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  • Relaxation Techniques

    I was wondering if anyone had tried relaxation techniques with their children. My 11 year old son's psychologist recommended he use these for his OCD and also his TS (I believe). It involves tightening and relaxing muscle groups, then picturing yourself in a relaxing place, etc. Jacob is so resistant to doing this, it is like he has an aversion to relaxing. So, we've tried music of various types, but I don't think any of this is doing the job of really relaxing him. I'm thinking of nature sound recordings or something, maybe that will do it. Does anyone use any techniques that really work for their child?

  • #2
    Re: Relaxation Techniques

    Kristin,

    You may want to have a conversation with your son's psychologist on the involuntary nature of Tourette motor tics, as I suspect s/he may not fully appreciate how Tourette tics can interfere with and in fact sabotage a relaxation exercise such as the one suggested.

    The tightening and relaxing exercise might work fine in the general population, but the very nature of the exercise, in my view and from my own experience, simply serves to trigger tic activity.

    Discuss an alternate, but similar exercise involving straight relaxation of every appendage..legs, arms then torso, neck and jaw.

    Many psychologists will make an audio tape or CD of the instructions and prompts with the client in the room to tailor the instructions.

    The visualization exercise may be a bit advanced for an 11 year old, but if he can get the concept, it might be his best strategy.

    The idea is to remember a time and place in one's life when they realized, understood and appreciated a complete sense of relaxation.

    The method involves remembering that place and time, re creating the memory, including sounds and smells.

    I have such a memory tool that I have been using for years; and have used it while participating in a research project studying brain waves during relaxation.

    The technique works both clinically and scientifically, but requires some disciplined practice.

    Have you considered looking into yoga with your son as an alternative.

    BTW is your son's psychologist a certified child psychologist, and do you know if s/he has clinical experience treating children with Tourette Syndrome?
    Steve
    TouretteLinks Forum

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    • #3
      Re: Relaxation Techniques

      We have used relaxation music to help our boys settle at night. It work for as long as we could be consistent with it, breaks in routine, etc impacted the consistency. Our goal was for helping for getting them to sleep not just general relaxation. Weighted blankets also work for some people if you are working on bedtime relaxation.

      If you could get referred to an OT-occupational therapist-s/he would potentially give you other strategies to try.
      Janet

      TSFC Homepage

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      • #4
        Re: Relaxation Techniques

        A few years ago yoga type exercises were recommended to us by some parents of children with TS. My son was not interested in trying this, but some of the kids who did try it reported some success with it as a way of reducing some of the stresses that had built up during the day.

        The stretching involved in the exercises also helped to counteract some of the muscle cramps/pains that some kids had as a result of tics that overused some of their muscle groups.
        Cathy
        Forum Moderator

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        • #5
          Re: Relaxation Techniques

          Kristen,

          I think every person is different and so the treatment can sometimes follow that idea. With that said, I would advise trying everything (within reason) you here, from what your neurologist has said, to what Janet, steve, and cathy have mentioned.

          In my opinion (Im no doctor!, lol) but the first step is finding what your son is comfortable with. For me, if Im not intrested in trying something, it probably wont work because mentally I wont "give it my all". Your son will need to try the treatment willingly for it to work. So thats why I say try a bunch of things until you guys find one that he likes and works.

          For me, it was all about my enviroment. I was never gonna "calm" down at a bar or loud public place. So I would/will sit at home alone, with the lights off, music playing (style of music can vary, it just needs to be relaxing to the patient, so theres no one kind for everyone) and I would just lay down, not sleep, but just relax. Granted, this wasnt a quick fix and couldnt be done everywhere, but it also helped me understand why I tic, where I tic more specifically and little tricks to try when I am in a public place(i.e. slower breathing, deep daydreaming).

          But just remember that your son will have his own personal way of calming himself, just like everyone else. So try a bunch of ideas to get a start.
          The other day at a local grocery store, I saw a rack with books on it and one of them said, "pregancy for dummies"............

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          • #6
            Re: Relaxation Techniques

            Thanks everybody. I may try the yoga with Jacob and also get back to the visualization when he is just slightly older. Part of the problem is trying to convince a child that something like this actually works! I guess if we can lay the ground work now he may get back to it when he is older. Yes our psychologist is a cert. child psychologist who specializes in OCD. We actually don't discuss the TS a lot with him as the OCD has taken up most of our time and energy.

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            • #7
              Re: Relaxation Techniques

              But with my son I notice him going on about stuff and can't let it go. Well I am the same my mind just replays it and drives me nuts. So I readed this article it said when this pops back into your mind, think of something else and the more you do it the more you move on to something else. I do this with my son, I listen about what bothers him and have him sit next to me and rub his back. And tell him after ok now we need to let it go and move on... And over a very months I've notice if he retells the story it is not so full of negativeness. Its just amore storys about that kid or what happen. But I am really interested how this yoga works. Derrick has lots of back pain, tight muscles. I was thinking it was just stress but now I think it is cause by his tics, over use of certain muscles. Thanks I am going to check out yoga

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