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Dr. John Marquis Progressive Muscle Relaxation Exercise System

Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Audio Learning:

These audio downloads are a study course for individuals who are interested in learning how to relax.  They are meant to be used as part of the practice of learning how to release tension from your muscles.  People who gain these skills often are able to decrease physical muscle tension, negative self-talk, and distressing mental images.  The following four audio downloads can be purchased for $ 9.99 each. 


Simply click on the link below.  Read the instructions below to get the most out of your relaxation practice.

Learn how to relax; How to use the relaxation audio downloads: 

These audio downloads were created by Dr. John Marquis, Ph.D. who studied the work of Dr. Jacobson. (Jacobson, E. (1938).  Progressive relaxation (2nd ed.). Oxford, England: Univ. Chicago Press).


The key to learning how to relax and perfecting your relaxation skills is to practice!  By practicing, you will be rewarded with a feeling of restfulness and release from worry.  When you practice, the relaxation skills get into your muscle memory.  Eventually, the relaxation response will become automatic and will kick in when you are in a difficult situation. 

It is best to practice these exercises in a quiet, comfortable place.  After several sessions you will be able to practice on your own.  After you master the relaxation exercises, there is no limit to what you can do!

Choose a place and a time with few distractions.  See if you can listen to all four of the audio downloads in succession without getting restless.  If not, try to do the first two during one practice session and then do the other two during your next practice session.  Practice as frequently as you can, and try for at least three times per week. 

Part One, Tense and Relax:  this audio exercise takes you on a mental journey through the entire system of voluntary muscles in your body.  You can take that journey in a comfortable chair, in bed, or even on the floor.  With your eyes closed, you attend to the messages that each muscle sends to the brain as you first tense, then relax that muscle.  As you move from muscle to muscle, you learn first the sensation of tension, then the sensation of relaxation. You experience the good feeling of that first wave of relaxation following sustained tension.  Then you will discover the wonderful feeling as the muscle relaxes further and further.  You may feel more relaxed than you have ever felt.  When there is no tension that remains in the muscle, that it deep muscle relaxation.

Part Two, Relax Only: During this exercise, you will learn how to relax without first tensing the muscle.  You will learn how to control the process of relaxation and letting go of tension.  You will learn how to develop profound relaxation.

Part Three, Visual Muscles: You will learn how to relax your eye muscles.  These muscles are intimately connected to forming images.  If you can learn to relax these muscles, you can gain control over distressing images.

Part Four, Vocal Muscles:  during this exercise, you will learn how to relax your vocal muscles.  Jacobsen believed that if the vocal muscles became totally relaxed, thinking would cease.  Gaining control over these muscles will help you to get control over your negative self-talk.

Information about your progressive muscle relaxation practice:

Your nervous system is as elaborate as the entire internet.  If you can stop picturing images and thinking, you can detect tiny levels of tension in your muscles. 

Continue practicing until you have all four parts down.  Once you have them mastered, you can practice just Part two, Relax Only.

Once you have mastered the relaxation skills, you may want to listen to all four downloads once per week, as a refresher course. 

If you fall asleep during the recordings, that is natural.  Typically, we fall asleep if we get totally relaxed if we are the least bit sleep deprived.  Try practicing at a time where you would not normally take a nap, like at 10 a.m.

If you have any problems with learning how to relax, contact your therapist or you can contact Dr. Priscilla Marquis, at 

Some people want to continue practicing relaxation skills 15-20 minutes per day. It is helpful if you can try to practice staying relaxed at all times, even in a typically stressful situation.  You can try to practice your skills at times when you are waiting, such as waiting in line.

Each situation has a level of tension that is appropriate for effective functioning.   By practicing your skills, you will bring your tension level down to the appropriate level.  For example, if you are driving and are relaxed, your body will naturally feel the appropriate level of tension when someone brakes in front of you. 

Applying relaxation skills to everyday activities:

  1. Get very relaxed, using your relaxation exercises.
  2. Open your eyes, practice opening your eyes with only the level of tension needed to do so.
  3. Sit up loosely, without tensing unnecessary muscles
  4. Stand up and notice how relaxed you can be without feeling like you will fall over.
  5. Walk around as relaxed as you can. Try walking around the block with as many muscles relaxed as possible.  You can try to practice relaxation skills whenever you are walking somewhere.
  6. Pick a simple task such as washing the dishes or unloading the dryer. Start out moving slowly and increase your speed until you are relaxed and only using the muscles necessary to do the job.
  7. Continue practicing relaxing during your activities until you are able to relax during some of your most challenging activities.
  8. It is helpful to have something remind you to relax. You a can think to relax when a trigger situation comes up as a memory, a worry, an argument, a stressful situation or an everyday situation such as a notification on your phone or a commercial during television. 

Keep practicing and your relaxation skills will become an integral part of how you face the world!  After a while, many people feel that they get greater and greater effects from learning how to relax. 


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