Relaxation techniques refocus your attention on something calming and increase awareness of your body, often bringing your attention to your breathing, muscles, or other body functions to relax and calm them.
Relaxation techniques at a glance
Relaxation techniques of several types are available, from simply focusing on your breathing to slow and calm it, to more complex and guided techniques. Sometimes relaxation techniques are combined with other mind-body therapies such as guided imagery or meditation.
Relaxation techniques can promote better quality of life and reduce or relieve several common side effects of cancer and treatments, such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, and pain. Relaxation can also benefit your immune function.
In this review, we look at relaxation techniques as a whole. Relaxation is often part of or used in combination with one or more other mind-body therapies as listed here. We cannot separate out the effects of relaxation alone. We report which therapies are included in each study and each summary.
- Breathing exercises
- Guided imagery ›
- Laughter therapy
- Meditation and mindfulness-based interventions
- Music and arts therapies
- Tai chi and qigong ›
- Yoga ›
CancerChoices ratings for relaxation techniques
We rate relaxation techniques on seven attributes, with 0 the lowest rating and 5 the highest.
See how we evaluate and rate complementary therapies ›