If you’ve read the Assumptions page you’ll understand why I’m sharing free relaxation resources on this page: relaxation techniques may be a cheap way to switch into a ‘rest and digest’ state which could maybe help you improve more quickly (or more likely cope better with being ill in the meantime). I definitely do not think that any techniques like this can cure serious chronic illness disability. It is worth being very wary of any website which makes such a claim. This seems to be a good rule of thumb:
“Beware simple answers to complex problems, or easy methods for accomplishing difficult goals. If you combine this maxim with the advice to be skeptical of any claims that are being made in order to sell you something – then ironically you have a simple method (perhaps I should call it an “elegant” method) for protecting yourself from most scams and cons.” Neurologica
Neuroscience and chronic illness seem particularly prone to pseudoscience exploitation, often because there is some sort of truth in the claim. I’ve studied neurology at university level (20 years of brainfog ago!) and I still find it tricky to decide what is pseudoscience or just not yet well evidenced. The other issue is the basic idea can be sound but the marketing or cost is dodgy.
To save you spending your remaining pennies on expensive CDs I’ve collated a list of free resources. These relaxation resources are listed in order of how well I need to be to find them useful. Some of them feel a bit unusual to start with. If you find it relaxing use it, if not you’ve only wasted a few minutes.
Blog posts also contain a variety of free resources (not just relaxation) see this category format/resource/free
what is it? the brain has a tendency to change EEG rhythm to outside stimuli (eg music). binaural beats deliberately create an intended brain state by slight rhythmic differences between earphones. this Effect is temporary while you are listening to sounds. beware of any marketing selling expensive equipment or making cure claims you only need headphones and free sounds (see Neurologica).
app: Binaural Beat Therapy (e.g. 60 mins, music on/offº)
youtube: Instant Migraine Relief (10 mins, music onº)
wellness required: ability to listen to music on headphones, no active concentration required. Not for epileptics or those with heart arrhythmias
I use for: headaches, overactive mind, inducing sleep
what is it? see review on this blog
website: Yoga Nidra for ME (16 mins, music off) Download
app: Deeply Relax (10 mins, music on/offº)
youtube: Yoga Nidra for insomnia (36 mins, music onº)
wellness required: ability to listen to instructions while lying still
I use for: resting muscles, relaxation with low concentration, inducing sleep. This is my favourite technique.
what is it? deep relaxation with guided thoughts or imagery (not like stage hypnosis)
website: Deep Relaxation (22 mins, music onº)
app: Deep Sleep Free Hypnosis (adjustable mins, music on/off)
youtube: Reduce Stress (28 mins, music off)
wellness required: ability to listen to instructions and use visual imagination
I use for: learning to relax, feeling more positive
what is it? repetitive chant or singing with psychological or spiritual meaning/less
website: Free Meditation Info (e.g. 5 mins, music onº)
app: Sparsh Meditation, om mani padme hum, (e.g. 10 mins set repeat, music onº)
youtube: Maranatha (7 mins, music off)
wellness required: ability to concentrate on meditation while chanting
I use for: racing mind, feeling happier, distracting from negative thoughts
what is it? attention to the present moment (here in the form of guided meditation)
website: Audio Dharma (e.g. 30 mins, music off) Stream
youtube: Chronic Pain Management (10 mins, music off)
wellness required: ability to maintain meditative concentration during silences
I use for: pain control, living in the present (avoid sadness for past or anxiety about future)
what is it? exercise in the form of physical postures
website: Fiona Agombar (10-15 mins, music onº)
app: Daily Yoga
youtube: Yoga for Burn Out and Chronic Fatigue (10 mins, music offº)
wellness required: physical as well as mental stamina required
I use for: I’ve just restarted doing the lying down Fiona Agombar yoga (specifically designed for ME). It is good for increasing suppleness and as a moving meditation. I find that lying down yoga keeps my heartrate at 80-90bpm, when my PoTS improves I will try standing postures. Tai Chi was also good like this too but I’ve not sustained enough physical strength/energy to be able to do this in recent years.
Please email me if you have free resources I could add to posts.
º Indicates length of session and whether there is background music or sound.