Are you looking for a way to effectively decrease the amount of stress that you have in your life? Autogenic therapy may be a great option for you. Autogenic means “generated from within” and it is something simple that you can do for yourself, once you have learnt the techniques. Read on for more information.
Autogenic therapy was developed in the early twentieth century by Dr Johannes Schultz, a psychiatrist and neurologist. He found that people could achieve a state of wellbeing by directing their attention to sensations of heaviness and warmth in the limbs. This could be done by using passive concentration combined with verbal formulae that implied heaviness and warmth. There are six Standard Autogenic Formulae, which form the basis of autogenic therapy. Today, autogenic therapy is practiced all around the world.
Autogenic therapy is designed to turn off the body’s “fight or flight” response, its natural response to stress. In place of this response, it turns on the body’s natural relaxation responses. The fight or flight response causes stress hormones to surge within the body, causing such things as a faster beating heart, tensing of muscles, and an increase in breathing rate. In today’s world, much of the stress we endure is mental or emotional. This can lead to us being always alert, and this constant alertness can lead to illness or affect the immune system. the relaxation responses invoked by autogenic therapy reverses these fight or flight responses, allowing the muscles to relax, breathing to slow, and the heart rate to return to normal.
Autogenic therapy can be helpful for many things. Some of the benefits that it has include:
• increasing confidence and self esteem
• improving the quality of the sleep that you get
• increasing your concentration and focus
• reducing the amount of anxiety that you feel
• reducing stress levels and making it easier to relax
• reducing mild to moderate depression
• helping you to feel more in control of what is happening
• relieving tension
• helping with jet lag
• increased creativity and imagination
Recent research has also shown that autogenic therapy can help to reduce things such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, factors that can cause heart attacks. Other physical conditions that it can help with include:
• irritable bowel syndrome
• infertility in which high levels of the stress hormone prolactin are involved (prolactin is a natural contraceptive)
In this therapy, you will have an initial assessment with the therapist. After this, you learn the techniques either one on one with the therapist or in a small group. There are usually 8 to 10 weekly sessions. You will be required to practice the exercises for ten minutes three times a day and keep a brief record so that you can discuss your experiences with the therapist.
These exercises are made up of the silent repetition of simple formulae, while you focus on a specific area of the body. These formulae focus attention on sensations that are associated with relaxation, such as warmth and heaviness in the limbs, warmth in the solar plexus, a regular heartbeat, and so on. For example, one formula may be “my right arm is heavy”. All exercises are done in a state of passive concentration. This is where you are detached but aware. This allows the natural regulation systems in the body to work at their best.
Autogenic therapy is easy to practice as there are no special clothes or equipment needed. You can do it just about anywhere – sitting in a chair, lying down, even in a busy area such as in an office or on a train.