Autogenic Training – What is it?
Autogenic training is a lesser-known but effective mind-body healing technique to induce relaxation. It is also called autogenics, autogenic therapy, or simply as "AT." The word autogenics means “self-regulated’ or self-generated." This technique allows you to take control of your body and help you to feel calm and relaxed. Autogenic training enables you to respond rationally to the overwhelming situations and control the feelings of sadness, stress, and frustration. This training uses verbal cues, breathing techniques, and meditation to help people deal with various symptoms. It can be used as a sole treatment option or in addition to another therapy like cognitive behavior therapy.
What are the benefits of Autogenic Training?
Autogenic training is believed to impact our parasympathetic system directly. Our parasympathetic system is associated with feelings of calm and relaxation. The parasympathetic system is known as the rest and digest system and most of the time, this system is at play. On the other hand, the sympathetic nervous system is associated with fight and flight response and is activated during stressful conditions. Autogenic training helps you condition your body to activate the parasympathetic system in these stressful situations and control negative emotions and feelings.
Besides promoting general relaxation, autogenic training can help you cope with various mood disorders. The conditions that autogenic training can treat include the following:
Tachycardia (racing heart)
Chronic pain conditions
Addiction and substance abuse
By effectively teaching you to cope with your negative emotions of fear and frustration, autogenic training protects your brain against the damaging effects of stress and anxiety. It also helps regulate endocrine and immune function along with the nervous system.
What should I expect from an Autogenic Training?
A typical autogenic training session begins with you choosing a comfortable position. You can carry out the autogenic session in a sitting, reclined, or lying position. Next, the trainer will guide your attention to your breathing and certain body parts by using specific verbal cues. These verbal cues aim to induce deep relaxation by encouraging the feeling of heaviness and warmth in your body. Your therapist can also guide you to say these verbal cues for self-guided relaxation, but this takes more practice.
Common verbal cues like “I am calm,” “my arms are heavy,” “my arms are warm,” “my heart beats calmly,” “my breathing is calm and regular,” etc, are used during the guided training. These verbal cues are used once or are repeated in a structured manner to get the desired effects. Different autogenic trainers can use slightly different verbal commands, but the main purpose and focus of them is the same.
The trainer will then help you end the session. A typical command that is used to cancel the session is “Arms firm – Breathe deeply – Open eyes.” Once you get a hold of this training, you can start performing this training at home.
Six Established Lessons
Autogenics work on six established lessons that divert your focus to certain sensations. These techniques include:
Feeling of heaviness
Feeling of warmth
The heart practice
Autogenics can help you lead a stress-free life while taking control of your own emotions. This training carries the additional benefit as it does not make you dependent on another individual for your treatment. Once you have mastered the technique, you can easily carry it out at your home.
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