Tensing your muscles before relaxing or stretching them can increase your range of motion and relaxation. One technique for doing this is called proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, or PNF, which works by overriding your body’s protective response to stretching a muscle. Another technique, called progressive relaxation, involves systematically tensing and releasing all of your muscles. Progressive relaxation relaxes your entire body by shutting off signals from the nervous system that tell your muscles to contract.
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