This book, written by a pioneer of relaxation therapy, explains the simple methods that have helped people reduce nervous tension and to live a more relaxed and

23 KB – 194 Pages

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Nervous tension is a more frequent ailment thanthe common cold. It is a greater danger. Tensioncan reduce your efficiency, destroy your health andshorten your life. This book, written by a pioneer ofrelaxation therapy, explains the simple methods thathave helped people reduce nervous tension and tolive a more relaxed and fulfilling life. Relaxationcan be self-taught and You Must Relax helps thereader to use muscular energy to relax moreeffectively. Everyday nervous tensions can bereduced and the risk of suffering from nervousdiseases minimised.

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First published in Great Britain by Souvenir Press Ltd 1977First published in Unwin Paperbacks 1980This book is copyright under the Berne Convention. Allright are reserved. Apart from any fair dealing for thepurpose of private study, research, criticism or review, aspermitted under the Copyright Act, 1956, no part of thispublication may be reproduced, stored in a retrievalsystem, or transmitted, in any form or by any means,electronic, electrical, chemical, mechanical, optical, photo-copying, recording or otherwise, without the priorpermission of the copyright owner. Enquiries should besent to the publishers at the undermentioned address:UNWIN® PAPERBACKS40 Museum Street, London WC1A 1LU© Edmund Jacobson 1976British Library Cataloguing in Publication DataJacobson, EdmundYou must relax. – 5th ed., revised andenlarged.1. Relaxation 2. Nervous system – DiseasesI. Title616.8’04’5 RA785 80-40053ISBN 0-04-132019-0Condition of Sale. This book is sold subject to thecondition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise,be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated, with-out the Publishers’ prior consent in any form of bindingor cover other than that in which it is published andwithout a similar condition including this condition beingimposed on the purchaser.Typeset in 10 on 11 point Times by Watford Typesettersand printed in Great Britainby Hazell Watson & Viney Ltd, Aylesbury, Bucks.

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PREFACERELAXATIONMAKES HISTORYThis is a tense world, as many of us well know. We talk about’tension’ and we read about it. It is discussed in newspaperarticles, in magazines and in books. Evidently, there is growingpopular realisation of something excessive in our way of livingwhich can lead to disorder and malady. There is search for aremedy. Today doctors tell us to ‘relax’.This was not always so. When the famous physician whoattended President Wilson wrote a book about rest, the word’relaxation’ did not even appear in the index. People then did notdiscuss tension. The characters in films written in that epoch didnot tell each other to ‘relax’ as they do nowadays, for the wordhad not yet sunk into the popular mores. I know, because tenyears previously I had begun to develop the principles and thescientific study of tension and relaxation as we now know them.I felt the burden of responsibility deeply. On the one handI must test each advance in the field objectively, avoiding anyenthusiasm which could cloud my judgement. Yet in my coldanalysis as a scientist, I must not close my eyes to any lightwhich could guide mankind.My investigations were begun in the laboratory at HarvardUniversity in 1908. Later I carried them further at Cornell andat the University of Chicago until 1936. Since then they havebeen conducted in a laboratory to which I have devoted myprivate means and my time, the Laboratory for Clinical Physio-logy in Chicago. The results of these investigations affordedpractical measures for improving the health status of human

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vi You Must Relaxbeings. These practical measures have been tested and have beendeveloped further over the years in my associated clinics.My studies led to definite understanding of what tension reallyis – namely, the effort that is manifested in shortening of musclefibres. Physiologists know this as muscle tension and have studiedit in animals for over a century. I was attempting to begin wherethey left off in order to turn some of the vast basic knowledgewhich they had accumulated toward the benefit of man.As I went along, I wrote up some of the results and theyappeared in scientific journals. Believing that the universal trendtoward overactive minds and bodies could result in various ills, Iwrote a book in 1929 called Progressive Relaxation. It wasaddressed to doctors and other scientists. Some said that it wasvery technical. Accordingly, the suggestion was made at theuniversity that I write in simpler form for laymen. I did so underthe title You Must RELAX. Since then many physicians haveprescribed it as reading matter for their patients.My path led through many difficulties. At first I had to contendwith the fact that doctors and laymen alike were prone to thinkof amusement, recreation or hobbies at the mention of the word’relax’.Therefore I had to choose between (1) inventing a new wordto mean neuromuscular relaxation and (2) trying to lead thepublic to use a word already familiar to them in the sense ofrecreation or hobby but diverted to mean neuromuscular relaxa-tion. I chose the latter course. As the years have gone by, I havenot regretted the decision. To an appreciable extent, the publichas ‘caught on’, and today the word ‘relax’ has become part andparcel of daily speech in the sense of ‘let go’ or ‘take it easy’.High nervous tension is prevalent in America today, leadingto tension disorders of various types which will be discussed inthis volume in an elementary manner.What we know about the nervous system and the mind, whatwe know from investigation by electrical methods can besynthesised in one very important principle: relaxation is thedirect negative of nervous excitement. It is the absence of nerve-muscle impulse. More simply said, to be relaxed is the directphysiological opposite of being excited or disturbed.Is this obvious? I hope so, for I have worked hard over theyears to make it become so. If it is even beginning to become

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viii You Must Relaxcholesterol are advised to follow diets low in dairy products andother saturated fats.In general we can say that coronary ‘heart attacks’ arise fromcoronary sclerosis plus tension. The greater the tension or themore advanced the sclerosis, the more likely the complication.We do not know all the causes of sclerosis, but evidence will bepresented that tension favours its development.This book, then, is written to teach people how to conservetheir energies, thereby to avoid undue tension, yet ever strivingfor the success which seems to them good. Its purpose is toencourage them to take the advantage of the ‘built-in tranquil-liser’ which exists ready for use in every one of us. Why usesedatives and tranquillising drugs with their many side-effects,asked my lifelong friend, Oscar G. Mayer – who originated theexpression quoted – when nature has provided a built-in devicefree from all such defects?To help in this direction of preventive medicine but also totrain doctors and educators in respective fields of medicine andof education, there has recently been formed the Foundation forScientific Relaxation. It is a non-profit organisation. Thus it isa philanthropy which, in the opinion of its staff of businessmen,doctors and other scientists, can do much for the public welfare.I realise that a popular book on common ills might promptmany to use it for self-healing when what they really need isdiagnosis and instruction in the method of relaxation by aphysician or some other form of medical attention. It is ourhope eventually to have physicians trained in the field availableto the public in various sections of the country.However, scientific relaxation is not only a medical field. It isin addition a way of life. Today it is being taught in mostuniversity departments of physical education all over the country.Our field has become a part of undergraduate education. Further-more, knowledge of scientific aspects is generally required ofcandidates for higher degrees in psychology.EDMUND JACOBSON, MDLaboratory for Clinical Physiology, Chicago

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DIRECTIONS FORUSING THIS BOOKThis book is designed to help people cope with the difficulties andmaladies of everyday life. It has two major and distinct parts.The first part describes the tension and tension disorders to whicheverybody is subject. The reader learns that his very efforts tocope are, in fact, expenditures of his energy (his personal petrol,actually his adenosine triphosphate) by which he lives, moves andhas his being. He learns why success in living, like success inrunning a business, depends upon successful self-management,based upon thrift and upon knowledge of costs.This first section credits ‘Nature’ with the development of awonderful living instrument, yet teaches that man needs to learnto run it efficiently for successful living. We cannot change ourheredity, which unfortunately renders many of us susceptible tocommon maladies, such as high blood pressure and heart attacks;but we can learn to minimise hereditary maladies as well as thosewhich result chiefly from different forms of everyday ‘stress’.This first section of the book, like the following section, is nomere theory, but is based upon sixty years of laboratory andclinical investigation from the standpoint of a cautious physiologyand diagnostic medical practice.The second section of this book instructs the reader by proved,practical methods how to run himself efficiently not only duringthe difficulties but also during the happy hours of life. He needsto learn how to run himself properly, just as he needs to learn todrive a motorcar properly. He will need to practice daily forbest results, and directions in the book tell him what to do eachday. He will learn that tension control has no exercises; forexercises are efforts. He will learn how to overcome costly habitsof unnecessary effort-tension and will change to habitual easierliving, saving in his daily energy costs while accomplishing whathe really needs to do. He will learn to relax, thus avoiding

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x You Must Relaxtranquillisers, sedatives and hypnotics. By learning the energythrift of differential relaxation, practiced in his daily duties, hisamusements, his accustomed sports and physical exercises, he canlearn to live more effectively, more pleasantly and possibly longer.The writer is a scientist, respectful of the dedicated medicalprofession. Like other doctors, he knows that the public, whenuneducated in medicine, tends to seek quick cures and panaceas.Learning to relax, as doctors know, cannot be achieved in twolessons, but wishful thinking can make it appear so. Progressiverelaxation is the product of American science and cultivatesself-reliance and independence, without reassurance and auto-suggestions.

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AcknowledgementsI am indebted for support and technical aid as long as I neededit to the Bell Telephone Laboratories, especially to ResearchDirector Harold De-Forest Arnold, and to President OliverBuckley and his successor, Mervin J. Kelly, as well as toelectronics engineers H. A. Frederick and D. G. Blattner.E.J.

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