Progressive muscle relaxation, yoga stretching, and ABC relaxation theory

J Clin Psychol. 2004 Jan;60(1):131-6. doi: 10.1002/jclp.10194.


This study compared the psychological effects of progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) and yoga stretching (hatha) exercises. Forty participants were randomly divided into two groups and taught PMR or yoga stretching exercises. Both groups practiced once a week for five weeks and were given the Smith Relaxation States Inventory before and after each session. As hypothesized, practitioners of PMR displayed higher levels of relaxation states (R-States) Physical Relaxation and Disengagement at Week 4 and higher levels of Mental Quiet and Joy as a posttraining aftereffect at Week 5. Contrary to what was hypothesized, groups did not display different levels of R-States Energized or Aware. Results suggest the value of supplementing traditional somatic conceptualizations of relaxation with the psychological approach embodied in ABC relaxation theory. Clinical and research implications are discussed.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Arousal
  • Female
  • Happiness*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meditation / psychology
  • Muscle Relaxation*
  • Personality Inventory
  • Relaxation Therapy*
  • Yoga* / psychology