The purpose of the study was to determine if the tensing portion of progressive relaxation initiates the Valsalva response in order to establish the safety of the procedure for acutely ill cardiovascular patients. Sixty healthy adult volunteers performed fist, chest, and abdominal tensing and relaxation while their heart rate was continuously monitored. Occurrence of the Valsalva response was determined by dividing peak tachycardia during tensing by maximum bradycardia during releasing the tension. A Valsalva ratio greater than 1.5 indicated presence of the Valsalva response. Forty-three percent of the sample exhibited the Valsalva response. Thus, progressive relaxation should not be used with acutely ill cardiovascular patients.