What are autogenic workouts and how do they help you relax

Despite the fact that autogenic training has long been successfully used in psychiatry, their popularity has grown significantly in recent years - as well as the amount of stress in our lives. What is so special about them and how they help fight fatigue, explains psychologist-psychotherapist Alexandra Menshikova.

What are autogenic workouts and how do they help you relax

Alexander Menshikov // Photo: Ekaterina Frolova

- Autogenic (from Latin autos - itself and genos - origin) training, or auto-training, is a method of therapy aimed at correcting anxiety, depressive and psychosomatic disorders. In psychiatry, this method has been used for a long time - it was developed back in the 30s of the XX century by the German psychiatrist Johann Schulz. Based on the observations of the neurologist Oscar Vogt, Schulz found that people who were exposed to hypnosis were less likely to suffer from various psychosomatic disorders and were less prone to fatigue.

He found that during hypnosis, his patients experienced two main sensations: warmth and heaviness in the body. Heat - as a result of the expansion of blood vessels, and a feeling of heaviness - as a result of muscle relaxation. The discoveries inspired Schultz to develop a technique that would allow a person to independently evoke such feelings without the help of a doctor.

In principle, it can be said that autogenic training is a synonym for self-hypnosis, but nevertheless there is a difference between the two techniques. The formulations of auto-training are standard, since their goal is to relax the body, and with self-hypnosis, they can be adjusted depending on what a person wants to inspire.

A condition that occurs during an autogenic training, it seems like a hypnotic one - it is a borderline state between sleep and wakefulness, a state of superficial trance. Unlike hypnosis, during an autogenic training a person maintains contact with the outside world, since it is important to follow the instructions of the facilitator.

What are autogenic workouts and how do they help you relax

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In fact, the problem 21st century is stress. Life is complicated, and a person does not always know how to cope with the pressure that has befallen him.

Nevertheless, when we are nervous, our body begins to strain, and this tension, in turn, leads to an increased load on internal organs and blood vessels . The cardiovascular system will be the first to be hit - a person’s heart rate will increase and blood pressure will increase, later all this can cause a violation of the heart rhythm and the development of other heart diseases. And the task of autogenic training is precisely to relieve this tension. Systematic auto-training classes normalize heart rate, lower cholesterol and blood sugar. Lightness appears in the body.

Autogenic training is not an independent therapy, but rather one of its components. That is, even if you do auto-training every day, you will not get rid of serious phobias. But for people who are constantly under stress, autogenic training is a great way to psychoprophylaxis.

  • anxiety and depressive disorders;
  • chronic pain (a positive effect of this method on reducing pain was revealed in a sample of cancer patients) ;
  • sleep disturbance;
  • high blood pressure caused by stress rather than serious physiological or somatic disorders;
  • irritable bowel syndrome ("bear disease");
  • chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • psychotic and dissociative disorders;
  • with caution - for patients with diabetes mellitus (blood glucose levels decrease during an autogenic exercise) and elderly people with serious cardiac pathologies.

What are autogenic workouts and how do they help you relax

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At first, autogenic training must be carried out under the supervision of a specialist. This is due to the fact that as people relax, they begin to experience anxiety - they get dizzy, and sometimes panic attacks even occur.

Such a reaction can be explained both by the individual physiological characteristics of the body, and the fear of losing control over what is happening. A person often thinks: if he controls the situation, then he is safe, but during auto-training he relaxes and, as it seems to him, this control loses. As a result, fear arises - I lost control, which means something can happen to me. And to help a person cope with these feelings, there should always be a specialist who can explain the nature of these fears.

There are people who are skeptical of auto-training.

They say: "I do not succumb to any influence and do not want anyone to tell me what I should do." But the essence of autogenic training is not that you allow someone to control yourself, but that with the help of relaxation you learn to control your body. After all, the more we try to keep everything under control, the higher the probability of losing it. And in order to learn to control yourself, you need to start with self-relaxation, with relaxation of the body.

In order to plunge into an autogenous state, you need to close your eyes, take a comfortable posture - either sitting or lying down - and focus on your physical sensations.

Nothing should distract you. At the same time, you should not force yourself to relax - this will not work. Autogenic training is a passive process.

Many people mistakenly equate autotraining and meditation. These are completely different practices.

Meditation is more focused on what is happening (which is why it is advisable to meditate with open eyes), and the main goal of autogenic training is relaxation.

What are autogenic workouts and how do they help you relax

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Classical technique of autogenic training It is divided into two steps: the first is devoted to relaxation and working with the body, the second to visualization.

It is important to maintain the sequence of steps: first the first and only then the second. Going to the second stage immediately is undesirable .

The first step consists of six exercises, which They are designed to teach a person to direct attention to various parts of the body and inspire certain sensations.

Exercise No. 1 : concentration on the feeling of heaviness in the arms and legs.

In a calm, monotonous voice, repeat: " My left hand is heavier. My right hand is heavier. My hands have become heavier. My right leg is heavier. My left leg is heavier.

My legs have become heavy. My arms and legs have become heavy. I'm completely calm . " Repeat each statement at least six times.

Exercise No.

2 : focusing on the sensation of warmth in the arms and legs.

Repeat in a calm, monotonous voice: " Heat is pouring on my right hand. Heat is spreading on my left hand. Heat is spreading on my hands. Heat is spreading on my right foot.

Heat is spreading on my left foot. heat is spreading over my feet. Heat is spreading over my hands and feet . " Repeat each statement at least six times.

Exercise No.

3 : concentration on sensations in the region of the heart.

In a calm monotone voice repeat six times: " My heart beats smoothly and calmly ".

Exercise No. 4 : concentration on breathing.

In a calm monotone voice repeat six times: " I breathe absolutely easily.

My breathing is even and calm ."

Exercise No. 5 : concentration on the sensation of heat in the solar plexus.

In a calm monotonous voice repeat six times: " Heat is pouring over my stomach ".

Exercise No.

6 : concentrating on feeling cool in the forehead.

In a calm monotonous voice repeat six times: " My forehead is cool ." (This exercise helps to cope with headaches.)

It will take about 30-40 minutes to complete all the exercises of the first stage.

What are autogenic workouts and how do they help you relax

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If the first step is characterized by clear instructions , then on the second, on the contrary, visualization elements are added. A person conjures up images in his imagination that help him to relax (the most frequent image is the beach and the sea). At this stage, the formulations become more specific - they focus on those qualities that a person wants to develop in himself (for example, to become more confident in himself).

To get out of an autogenous state, a person is often asked to first listen to external sounds, move his fingers, take a breath and open his eyes - in that order.

What are autogenic workouts and how do they help you relax

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Autogenic training will bring its fruits only if a person is set to work - he should have an incentive to train. Usually it is recommended to take eight weeks to classes - once a week a person performs exercises under the guidance of a specialist, and repeats them independently for the remaining days. So keep in mind: there will be no quick effect, this is training.

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