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Session 2 focuses on “applied muscle relaxation” traditionally used to describe the relaxation of muscles by contracting a muscle, holding the contraction, and then releasing tension. This might also be called “contract-release muscle relaxation.” Another method of muscle relaxation, such as that used in yoga, involves stretching a muscle by forced elongation, holding the forced elongation a certain time, and then releasing it. This might also be called elongation-release relaxation or stretch-release relaxation. Multiplex CBT teaches both applied muscle relaxation (i.e., “contract-release” relaxation) and applied muscle stretching (i.e., “elongation-release” relaxation). Patients who experience anxious-depressive distress have multiple symptoms induced by muscle tension. Examples of sensations caused by muscle tension include joint soreness, muscle soreness, and headache. In addition, those muscle-tension-caused somatic sensations often give rise to catastrophic cognitions, trigger distress associations, and activate interceptive conditioning. In addition, muscle relaxation will decrease arousal and hence fear, and this reduced arousal and fear will decrease symptoms such as cold extremities. Furthermore, applied muscle stretching allows for the introduction of phrases and images that promote a positive self-image of flexibility and prime to being flexible.
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