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Exercising with Endo — Relaxation

Relaxation exercises can help in reducing endometriosis pain and tension. Specifically, Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) techniques are a great addition to mobility and stretching workout routines. 

Endometriosis can be ‘invisible’ from the outside, can only be diagnosed through surgery and is often mistaken for other conditions that have similar symptoms; this can also make it difficult for women struggling with the disease or diagnosis to create a normal or strict exercise routine. Exercising with endo does not have to be difficult to be effective and women who perform PMR exercises specifically tend to report reduced pain perception, improved sleep quality and improved stress management. 

Developed by accredited Exercise Physiologists, Elisha Silcox and Esme Soan, the following PMR exercises were originally published on Endometriosis Queensland's website and have been published here with their permission. 

Follow these 3 simple steps. 

1. Lay on your back, with a pillow under your knees for support if you need, taking deep, calm breaths.

2. As you take a deep breath in, squeeze the muscles in your feet, holding the breath and the tension in your feet while you count down for 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

3. Breathe all the way out while you consciously release all the tension in your feet. Repeat twice more.

Once you’ve relaxed your feet, work your way up to your calves, thighs, buttocks, abdomen, lower back, upper back, neck, shoulders, arms, wrists, fingers, and face. This is a great relaxation and pain relief technique to practice in bed and can help you fall asleep more easily. The same technique can also be used in a shorter format throughout the day to relieve stress or reduce pain. You can shorten the PMR by choosing to focus on only one or two areas repeating them a few times each, or you can run through each area just once.

The following apps also have audio tapes to talk you through PMR techniques. 

- Calm

- Headspace

- Or search ‘progressive muscle relaxation training’ on YouTube

Esme Soan and Elisha Silcox are Senior Exercise Physiologists at Pear Exercise Physiology & Physio. You can find important information about Endometriosis symptoms, treatments, management and more on the QENDO website.

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