Thursday, April 7, 2011

Autogenic Relaxation

Autogenic Relaxation Training is a relaxation method that was developed by a German Johannes Heinrich Schultz and around 1932.

Autogenic training is telling yourself to create feelings of heaviness and warmth in different parts of your body. If you're successful, you will have used the power of your mind to experience heaviness and warmth as blood flow increases. This can be very relaxing.

Autogenic training restores the balance between the sympathetic (flight or fight) and parasympathetic (rest and digest) branches of the autonomic nervous system. This has important health implications as the parasympathetic activity reduces inflammation, blood pressure and slows the heart rate - strengthening our immune system.

The Technique (adapted from the original method)

Start by taking 3 deep breaths, close your eyes and repeat slowly to yourself: "I am relaxed, I am calm, I am quiet."  Repeat each phrase to yourself, slowly, leaving time between each one to experience the sensation (taking 1 - 2 deep breaths inbetween each phrase).

•   My right leg is heavy.
•  My right leg is heavy and warm.
•   My right leg is warm and relaxed.
•   I am calm and quite relaxed.
•   My left leg is heavy.
•   My left leg is warm and relaxed.
•   I am calm and quite relaxed.
•   I am quiet and at peace.
•   I am relaxed.
•   My right arm is heavy.
•   My right arm is heavy and warm.
•   I am calm and quite relaxed.
•   My left arm is heavy.
•   My left arm is heavy and warm.
•   I am calm and quite relaxed.
•   My body is warm and relaxed.
•   I am quiet and at peace.
•   I am relaxed.

Once your body feels relaxed, allow an image to emerge that connects to this feeling of calm.

When you are first learning autogenic relaxation try it when you are calm to see if you can deepen your state of relaxation. Beginning when stress is mild or moderate is better than waiting until you are in a state of high anxiety. It may take several repetitions to achieve the sensations of heaviness and warmth, but the results are worth it.

Autogenic Relaxation is a more mental and sensate technique for inducing calm. Try adding light tapping rounds with this technique to achieve faster results for reducing anxiety and achieving deep relaxation.

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