The best methods for relaxation

A stressful lifestyle can cause sickness. Periods of relaxation are not a luxury, but a must. Relaxation exercises can help you switch off and cope with challenges. Discover various relaxation techniques.

11.04.2017

A busy schedule, pressure to perform at work, personal stress – our everyday life is often extremely demanding. In the long term, this is harmful to our health and mental well-being. It is essential for every person to have moments of peace and deep relaxation. If there is no longer a good balance between exertion and relaxation, we are less able to perform and our well-being and health are at risk. This is because, under stress, the body releases stress hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol and dopamine. Without subsequent relaxation, the body cannot break down these hormones. This can result in high blood pressure, digestive problems, tension, chronic headaches, sleep disorders and burnout. Pay attention to the messages your body is sending you.

Relaxation exercises: a positive effect on your body and brain

There are several ways to relax: going for a walk, taking a warm bath, listening to music, enjoying a personal hobby. It is also useful to try special relaxation techniques that have a lasting soothing effect, such as meditation, yoga, autogenic training and progressive muscle relaxation. Those who internalise the exercises are better able to deal with stress. Stressful situations cannot be avoided – what matters is how we deal with them. Regular relaxation exercises make us calmer, more attentive and resilient. Find out which relaxation technique works best for you and can fit regularly into your everyday life. And remember, only practice makes perfect.

Breathing exercises are a simple and effective way to help alleviate the negative effects of shallow breathing and help you relax better. Breathing is an automatic process. But our thoughts and feelings influence our breathing. For example, our breath is restricted when we are experiencing stress, are not getting enough exercise or have bad posture. Possible consequences include headaches, increased fatigue and tension. Breathing exercises train you to be aware of your breath. This has a positive effect on your entire respiratory function and results in better oxygen supply. A natural breathing rhythm also compensates body tension. You can learn and practice breathing exercises in courses.

Away with stress: tips for breathing exercises

What does Helsana cover?

From SANA and COMPLETA supplementary insurance, you receive 75%, up to CHF 200 per calendar year and per course area, as a contribution to your health promotion efforts. Course instructors must be recognised by the Helsana Group:

Find recognised instructors

"My arms and legs feel very heavy." This is how an autogenic training session begins. You relax using the power of your thoughts – without any aids. The aim of this relaxation technique is to be able to relax at will, at any place and any time. It can be performed while reclining or sitting. This makes it easy to integrate the relaxation method into everyday life, at home, on the tram or train, or at work.

In the Helsana Coach App, you will find various audio tutorials for autogenic training.

Helsana Coach App

What does Helsana cover?

From SANA and COMPLETA supplementary insurance, you receive 75%, up to CHF 200 per calendar year and per course area, as a contribution to your health promotion efforts. Course instructors must be recognised by the Helsana Group:

Find recognised instructors

The Feldenkrais method aims to promote physical, emotional and mental well-being through improved body awareness and movement. It was invented by Israeli physicist and psychologist Moshé Feldenkrais (1904-1984). His core belief was that thought, feeling, perception and movement are interrelated and influence each other. Adverse movement patterns are detected and adjusted. This relaxation technique is suited to the treatment of conditions such as chronic pain, stress and tension, or simply to improve general well-being. It may be learned independently or as part of a course.

 

What does Helsana cover?

From SANA and COMPLETA supplementary insurance, you receive 75%, up to CHF 200 per calendar year and per course area, as a contribution to your health promotion efforts. Course instructors must be recognised by the Helsana Group:

Find recognised instructors

This relaxation technique was developed by Australian actor Frederic Matthias Alexander. He discovered for himself that posture, movement and thought patterns are all interrelated. These patterns should be recognised and positively influenced through self-awareness. This therapy helps with various functional disorders, psychosomatic and stress-related disturbances, breathing and mood problems, chronic pain, illness and the consequences of accidents, and is suitable as an accompanying measure in pregnancy and after birth. The method is also proven as a preventive measure and enhances quality of life.

 

What does Helsana cover?

From SANA and COMPLETA supplementary insurance, you receive 75%, up to CHF 200 per calendar year and per course area, as a contribution to your health promotion efforts. Course instructors must be recognised by the Helsana Group: 

Find recognised instructors

MBSR stands for Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Mindfulness is about remaining in the present moment and being attentive. You learn not to get caught up in your thoughts, make judgements or fall prey to worries or anxiety. Beginners can learn the technique in an eight-week MBSR course. Mindfulness training is suitable for people who are under stress, suffering from acute or chronic illnesses or pain, or affected by psychosomatic troubles (sleep, digestion, etc.), anxiety or mood problems.

 

What does Helsana cover?

From SANA and COMPLETA supplementary insurance, you receive 75%,up to CHF 200 per calendar year and per course area, as a contribution to your health promotion efforts. Recognised course instructors are members of the MSBR Association of Switzerland:

Find MBSR instructors (in German)

The principle of Edmund Jacobson's progressive muscle relaxation technique is simple: certain muscle groups are deliberately tensed for a short time, one after the other, and then released abruptly. After the tension, and with each exercise, the relaxation is perceived more intensively and consciously. Blood pressure drops, the pulse slows and breathing calms down. The technique is relatively easy to learn because it does not require much concentration. It helps with many physical and psychological problems such as stress, pain and sleep disorders.

Simple relaxation exercises

Meditation is a method of relaxation based on mindfulness and concentration that is thousands of years old. Several meditation techniques exist: physically active forms include yoga and walking meditation, while physically passive forms include mindfulness training (e.g. Vipassana, MBSR) and transcendental meditation. Meditation and mindfulness exercises have a positive effect on our whole body. They allow us to deal better with stress and to experience inner peace and equilibrium. These psychological factors in turn influence bodily functions such as blood pressure and the immune system.

Learn deep relaxation

What does Helsana cover?

From SANA and COMPLETA supplementary insurance, you receive 75%, up to CHF 200 per calendar year, for yoga courses, with the same applying to MBSR. You can find all recognised health promotion measures here. Course instructors must be recognised by the Helsana Group:

Find recognised instructors

Further information

Specialist Heinz Jurenia: Specialist Heinz Jurenia:

Specialist Heinz Jurenia:

Heinz Jurenia (HFP-certified health insurance expert) has worked for Helsana for over 40 years and is a specialist in health promotion measures. He is an expert in the fitness industry and is involved in several quality assurance organisations in the Swiss health sector. Heinz Jurenia provided the editorial team with advice and editorial support for this article.

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