Keeping to the programme Once you have finalized your programme be prepared to stick with it for a few weeks, but do not be surprised to find it becoming less complicated as you master the relaxation response. The ultimate aim is to be able to enter into deep relaxation as easily as you can don a comfortable jacket or step into a pair of carpet slippers. This can only occur with training and regular practice.
Many people in Group 3 will be on medical treatment regimes, especially for blood pressure and heart conditions. It is essential that they let their prescribing physicians know that they are about to embark on a relaxation response type of training routine, not because there is any intrinsic danger in the method but because it might well be necessary to reduce the quantity of medicines and drugs taken daily once the relaxation response has been mastered. More information about how relaxation can help certain conditions will be found in Chapter 13.
Although specially useful for the 60-plus age group and the disabled, many other people who find that tension is producing symptoms benefit from this simple system. It is based on the general principles of Swedish and Oriental self-massage, which teach recognition of essential sensations with the distinctive characteristics involved in the relaxation response. These arise from the skin and subcutaneous tissue rather than from muscles and joints, as in Group 2. (See Group 2, pages 61-2).
First refer back to pages 8 to 11 for the basic relaxation response requirements. Most of these massage relaxation techniques can be learned in a sitting position. Some Oriental massages involving the upper limbs, face and trunk are traditionally carried out from the kneeling position. However, most people find kneeling uncomfortable, to start with at any rate; in which case, if discomfort is experienced, continue the exercises standing up.
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