Self-care and self-regulation are vital components of achieving and sustaining relaxation. Stress can be a worthy adversary. When the flow of your life is disrupted it can be challenging to maintain a semblance of sanity. In such times, a plan for relaxation can seem improbable or even impossible. But actually, you simply need the proper tools to navigate life’s problems.
At times it is necessary to take extra measures and to learn techniques that can help you relax your mind and body. One such technique is autogenic training. This relaxation technique does not require any special equipment and promises to do great things for you. Below are a few things you should know to get the most of this journey.
German psychiatrist Johannes Heinrich Schultz introduced autogenic training in the 1920s and 1930s. Autogenic relaxation is the progressive relaxation of our extremities, the stabilization of our heart rate, and the purposeful slowing and deepening of breathing.
It entails self-statements about warmth and/or heaviness within various parts of the body. The process has a positive effect on the autonomic nervous system.
Simply stated, you can think of autogenic training as a form of self-hypnosis that contains six mental exercises that generate sensations in your body.
What Does Autogenic Relaxation Help?
Autogenic relaxation techniques, also known as autogenic training, are useful in the management of various physical, mental and emotional issues. Studies (Psychophysiological effects of autogenic training and progressive relaxation; Shoshana Shapiro, Paul M. Lehrer) show that people who experience symptoms of anxiety and depression can benefit from autogenic training and progressive relaxation.
According to Anxiety.org research shows that autogenic relaxation techniques may help in managing the following conditions:
• High blood pressure
• Panic attacks
• Abnormal heart rhythms
• Insomnia or other sleep problems
• Chronic pain
• Anxiety (with professional supervision and support)
How Often Should I Perform Autogenic Training?
Experts recommend that unless you practice autogenic relaxation for a minimum of one time per day for the course of three to six months, you will not gain the benefits of this method of relaxation.
What Happens During an Autogenic Training Session?
In an autogenic training session, you will not spend a lot of time talking with your therapist. For fifteen minutes a day over a period of three months you will practice a number of different exercises.
During autogenic relaxation, you start by lying or sitting in a comfortable position. Your therapist or facilitator coaches you to concentrate on various parts of your body while simultaneously managing your breathing patterns. As you do this, you also visualize images or scenery that supports relaxation.
Core Areas of Focus
As you move through various stages of autogenic training, you will focus on the following six items:
• Introducing heaviness within your body
• Drawing in feelings of warmth
• Drawing attention to your heartbeat
• Regulation of your breathing patterns
• Paying attention to your abdominal flutters
• Speaking about the sensations on your forehead
A series of verbal statements may accompany these practices to reinforce the physical vibrations you are experiencing.
In summary, autogenic training is an effective and powerful therapy that can be useful in treating a variety of physical and mental conditions. For autogenic relaxation to be effective, you must be in training for a minimum of fifteen minutes a day consistently for three to six months.
It will take a minimum of three months to become proficient in the techniques. If you are not sure of whether or not this form of relaxation therapy is the best approach for you, talk with a trainer who can answer the questions you have.
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