after holding that tension for about ten seconds, release the muscles, letting the body part go limp or get soft. Remember not to take the muscles into the opposite tensed position yet, we are trying to learn the difference between tensed and relaxed, not between the two possible tensions for each body part. Feel the looseness in the muscle, and the difference in comfort. Repeat the tensing and relaxing a few more times, trying to achieve a deeper relaxation of the muscle each time. After you have tensed and relaxed that muscle group in one direction a few times, switch to the other direction. For the shoulder example, you will now press your shoulders down toward your waist, as if you were trying to stretch your arms to reach something low without bending over. Feel the tension that is created by the muscle this way, and the difference between the tensed position and the relaxed position. What you will find when you begin to practice relaxing is that some muscles will come under your control very easily, and you will be able to relax them without tensing them first. That is good, in fact that is what you ultimately want to achieve. You will also find that there are muscles that seem resistant to your desire to have them relax. That is ok, you need to know what muscles you need help relaxing so your birth partner will know where to concentrate efforts. Many women find that doing this before they go to bed helps them to achieve a more restful night’s sleep. Relaxation is a way to alleviate some of the stress that your body is feeling. It will not remove the source of your stress, but it can help you manage it more effectively. Now open your eyes and come back to the room” This blog is adapted from the revised edition of Birth ROCKS by Cheryl MacDonald, available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.