Common steps and sub-activities

Autogenic therapy

Autogenic training or therapy is fundamentally a relaxation technique developed by the German psychiatrist and neurologist Dr. Johannes Heinrich Schultz and first published in 1932. The techniques, however,  were further developed by colleagues of Schultz.  Luis de Rivera, a McGill trained psychiatrist, introduced ‘psychodynamic concepts‘ into the approach, with the intention of using  "Autogenic Analysis" as a new method for uncovering the unconscious not just as a mechanism of inducing relaxation and providing stress relief.

See also Autogenic training.

Dr. Johannes Schultz

Schultz himself recognised the similarity and parallels to techniques in yoga, hypnosis and meditation, thus you will find there to be only small differences between this and other relaxation techniques.

The word autogenic means "generated from within" in Greek.

Dr. Schultz devised six silent verbal exercises for the mind and these are still used, however, they were further developed in Canada by his colleague, Dr. Wolfgang Luthe.

The healing and stress relief benefits are proven.  Autogenic training has been subject to clinical evaluation from its early days in Germany, and from the early 1980s worldwide. In 2002, a meta-analysis of 60 studies was published in Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback, finding significant positive effects of treatment. The following paper is just one of thousands I found in pubmed that indicated that autogenic therapy works to heal.

Autogenic Training as a behavioural approach to insomnia: a prospective cohort study.
Bowden A, Lorenc A, Robinson N - Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, University College London Hospitals, London, UK.

BACKGROUND
Insomnia is commonly associated with chronic health problems. Behavioural and cognitive factors often perpetuate a vicious cycle of anxiety and sleep disturbance, leading to long-term insomnia. National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence currently recommends behavioural approaches before prescribing hypnotics. Behavioural approaches aim to treat underlying causes, but are not widely available. Research usually includes patients diagnosed with insomnia rather than secondary, co-morbid sleep- related problems.

AIM
To examine the effectiveness of autogenic training (AT) as a non-drug approach to sleep-related problems associated with chronic ill health.

DESIGN
Prospective pre- and post-treatment cohort study.

SETTING
AT centre, Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

METHODS
All patients referred for AT from April 2007 to April 2008 were invited to participate. Participants received standard 8-week training, with no specific focus on sleep. Sleep questionnaires were administered at four time points, 'Measure Your Medical Outcome Profile' (MYMOP) and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, before and after treatment. Results before and after treatment were compared. Camden and Islington Community Local Research and Ethics Committee approved the study.

RESULTS
The AT course was completed by 153 participants, of whom 73% were identified as having a sleep-related problem. Improvements in sleep patterns included:

  • sleep onset latency (P = 0.049),
  • falling asleep quicker after night waking (P < 0.001),
  • feeling more refreshed (P < 0.001) and more energised on waking (P = 0.019).
  • MYMOP symptom, well-being, anxiety and depression scores significantly improved (all P < 0.001).

CONCLUSION
This study suggests that AT may improve sleep patterns for patients with various health conditions and reduce anxiety and depression, both of which may result from and cause insomnia. Improvements in sleep patterns occurred despite, or possibly due to, not focusing on sleep during training. AT may provide an approach to insomnia that could be incorporated into primary care.

PMID:  21787446

If one considers that the relief of stress and peace of mind help in producing a spiritual experience, then there is also some evidence in this paper that autogenic therapy can help here too.

Free from stress by autogenic therapy. Relaxation technique yielding peace of mind and self-insight.  [Article in Swedish] - Broms C.

The utilisation of self-regulatory capacity is one of the purposes of autogenic therapy, a method consisting of exercises focused on the limbs, lungs, heart, diaphragm and head.

The physiological response is muscle relaxation, increased peripheral blood flow, lower heart rate and blood pressure, slower and deeper breathing, and reduced oxygen consumption.

Autogenic training is applicable in most pathological conditions associated with stress, and can be used preventively or as a complement to conventional treatment.

References

The Schultz Institute in Berlin and the Oskar Vogt Institute in Japan are leading research centers from which more information can be obtained.

http://www.autogenic-therapy.org.uk/ - is the UK’s web site which describes practitioners and courses.

Rosa K. R. (1976) -  Autogenic training. London: Victor Gollancz.

Bird, Jane; Christine Pinch (2002). Autogenic Therapy - Self-help for Mind and Body.

Luthe, W. & Schultz, JH. Autogenic Therapy, first published by Grune and Stratton, Inc., New York, (1969). Republished in (2001) by The British Autogenic Society. In six volumes.

  • Vol. 1 Autogenic Methods
  • Vol. 2 Medical Applications
  • Vol. 3 Applications in Psychotherapy
  • Vol. 4 Research and Theory
  • Vol. 5 Dynamics of Autogenic Neutralisation
  • Vol. 6 Treatment with Autogenic Neutralisation

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