3 Stress Relief Techniques Used By Occupational Therapists

Written by on March 23, 2013 in Health - No comments | Print this page


Stress Relief

One of the biggest issues faced by many occupational therapists is the process of relieving a variety of stress issues within their patients. While the process of physically healing is important, it is equally important to ensure that the patient is able to rid themselves of stress and anxiety related to the incident and rehabilitation in order to better facilitate their reintroduction into their normal lives.

There are a variety of stress relief methods used by occupational therapists, and they all are effective to their own degree. Some patients may react better to one treatment than another, so it is up to the occupational therapist to find the most effective treatment on a person to person basis.

PMR (Progressive Muscle Relaxation)

PMR is a process in which the patient continually tenses and relaxes their muscles. The basis of this treatment is to promote relief of tension within a patient’s muscles which should calm and relax them. This method is excellent for lessening any anxiety or negative feelings that a patient may show during the recovery process.

The act of tensing and relaxing the muscles also provides the patient with something to concentrate on aside from their mental anguish that should produce a state of mental relaxation as well.

Relaxation Therapy

The stress and anxiety surrounding an injury and it’s recovery can be greatly affected by the mental state of a patient. Although the term can be broad in scope, the general purpose of relaxation therapy is to treat the psychological effects of an injury.

This can include talking to the patient, asking them questions to take their mind away from their current state and also relating to the patient to make them feel more relaxed while in the company of the occupational therapist.

By reducing any psychological symptoms within a patient, it allows the patient to reduce their feelings of anxiety before they become a more serious issue. With practice, relaxation therapy is an excellent tool that an occupational therapist can utilize to not only make their job a little easier but also offer their patients mental relief when anxiety is at an all-time high.

Meditation Therapy

Meditation aims to achieve stress relief much like that of relaxation therapy. Meditation involves the cleansing of the mind while using concentration as a tool. Things like chanting, using breathing exercises or visualizing a relaxing scene in the mind are all excellent ways to begin the meditation process.

Reduced heart rate and breathing rate are the key theory behind the helpful effects of meditation on stress and anxiety. By reducing the heart rate and steadying the act of breathing, a patient can begin to feel more relaxed and at peace internally.

Transcendental Meditation — also known as TM — is a form of meditation therapy, but with an Indian flair. The repeating of a mantra and the concentration on the mantra is intended to produce a heightened level of consciousness. TM’s effectiveness is primarily tied to the type and level of a particular patient’s religious beliefs, but it can be effective for some.

Effectiveness of Treatments

The effectiveness of these forms of stress relief are dependent on the patient’s ability to believe in them and also to regulate themselves outside of therapy sessions. By increasing their self reliance, the patient will be much more capable of properly managing their stress levels when the occupational therapy has concluded and the therapist is no longer needed.

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Tyler Franklin works as an occupational therapist and often writes about different relaxation techniques and health benefits of relieving stress. Tyler was delighted to offer his knowledge and experience to the creation of “How Do I become an Occupational Therapist?” for others who may be interested in this as a career.


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