Autogenic Training - The European Relaxation Technique Based Upon Body Awareness
Autogenic training is a century-old European method for achieving relaxation based upon passive concentration and body awareness of specific sensations. Its effectiveness has been shown in relieving many stress-related disorders including anxiety, tension, insomnia, and examination stress. Persons with chronic medical conditions ranging from migraine, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, high blood pressure, to thyroid disease and many other conditions have also been shown to benefit from the practice of autogenic training.
As with other meditative or relaxation techniques, effective practice of autogenic training results in a reduction in heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and tension, all of which can have long-ranging health benefits. It can be practiced anywhere at any time. Autogenic training does not imply or involve any religious, cultural, or spiritual practices. Popular in Europe, this technique has been gaining increased acceptance in the USA and in other countries. Autogenic training has become an accepted adjuvant therapy to the extent that it may be covered by health insurance in Germany and is available through the British NHS in some areas.
1. focus on heaviness in the arms and legs
The first two formulas are often broken down to focus first upon the dominant arm, followed by the other arm or the legs. For each formula one repeats a phrase, or formula, silently with closed eyes such as "my arm feels heavy." Breathing is paced slowly and the phrase is repeated five to seven times before opening the eyes and stretching. A recommended practice session is three "sets" of five to seven repetitions with breaks, for a total time of about ten minutes. Practicing the technique twice daily is also recommended. Experts recommend trying to focus upon being an "alert but passive observer" of body sensations.
Each individual formula should be practiced for about a week, or until a satisfactory result is achieved. One then moves on to the next formula and practices it together with the previous ones. Once the technique has been mastered in practice sessions, it can be applied at will in situations of stress or difficulty.
The table below lists some of the conditions which have been improved through use of autogenic training as part of a therapeutic regimen.
Conditions with Reported Improvement by Autogenic Training