Autogenic Training is a self-relaxation method that is obtained through mental concentration and can help in difficult times.
Although our body at the beginning was a harmonic system in which energy flowed by regulating the psychophysical balance, several factors may have occurred causing a loss of this equilibrium.
They may have been internal or external factors that have compromised the original harmony and have caused physical and psychological malaise.
Often the hectic pace we are subjected to or the psychological pressures and the increasingly high expectations that cause stress and anxiety. They creep inside us and take on the features of real physical disorder: insomnia, muscle contractures, loss of concentration, headaches, tachycardia, dizziness …
How to restore equilibrium then? How to overcome anxiety and stress and resolve the resulting physical symptoms?
The most used psychotherapeutic technique in the world to handle anxiety and stress is Autogenic Training and consists of a series of exercises that lead to a state of total relaxation.
A psychotherapeutic and scientific technique conceived by JH Schultz, a German neurophysiologist.
How Autogenic Training Works
Autogenic Training is a relaxation technique consisting of a series of mental exercises that can modify psychic and somatic life.
Schultz defined it as a self-relaxation method of passive psychic concentration. In practice, through mental repetition of specific phrases and images, we are able to activate an area of the hypothalamus that stimulates the parasympathetic autonomic nervous system and induces regularization of the heart rhythm and respiratory rate, vascular, visceral and muscular relaxation.
Autogenic Training thus becomes a very effective therapy to combat and alleviate stress and anxiety, insomnia, diffuse tiredness, psychosomatic disorders.
In fact, when we are subjected to tension states, our body reacts causing functional alterations in neurovegetative and endocrine systems.
Consequently, the constant practice of Autogenic Training can both prevent and cure stress and anxiety.
Autogenic Training should be learned through the guidance of a therapist, and then it should be continued autonomously with constant training in everyday life.
The entire sequence of exercises leads to progressive relaxation process, which develops in successive degrees and provides for each stage to be reached and maintained before moving to the next stage. Already in the learning phase, you begin to feel the first feelings of well-being. Then you are alone, to manage your own psychic and emotional processes.
Autogenic Training Exercises
The sequence provided by the Autogenic Training Protocol consists of 6 distinct phases or exercises.
Autogenic Training exercises are generally distinguished in 2 fundamental and 4 complementary exercises after the introductory exercise, that of calm.
The 6 basic exercises are as follows …
- Exercise of heaviness
- Exercise of heat
- Exercise of the heart
- Exercise of the breath
- Exercise of the solar plexus
- Exercising the fresh forehead
Exercising heaviness is remarkably helpful in getting a general state of muscle relaxation. With this exercise, you can fight muscle-tensile disturbances.
Exercise of heat allows for vascular relaxation, improving blood circulation.
Heart exercise is more complex but very pleasant and allows regularization of heart activity. It favors a state of greater tranquility and if performed correctly it is useful to handle all those somatizations that derive from anxiety and stress.
Exercise of the breath acts on respiratory regurgitation and has great utility in all the anxious issues that usually occur with an alteration in respiratory rhythm.
Exercising the solar plexus allows you to relax all the abdominal muscles and relieve the tensions that are the basis of psychosomatic problems.
The exercise of the fresh forehead is intended to relax the mind. It is especially useful for treating tense muscular headaches, linked to physical or mental overload. The best way to combat muscle tension is by consuming Rhodiola Rosea supplements before or after your workout.
Indications and Contraindications
Generally speaking, Autogenic Training is indicated as a very effective tool in the management of anxiety states and disorders in which anxiety has a major role, such as panic attacks, obsessive compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety. For its relaxing effect it is also indicated when dealing with situations that are particularly stressful, such as a constant overload of work, an important competition, or an examination.
Autogenic Training can also be of great help in improving physical, sports, professional and mental performance.
It is also widely used in psychosomatic medicine and in the treatment of sleep disorders.
There are, however, situations in which Autogenic Training is to be applied with caution or even neglected, such as in cases of severe mental disorder, psychotic disturbances or mental retardation.