A compendium of relaxation techniques. This book supports the clinical practice of physical and psychological therapists seeking to explore the field of relaxation training or to tailor their approach to individual clients.

There are many different approaches to relaxation training. If this book doesn’t have them all, it certainly contains the vast majority.

First publshed in 1995 and now in its third edition, the book covers the physiology underlying tension and stress together with physical and cognitive approaches to relaxation. Each chapter expands on one approach, detailing the theory (if any) behind the approach, then offering scripts, variations on the main approach and benefits and pitfalls of the approach.

Approaches covered include both progressive and passive muscular relaxation, the Mitchell method and the Alexander technique, breathing exercises, imagery, autogenic training and visualisation. Some chapters seem too short and some too long, but the former are those I want to know more about and the latter are those which don’t interest me so much, which suggests that the author has achieved a balanced overview of the field.

Although each chapter offers references for further reading, this is not an academic text. It is, as the front cover says, “a Practical Handbook for the Health Care Professional” and it does exactly what it says on the tin.


Payne RA (1995) Relaxation Techniques: A Practical Handbook for the Health Care Professional. Churchill Livingstone: London