For one set of muscles in the body to work, the opposite set has to relax. You can use this principle to release physical tension, writes Lee Rodwell.

Lie quietly on your back with your legs slightly apart and your hands by your side. If you feel faint or uncomfortable, find an alternative position: you could simply relax in a chair.

Close your eyes. Now pull your shoulders down towards your feet - and stop pulling. Notice how they have become relaxed.

Next, your arms. Push your elbows out and open - then stop pushing. Register the way they now feel relaxed.

Continue the process, moving on to other parts of your body. Stretch your fingers, then stop. Tighten your buttocks, then stop. Lift your heels off the floor, then stop. Push your feet away, then stop. Press your body into the floor, then stop. Press your head into the floor, then stop. Pull your lower jaw down, then stop.

Every time, register the feeling of relaxation which follows each individual movement.

Use your breathing to help you relax even more deeply. Breathe out fully, then pause until you feel the urge to breathe in again. Concentrate on the "out" breath and let breathing in come naturally. Continue to pause between each breath.