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Progressive Muscle Relaxation

  1. Paul E. Bracke

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0712

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Bracke, P. E. 2010. Progressive Muscle Relaxation. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. Mountain View, CA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) is a fundamental form of stress management that was developed in the early 1920s by Edmund Jackson, an American physician, as a technique to help his patients reduce muscle tension. Jacobson's research demonstrated the connection between excessive muscle tension and a variety of physical and psychological disorders. Specifically, Jacobson's research revealed that muscle tension is always accompanied by a shortening of muscle fibers and that reducing muscle tension reduced central nervous system activity and promoted a relaxed state. That is, because muscle tension is associated with various types of psychological tension (e.g., anxiety), Jacobson hypothesized that anxiety could be reduced by learning to reduce muscle tension.


  • behavior therapy;
  • muscle relaxation;
  • relaxation;
  • treatment methods