With autogenic training-an easy-to-learn self-help method that promotes relaxation-you can reduce stress and restore emotional well-being. The technique was developed in 1915 by the German neurologist and psychologist Johannes Schultz. Although the method is better known in Europe, it is becoming popular in the United States. Also called the "yoga of the West," the procedure involves repeating series of stock phrases, thereby inducing a meditative state of complete relaxation. Autogenic training exercises should be carried out quiet place. Eight to ten weeks of the training is often sufficient to restore mental equilibrium, enhance coping skills and overcome sleep troubles. Because stress can have a negative impact on the body's immune defenses, autogenic training can also strengthen immune function. The technique may thus prevent illness or shorten the coursed of a disease.
A comfortable atmosphere is essential
It is important environment for pleasant environment for doing the exercises. Choose a very quiet place-free of all distractions-where you feel at ease. Make sure the room is well ventilated but free of drafts. The room temperature should be comfortable; if your feet feel cold, wear a pair of warm socks. To encourage relaxation, add a few drops of lavender oil to a diffuser.
The most important prerequisite for autogenic training is also make time for the exercises. Beginners should practice the basic phrases for 5-15 minutes three times a day. Start by eliminating any distractions; let the answering machine pick up calls. Then get into a comfortable position, such as lying down on a padded surface or sitting on a chair with a back.
Mode of action
Scientific studies have demonstrated that when autogenic training is done properly and is practiced on a regular basis, it has a beneficial effect on the autonomic nervous system and thus on all the organs of the body. This simple technique can therefore help to relieve a wide range of problems caused by stress or sleep difficulties.
Basic training starts with six simple phrases that must be practiced repeatedly in sequence (below). At the advanced level, additional suggestions may be incorporated into the training program, such as "I can overcome pain" or "I will the entire night."
Extra tip : Autogenic training is an ideal method of relaxation for those with test anxiety. Practice every day for 2 weeks, planning the last session for the day of the test.
Used for treating nervous tics, stress, headaches, palpitations, panic attacks, asthma, psychosomatic illnesses, sleep difficulties and chromic pain.
The driving position
Autogenic training can be performed in a sitting position-as if you were driving a car. Sit in a chair with your back straight, arms resting loosely on your thighs, eyes closed and feet set parallel on the floor (below left). When exhaling, let your head and shoulders droop.
Ending the session
With your eyes closed, take deep breaths, make a fist with each hand and bend your arms towards your chest (below right).
Take care : If you wish to begin autogenic training but suffer from depression or another serious psychological disorder, consult your doctor first. People with depression already have an excessive tendency to withdraw into themselves. Autogenic training may reinforce this counterproductive behavior.
The six basic phrases
Sit in the driving position on a chair (right), close your eyes and silently repeated the following 6 phrases in order for up to 15 min. 3 times a day:
- "My body is very heavy" (promotes muscle relaxation).
- "I am very warm" (relaxes your blood vessels and enhances circulation).
- "My heartbeat is calm and regular" (regulates your pulse).
- "My breathing is clam and regular" (relaxes your lungs and airways).
- "My abdomen is warm and relaxed" (relaxes your stomach and exercises the abdominal wall).
- "My forehead is cool and clear" (relieves tension in your head).
Once you're relaxed, repeat the phrase that relates to your ailment. For example, for a headache, repeat "My head is cool and clear."