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What is Autogenic Therapy

What is Autogenic Therapy

“Our training develops people’s ability to control consciously their various physiological processes, for example, to control digestion, breathing, blood circulation, metabolism and also to control emotions, moods, and to sharpen attention.”       A G Odessky

Scientists have been amazed by the feats performed by Yogis in controlling their internal, autonomic processes, also the changes in people undergoing hypnosis.  Consequently, a number of doctors and researchers looked into the application of ‘mind over matter’ feats of self-control for therapeutic processes.

Johannes Schultz, a German neurologist, had experimented with hypnotism and noted the changed perception of bodily states, feelings of heaviness, warmth and deep relaxation, that could be induced.  He wondered to what extent people could be taught to induce these feelings themselves through a process of self-hypnosis, or as Wolfgang Luthe, one of his students, was to call it, autogenic training.  Schultz advocated the repetition of repeated phrases to relax the body.  The kind of formula he suggested followed the lines of, “My left hand is feeling warm and heavy.  My forearm feels warm and heavy etc.”

The technique can be practised more or less anywhere when there is some spare time in a quiet place, and it can be self-taught or taught by a therapist.  It has been found to be useful in a number of psychosomatic conditions including anxiety, high blood pressure, some allergies and other stress-related conditions.  It can be linked to other forms of therapy.  For instance, Elmer Green married up the findings of autogenic training with his own discoveries from studying Yoga in developing Biofeedback.

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