Autogenic training: all tips and exercises


Autogenic training is one of the typical relaxation techniques and is said to help reduce stress. We explain how the technology works exactly.
What is autogenic training?
Autogenic training is a relaxation technique that was developed in 1925 by the psychiatrist Johannes Heinrich Schultz on the basis of hypnotherapy. In general, the training is about using a kind of self-hypnosis to achieve a relaxed state that is supposed to reduce stress. Unlike progressive muscle relaxation, autogenic training is not very easy to learn and must be practiced intensively.
Where is autogenic training used?
The main aim of autogenic training is to calm the mind and thus relax, while progressive muscle relaxation is intended to calm the body through targeted tensing and relaxing of muscle groups. Both techniques can help with acute states of stress and increase concentration. Autogenic training is also often used for psychological and psychosomatic disorders. It can also help with chronic pain when used properly.
How is autogenic training carried out?
To learn autogenic training, you have to take your time - and ideally a trainer. In general, the training has two phases, the exercises are carried out in the so-called "cab driver posture". You sit relaxed on a chair and let the upper body and head hang forward, the elbows are supported on the knees or thighs, the forearms and hands hang between the knees. Then one should influence the body through so-called autosuggestions by repeating formulas like "The right arm is very warm" several times. This should allow the body to relax automatically after some training time.
Phase 1: lower level

This phase is primarily about influencing physical processes through certain basic exercises. The following exercises are used for relaxation and are performed for a maximum of four minutes each:

  • Heat exercise: Here you imagine that first one part of the body and then the whole body heats up. This is intended to widen the blood vessels so that the body actually becomes warm and more relaxed. A suitable formula is e.g. B. "My left arm is very warm".
  • Heavy exercise: The exercise is based on finding heaviness in the body to be calming. To do this, you imagine that one part of the body after the other becomes very heavy, starting from an arm, for example. Hence, a fitting formula is: "My right arm is heavy."
  • Breathing exercise: calm, even breathing relieves stress immediately. In general, you should be careful to breathe in through your nose and deep into your stomach. The formula for the exercise is "My breathing is calm".
  • Head exercise: Through this exercise, we should literally get a cool and clear head. Accordingly, one says the formula "My forehead is pleasantly cool".
  • Solar plexus exercise: The "solar plexus" is a somewhat poetic description of the digestive organs. The aim of the exercise is to completely relax and calm the stomach. To do this one says z. B. "The solar plexus is comfortably warm".
  • Heart exercise: Here the heartbeat should be calmed down. A formula like "My heart beats calmly and evenly" is repeated in your mind.
Phase 2: advanced level
The second phase in autogenic training is a process often used by psychotherapists to identify existing conflicts in the patient and to find ways to resolve these problems. But outside of psychotherapy, too, it makes sense to test phase two if you have initial successes with the first phase. Here one's own imagination is used to develop images, which then reach consciousness and can be reflected on. One, therefore, speaks of the so-called waking dream technique. 
When should I not do the relaxation procedure autogenic training?

Autogenic training should not be done by people suffering from psychosis. Patients with physiological dysregulations such as palpitations should not test the training without consulting a doctor.

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