What is relaxation?

Relaxation is a skill you can learn and improve on with practice. Just like playing the guitar or football, the more you practice, the better you get. When you are relaxed, your body is limp and your muscles are loose. If you are sitting in a chair or lying in bed, you might feel your body sink as you let go of your tension. You will also notice your breathing become slow and deep.

Why it is important to learn to relax 

Learning how to relax can help you in many ways. You might be surprised at how learning such a simple skill can have so many benefits.

Relaxation can:

• help reduce the effects of stress on your body, like anxiety and tension

• help manage pain by changing pain messages

• give you more energy

• make you feel more alert and in control

• help you think more clearly, concentrate and remember things better

• help you sleep better at night

• help you enjoy things more.

Cool facts about relaxation

Research has shown that relaxation can be more effective than medication in reducing pain for headaches.

Even if you have not done relaxation in the way that you will learn in this program, you probably have relaxed in other ways. For example, if you lie on your bed and listen to music, you are relaxing. Or maybe you take a hot bath to relax. There are many activities we do that help us relax. What are some of the things you do to relax?

General tips for learning how to relax

• Use your favourite, most comfortable chair or couch to practice the relaxation strategies you are about to learn.

• Don’t use your bed the first time you try out these relaxation strategies because you might fall asleep. Later on you can use these strategies to help you fall asleep faster.

• Practice these exercises in a quiet place. You might need to put a sign up saying “Do Not Disturb – Relaxation in Progress.”

• Keep your legs and arms uncrossed. This will help your blood move through your body more easily.

• Practice these techniques every day to relieve stress. Use them at times when you are starting to feel pain or tension. Set a goal for how many times per week you will practice.

• Try to do the relaxation exercises at the same time each day.

• The more you practice, the better these techniques will work.


Welcome to the Taking Charge: Managing JIA Online Program! In this section you will learn what to expect in the program, how to get started and how to set goals to better manage JIA.

JIA stands for juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Find out what causes JIA, the different types of JIA and how it will affect you now and in the future.

Diagnosing JIA may be difficult as joint pain and swelling may be a part of many different illnesses. Diagnosis of JIA typically includes a physical exam, blood tests and imaging studies.

Pain, stiffness, and tiredness or fatigue, are common symptoms of JIA. These symptoms can lead to difficulties with participating in school and sports activities, and enjoying time with your friends. Learn about pain, fatigue, and stiffness, how to manage symptoms and how these symptoms can cause stress.

There are several strategies you can use to help you cope with pain, stress, and sleep problems. These include relaxation, distraction, and managing your thoughts. In this section, learn more about how each of these strategies work.

When you know about your medications, you can talk to your doctor about them and make good choices for yourself. Find out about the different types of JIA medications, how they work, common side effects, and the importance of talking to your doctor about your medication plan.

Did you know that there are many other therapies that you can use to manage JIA symptoms? They can help to prevent complications so that you can do all the things you want to do. In this section, learn more about physical, occupational, and psychological therapies; maintaining healthy nutrition; surgical options for JIA, and more.

Your role in making decisions about your treatment plan is very important. Your health-care team and other members of your support system are available to help you make these decisions. In turn, they can help you to manage your JIA.

Whether you have JIA or not, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Find out how to stay healthy and active, learn about puberty and relationships, healthy body image, and making healthy lifestyle choices.

Sometime between the ages of 18 to 22, you most likely will transition from your pediatric rheumatologist to the adult health care setting. At that time, there are a number of things you, your family, and your health-care team can do to help make this change go smoothly.