Autogenic training is a therapy that can sometimes provide good services for psychosomatic complaints, pain relief, blood pressure problems, sports medicine, addictions, stress, sleep disorders, anxiety, nerve pain, etc.
Origin of the therapy
The German psychiatrist doctor Johannes Heinrich Schultz (1884-1970) developed the autogenic training technique during the interwar period. During his training he had contacts with Sigmund Freud and Karl Jaspers.
This other name for autogenic training already gives a certain idea of the method. This specific relaxation technique temporarily shuts down part of the nervous system. The method is related to self-hypnosis.
The method itself
The method consists of six consecutive steps:
- Suggestion of rest
- Feeling of heaviness
- Feeling of warmth
- Regulation of the heart rate
- Regulation of breathing
- Cooling of the forehead
It is usually recommended to only do step 1 the first week, 1 + 2 the second week, etc. You can also add the next exercise every time one exercise goes well.
Most therapists recommend practicing for fifteen minutes 2 to 3 times a day. A little longer is also allowed.
Suggestion of rest
Purpose of this exercise: preparatory relaxation.
The exercises are usually done while sitting. So it is best to sit on a chair with armrests on which your arms rest. Otherwise they may rest on the thighs. You close your eyes and suggest to yourself: I am very calm and relaxed.
Feeling of heaviness
Purpose of this exercise: relax the muscles.
The second exercise is to imagine that your right arm is very heavy (for left-handers this is the left arm). The idea is that you really experience that heaviness, without forcing it. After a few days you will be making both arms heavy and after a week or so arms and legs. Ultimately, you need to make the entire body feel heavy.
When you are able to immediately make your entire body feel heavy on command, you are ready for the next exercise.
Feeling of warmth
Purpose of this exercise: to get the blood circulation under control.
In the same way as in the previous exercise, we are going to imagine that our right arm is very warm. Then, the left, the legs, the whole body, etc. This increase in temperature is not an illusion. Those body parts really become measurably warmer!
Regulation of the heart rate
Purpose of this exercise: to make the heart rate calm and regular.
You give yourself the suggestion: my heart beats calmly and regularly. Some people place their hand on the heart region and enjoy the calm, regular heartbeat as a pleasant experience.
Regulation of breathing
Purpose of this exercise: to make breathing calm and regular.
The intention is not to force your breathing to be slow and calm by counting or the like. Here we only work with the suggestion: My breathing is very calm . It will then find its own calm rhythm and develop automatism in this.
Cooling of the forehead
Purpose of the exercise: total rest of body and mind.
Here again you are working with the suggestion: my forehead is cool.
ContraindicationsAs with all medical and psychological techniques, it is recommended to only work in consultation or under the guidance of a doctor or therapist. To each his own!
After all, every person responds differently to therapies and before you know it, you will be in trouble. In addition , some psychological and physical conditions can be a counter-indication against autogenic training. Certainly people with respiratory or heart problems should not experiment with this on their own! Migraine patients should also be careful.
At the end of the session
You should also not forget to wake up your body after the session. This can be done, for example, by tensing and relaxing the arms and legs a few times in succession and possibly shaking the arms and legs.
- Treatment of psychosomatic complaints
- Pain relief
- Blood pressure control
- Sports medicine
- Fighting addiction
- Stress management
- Need less sleep
- Nerve pains