Relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation and controlled breathing, alter pain perception by triggering a relaxation response (muscle relaxation, reduced heart rate and blood pressure, and improved mood). Several methods of progressive muscle relaxation are used to distract patients from their pain and to reduce pain intensity. Paradoxical reactions can occur in individuals who experience increased distress when attending to bodily sensations. For this subset of patients, distraction or imagery without body scanning is typically more effective.
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