Saturday, February 8, 2014


When I introduced Relaxation Therapy (RT) in the mid 1970’s, I was confident control over the autonomic nervous system would be pivotal to mental health procedures in the future.  I felt the many existing techniques to relax and to develop a sense of calmness such as meditation, prayer and mantras had this basic skill in common.  I believed control over the nervous system of the body was the critical issue and this is what I chose to focus on.

As you may know, the autonomic nervous system has two basic divisions: the sympathetic for fight or flight and the parasympathetic for rest and digestion.  These two systems alternate with one or the other being dominant at any given time.  The rest and digest system is the one we want to be operative most of the time and RT generates this outcome.  The fight or flight system is for emergencies and for  high alert and high energy responses when needed.  Let’s look into this.

When you do RT or even do Deep Rhythmic Breathing alone, your bodily disposition moves toward parasympathetic activity.  This is very useful during the day to reduce stress and it is very useful when wanting a good night’s sleep.  These subjects will be addressed more fully in future posts on this Blog.  For now, come to appreciate how important this is for you.  It is natural for most of us to become increasingly tense during the day.  This can be easily turned around with an RT Power Nap which includes Deep Rhythmic Breathing and takes about 20 minutes.

Staying relaxed in high challenge situations is very useful and I first referred to it as learning how to live in the EYE OF THE STORM.  This was in my Mosby/Times Mirror publication, TENSION MANAGEMENT & RELAXATION published in 1981. Since that time I have taught this skill to NBA and LPGA athletes, corporate executives and their employees, soldiers, veterans and people from all walks of life.

Mediation, Mindfulness and other important procedures facilitating relaxation are now common in our culture.  RT is a bit different from these procedures because of its specific focus on managing the autonomic nervous system and specifically the parasympathetic division as mentioned above.

As always, if you have any questions or comments please utilize the Comment box and I will review them.  I will address the issue in future blogs or e-mail you directly.

Remember, you ARE what you think.  You BECOME what you do.

Dr. Ray

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