Autogenic training • How self-influencing works


Autogenic training is a scientifically recognized relaxation technique based on auto suggestion. The imagination alone has been shown to influence the vegetative nervous system.

Autogenic training is easy to learn and leads to measurable relaxation of the muscles.

Autogenic training counts alongside Progressive muscle relaxation according to Jacobson to the best known and most scientifically researched relaxation techniques in Western countries. The term autogenic training already describes a little what this is about relaxation technique goes. "Autogen" is derived from the Greek (autos = self and genos = generate) and means something like self-generated. So it's about exercises for relaxation from the inside, a kind of self-hypnosis.

This is how autogenic training works

To serve auto-suggestive formulas like "my right arm is getting comfortably warm", which the exerciser mentally suggests several times. With a little practice, a pleasant warmth will actually set in. Because the concentration on the formula with the idea that the arm gets warm makes it possible to focus on that autonomic nervous system To influence. It controls processes in the body that we cannot actually influence at will, for example that circulation, By concentrating on the idea that the right arm warms up, they expand blood vessels, the right arm is better supplied with blood and feels warm.

This process was developed by psychiatrist Johannes Heinrich Schultz. He dealt in depth with hypnosis and hypnotherapy. Hypnotized patients reported pleasant warmth and heaviness, the Schulz on improved blood circulation and complete relaxation of the musculature traced.

Some participants in hypnotherapy were able to bring about a hypnosis-like state based on their experience under hypnosis – with positive effects on health: physical complaints such as headache subsided and a feeling of relaxation and Erfrischtheit turned after the self hypnosis on.

Relaxation without external influences

Schultz was therefore looking for one method, with which this state of soothing relaxation can be brought about without external interference, and in the 1920s developed the "Autogenic organ exercises"as he initially called his relaxation technique. In his book" Das Autogene Training. Concentrative self-relaxation – attempting a clinical-practical presentation ", he described the Self-influencing technique detail.

Schultz differentiates between autogenous training in a lower, basic and upper level. The Elementary serves to bring about a general state of relaxation while in the upper or advanced level based on the basic level of meditative or hypnotherapeutic exercises that are specific to problem areas are tailored and should lead to deeper insights.

While the basic level of autogenic training can also be learned yourself, the upper level of autogenic training sets psychotherapeutic procedure It is therefore advisable to do this only after instruction from a trained and experienced psychotherapists apply.

Physical changes through autogenic training can be measured

Even though psychiatrist Schultz got lost in a worldview stuck in National Socialism – among other things, he spoke out for the killing of mentally ill, mentally disabled and "incurable" homosexuals in the concentration camp – his technique was not a mistake, as scientific studies have shown.

The physical changes that can be achieved through autogenic training are measurable. For example, the relaxation of muscle tension (muscle tone) during autogenic training can be done by electromyographic examinations (EMG) evidence. The electrical tension measured in the muscle.

An increase in the skin temperaturewhich, as Schulz had already assumed, is due to an expansion of the peripheral blood vessels, especially the skin. The expansion of these mostly very small blood vessels extremities Like arms and legs is a sign of increased blood flow and thus an indication of physical and mental relaxation.

Balancing effect on breathing and heart rate

There is also a slowdown in autogenic training respiratory rate with longer inhalation and exhalation phases, the abdominal breathing comes to the fore in relation to breast breathing. There are also studies that also normalize or slow down the heart rate especially in people with heart problems.

The psychological effects of autogenic training were also confirmed in several studies. With regular use, this includes, for example, a reduced one nervousness or a higher degree serenity as well as an improved body feeling. Generally, that takes well-being to.

Proven relaxation procedure with a wide range of applications

With this, the relaxation method has become accompanying therapy proven in many diseases and disorders. In its meta-analysis on the effectiveness of autogenic training, for which the psychologist Dr. Sirko Kupper analyzed 60 studies, he comes to the conclusion that autogenic training has a moderately strong positive effect psychosomatic and a big effect mental disorders Has. As a result, autogenic training is suitable for the treatment of

Other possible indications for autogenic training are bowel disease, Atopic dermatitis, glaucoma and birth preparation, with Kupper conceding here that the study situation is thin and more detailed studies may come to different results.

Children with behavioral problems benefit

In addition, autogenic training together with other relaxation techniques has a permanent place in the. Another area of ​​application are behavioral problems as well as psychosomatic complaints from children and youth,

Here the authors of a study at the university clinic and polyclinic for child and adolescent psychiatry / psychotherapy in Ulm come to the conclusion: "Autogenic training is an effective and economical Broadband method to reduce behavioral problems in children and adolescents. "However, the researchers also point out that further studies are necessary to obtain more precise information on the effectiveness of the relaxation technique.

Of course, children and adolescents with no behavioral problems can also benefit from the exercises. The relaxation technique helps you, for example, the performance and ability to concentrate to improve, exam nerves to reduce and reduce aggression.

Prevent burnout

That little breaks and relaxation exercises from everyday stress Paying off preventively, for example, shows one study to courses in yoga and autogenic training that were offered as part of company health promotion at the car manufacturer Daimler Chrysler. Both yoga and autogenic training led to a significant improvement in relaxation and relaxation over the course of a 14-week course buoyancy,

The study participants gave both the yoga group and the group that was in favor of Autogenous Training had decided, for example, to feel more balanced and physically efficient and to be able to sleep better than before. Well-being increased, burdens were no longer perceived that strongly job satisfaction increased.

The positive effects appeared after four weeks and increased over the course of the courses. With that both accomplish relaxation techniques an important contribution, for example, to prevention one Burnout as well as other diseases related to permanent stress.

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For whom autogenic training is unsuitable

However, there is also Contraindications for autogenic training. The technique of suggestion is not suitable for people with schizophrenia, for example, because the focus is on internal processes delusions can cause. Listening to yourself can also help hypochondriacs Trigger anxiety.

Relaxation techniques such as autogenic training are problematic, which also lower the respiratory and heart rate if there is a respiratory or cardiac dysfunction. In the worst case, it can be too suffocation and acute heart problems come.

Overview of relaxation techniques

Overview of relaxation techniques

Autogenic training is easy to learn

Would you like to convince yourself of the positive effects of autogenic training? You don't need much. The technology is simple to learn – for example in one courseby many health insurance is offered or promoted. Especially at the beginning, it is recommended for practitioners to start with autogenic training under supervision, as it may be difficult to concentrate fully on physical relaxation.

Courses are also run by naturopaths, psychologists, psychotherapists, health centers, community colleges and private institutions in individual and group meetings offered. Many course instructors offer a trial lesson with which you can find out whether autogenic training is the right relaxation technique for you.

You can also do autogenic training through a Sound recordings learn with a guide or with a app for smartphone or tablet PC. The basic exercises are learned after a short time, you then no longer need any instructions from the outside.

To begin with is a convenient one reclined, for example on the bed or on a mat. More experienced can also sit in the desired position in a relaxed sitting position hibernation offset. Take about 15 minutes and make sure that you are not disturbed.

To calm down at the beginning

Autogenic training always follows the same pattern. It starts with an introductory one calm tone, To relax better, you can relax in a way dream trip enter by mentally moving yourself to a place where you feel comfortable. For example, this could be a beach or a green meadow. Tools like quiet music, Warming pillows or a fragrance lamp with essential oils can make it easier to calm down.

This is followed by basic exercises, heat exercises and heavy exercises for different body regions. Start by mentally saying, for example, the sentence "I am very calm and relaxed". Then start the exercises, which according to Schultz, the inventor of autogenic training, should not last longer than four minutes. First, learn the muscle relaxation exercise. Only when the desired one effect you can add the next exercise. The learned exercise is each with a Key point shortened, in the case of muscle relaxation, for example, with "All my limbs are pleasantly heavy".

Exercises Autogenic Training (Lower Level)

  • Muscle relaxation (heavy exercise): Imagine how your limbs relax until they feel pleasantly heavy. Start with an arm in which you think, for example, the sentence: "My right arm will be comfortably heavy". Repeat this up to six times before you concentrate on the other arm, both arms, legs and finally all the limbs: "All my limbs are pleasantly heavy."

  • Vascular relaxation (heat exercise): As soon as your body feels pleasantly heavy, let a pleasant warmth flow through your entire body. Start again with one arm according to the pattern of the heavy exercise ("Pleasant heat flows through my right arm") and work your way over the other arm, both arms and legs to all limbs: "Pleasant heat flows through all my limbs. "

  • Heart regulation: The next step in autogenic training is the heart. Imagine how your heartbeat slows down and calms down: "My heart beats calmly and regularly."

  • Atembübung: Now concentrate on your breathing, for example by thinking: "My breath is calm and even" or "Every breath deepens the rest". Watch how your breathing changes. Try to let go of control of your breath and let your entire body relax.

  • Abdominal organs (warm abdomen): Now bundle the warmth of the body in your belly: "Warmth flows through my belly." or "My braid is warm." Feel how your stomach relaxes and becomes very soft.

  • Head area (cool forehead, forehead exercise): Finally, concentrate on your forehead, for example with the sentence: "My forehead is pleasantly cool". This ensures a clear head, while your limbs and muscles are well supplied with blood, relaxed and warm.

Shortened formulas for experienced users

Autogenic training should be practiced Every day apply. Over time, the desired ones arise Effects and deep relaxation always faster. After a few months, the exercises of the basic level can be summarized, for example with the following formulas: "All my limbs are pleasantly heavy and warm, my heartbeat and my breathing are calm and even, my body is comfortably warm, my forehead cool."

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Autogenic training ends with conscious waking up

Autogenic training always ends with withdrawal, the conscious Wake up. unless you use the technology to Fall asleep, To take it back, you can pull your arms to your chest with your fists clenched and stretch them again. Take a deep breath and open your eyes. A suitable formula for withdrawal after autogenic training is, for example, "I take a deep breath and open my eyes". Then you can relax extensively and slowly get up.

Overview of relaxation techniques