“Constructive Rest”

This post is mostly about something called “constructive rest,” which is a new term for me.

Recently on the Link2Care email list, the moderator, Chamundi, wrote about her mother with Alzheimer’s.  Her mother was nervous if she couldn’t see Chamundi.  When Chamundi was in another room, the mother would call for her.  Rather than getting upset, Chamundi decided to use some of her time with her mother to “rest.”  She would lie on the floor.  If the mother said things that could be ignored, Chamundi would say “I want to just rest here for a little while, Mom, and I’ll get up in a few minutes.”  Eventually the mother rested as well.

That story led someone else on Link2Care to offer a link to a blog post about “constructive rest.”  See:


In the 5-minute video at the bottom of that blog post, the instructor, Brooke Thomas, demonstrates a good position to lie in for “constructive rest.”  She suggests dedicating 15 minutes each day to this sort of rest.

It probably makes sense to lie on the floor near a sturdy chair or table so that the furniture can be used for help getting up off the floor.

I’ve copied part of the blog post below.



Excerpts From

Constructive Rest
From Soma Happy
October 17, 2012


It is what it sounds like: resting for a constructive purpose. The most common purposes that people utilize constructive rest in their lives are 1) to decrease stress/relieve anxiety and trauma and 2) to relieve chronic pain. Constructive rest is originally a part of The Alexander Technique (alexandertechnique.com), and is taught by Alexander teachers as a way of relieving excess tension from the body which has the nifty effect of helping people to heal both stress/anxiety and pain. Jonathan Fitzgordon (and many others) believe this is because it is the only pose that allows the psoas muscle to release, and a healthy psoas is the key to a healthy and pain free body.


It is amazing how much people will moan and groan when I give this pose to them for “homeplay”: “I just have to lie there? For 15 minutes? How will I know it’s doing anything!? Can I read? Listen to an audio book? Watch TV!? Why do I just have to lie around for so long!!!” You would think I had recommended that they remove their back molars with pliers.

I get it. We are a part of a culture of doers, and I’m a big time type A doer myself. Prescribing such passiveness to people in order to rid them of either their pain or anxiety kind of gives them the feeling of putting their trust in a witch doctor and hoping they’ll miraculously feel better. Well whether it fits into our mental model of how the world works or not (i.e. “You have to work hard to see any results.”), the truth is that rest can often accomplish a lot more than efforting. Imagine your life without any sleep at night and you start to get an idea. It’s all about balance and the rest cycle is an important part of our well-being.