J. van Dixhoorn, Body Awareness: the proper application of relaxation and breathing technique. Gedrag 1984; 12-5: 31-45


Relaxation techniques are widely used, but often applied in a partial fashion. Proper application of relaxation may well be a treatment in its own right, if the concept of relaxation is not limited to "physical rest". Techniques for a multiple relaxation training are described, which show on the one hand an emphasis on physical rest and immobility (passive relaxation, EMG-feedback, and ESR-monitoring) and on the other hand on physical movement and mobility (active relaxation, manual handling, and breathing).

These elements form a meaningful whole, through (1) the role of respiration, and (2) the concept of "body awareness". When breathing and body awareness are recognised and used as integrating factors, the application of relaxation techniques will gain in quality and will be less often partial and limited. This is of special importance for the health care, where standardised application to the manifold problems of patients is hardly allowed. A multiple relaxation program on this basis has proven to function well in a cardiac rehabilitation program. As to therapeutic use in general, there is need of further training of therapists and research into treatment indications.