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December 1930

Progressive Relaxation. A Physiological and Clinical Investigation of Muscular States and Their Significance in Psychology and Medical Practice.

Arch NeurPsych. 1930;24(6):1300-1301. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1930.02220180197020

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It is hardly possible to do justice to this brilliant and original work in the scope of a review. The book deals with a method of treating the neuromuscular system so as "to quiet the nervous system, including the mind," the history of this method and the principles on which it is based, and the possible range of its usefulness. It covers studies by the author which began twenty years ago and which are still being continued. The practical method of "progressive relaxation" which the author advocates is based on a long series of careful physiologic experiments.

In 1908, the author investigated the excessive responses that take place after sudden unexpected stimuli. This "involuntary start" reaction is familiar to every one. He came to explain variations in the results in the following way: "The muscles contracted with a jerk when the strong stimulus came because they were previously contracting, although