What is Autogenic Training?
Autogenic training is a method of relaxation that teaches your body to respond to verbal commands. It was developed by psychiatrist J.H. Schulz, who described it as the yoga of western civilisation. Schulz had noticed that people with the help of their imagination and self-suggestions are able to cause changes in the autonomous nervous system that lead to relaxation and calmness of the mind.
The effects of autogenic training have often been the subject of scientific research. The various studies that followed have shown that Autogenic Relaxation Training is an effective tool with beneficial effects both on the body and on our mental state. See more details below:
Beneficial effects of Autogenic Training
|Physiological Effects||Psychological Effects|
|• Reduced physical tension caused by stress|
• Reduced body fatigue and increase in stamina
• Increase in concentration
• Improved learning and attention
• Improvement in memory
• Effective treatment of gastrointestinal disturbances
• Lower blood pressure
• Reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and premature death
• Longevity (reversal of aging)
• It was observed that regular practice in this method may have a natural antidepressant effect
|• Increased self-awareness|
• Effective treatment of sleep disorders, stress disorders, and psychosomatic disorders
• Reduction of phobias, negative emotions and negative thoughts
• Reduced internal anxiety and stress
• Less frequent depression and generally increased resistance to anxiety
• Improved pain management in patients suffering from chronic pain
• In pregnant women, less anxiety and pain during labour was observed
• In athletes, enhanced performance (and reduced competition anxiety) was observed.
It was also observed that people who regularly practice this method benefit more generally from an improved quality of life.
How is Autogenic Relaxation practised?
Training takes place in seven stages (seven key sessions).
- Focus on sensations of heaviness (arms & legs).
- Focus on sensations of warmth (arms & legs).
- Focus on breathing.
- Focus on heart rate.
- Focus on sensations of warmth in the abdomen.
- Focus on sensations of coolness in the forehead.
- Suggestion (for the effective treatment of a physical or mental health issue).
After the completion of the seventh stage, Autogenic Training can be used by the trainee according to her/ his needs, during psychotherapy to deal with various other problems and disorders (e.g., eating disorders, sleep disorders, smoking cessation, etc.), to improve performance such as athletic performance, or for improved concentration for better academic achievements.