This article describes the relaxation technique autogenic training, also known as autosuggestion. Originally, autogenic training was used in psychotherapy to improve the psychological and physical quality of life. From this point of view, autogenic training is also considered to be concentrative self-relaxation. Mind and body work together and try to create calm and relaxation through the techniques of autogenic training.
In autogenic training, mind and body work together and try to create calm and relaxation through techniques.
Like any science, medicine divides the various diseases into smaller and larger groups. The doctor summarizes illnesses that are caused by microorganisms, bacteria or viruses and that can be transmitted as infectious diseases. Another group includes, for example, the tumors, another injury, and so on. In contrast to these organic diseases are the so-called functional disorders. The difference compared to organic diseases is that in the latter the smallest building blocks, the cells, are affected, in the functional diseases, on the other hand, the activity, the function is impaired, usually without any significant change in the cell structure.
The cause of the malfunctions lies in a temporarily incorrectly controlled activity of the individual organs. This regulation is carried out by the nervous system with its control bodies and the several hundred kilometers long nerve pathways. The supreme authority is the brain. Here, the stimuli from the outside world through the sensory organs as well as temperature, pain and position sensations from the body sphere are recorded, analyzed and converted into suitable impulses.
The very fine interaction of the individual organs and parts of organs with the environment can be disturbed. This condition manifests itself in symptoms such as insomnia, feelings of oppression in the chest or heart area, in circulatory disorders and others, possibly also in predominantly psychological complaints, such as fear of blushing, fear of crossing the street, fear in tight spaces, brooding or depressed mood .
These diseases can be treated with psychotherapeutic methods, among other things. One of these types of treatment is autogenic training. Based on the knowledge that functional disorders arise in the central nervous system as a result of conflict situations, it is important to help the nervous system and the entire organism to regain an appropriate regulatory activity. Even in healthy people, strength decreases over the course of the day. However, it is completely regenerated through sleep. For a pictorial comparison, the drawing of current from a battery and its subsequent recharging can be thought of without this comparison correctly reflecting the actual processes.
If a person suffers from insomnia, the readiness of his nervous system to react is insufficiently refreshed. However, if you only occasionally fall asleep badly or if you wake up at night, that's not a problem. However, it is different with long-lasting sleep disorders. In many of these cases, autogenic training helps. It serves both to give the exhausted nervous system the lack of rest, and to create a healthy alternation between tense activity and relaxing, restful rest to prevent exhaustion.
What is this method based on? It is based on the experiences that could be gained through hypnosis. In hypnosis, the doctor puts the patient into a sleep-like state with calming words. The muscles relax, the arms and legs feel heavier than usual, the blood circulation is even and intensified, which is perceived as pleasant warmth. Since hypnosis represents a sleep-like state, one also observes a calmer and slower breathing sequence under its effect. The heart beats quieter. Most areas of the brain have come to rest during sleep. In this way, environmental stimuli no longer reach the deeply asleep. Only the vital centers, which are used to maintain breathing, circulation and heart activity, continue to work with "backlight switching".
The fact that it is possible to bring about these sleep-like changes in hypnosis through calming words from the doctor is explained by the unity of all life processes of an organism.
Two examples to explain: When we hungrily study the menu in a restaurant, it often happens that our mouths increasingly saliva. The written words excite the same cells in our brain as the food itself, which causes the increased release of saliva. The same process can be triggered by pure imagination. If we think very hard about biting into a lemon, we experience salivation as a result. So intense imagination triggers physical phenomena.
While the doctor suggests the patient's ideas in hypnosis, the practitioner is doctor and patient in one person in autogenic training. He creates the appropriate ideas himself so that they become pictorial for him and he experiences them at the same time. As already described, the goal of autogenic training is to recover the nervous system. The way to do this is through physical relaxation. As a treatment method, autogenic training belongs in the hands of the experienced doctor and psychotherapist, who only uses it after a thorough examination has shown that the patient is suitable for it.
We therefore urgently advise against "trying it out" without medical guidance and control. Those who doubt the effectiveness of this treatment method almost always argue that it can only be an imaginary experience in which nothing really changes in the body. However, exact scientific investigations have clearly shown that a real physical switch occurs, which can be demonstrated, among other things, in the decrease in muscle activity currents.
The changeover becomes even clearer when experiencing warmth by the assumption that the right arm and later the whole body are warm, with increased blood flow, which can be clearly seen in the rise in skin temperature. Because of the important objection, however, another phenomenon should be mentioned, which everyone could probably already observe in themselves, the experience of fear. If someone feels intensely afraid, the body reacts at the same time by narrowing the blood vessels. The skin becomes pale, the pupils dilate, the hands begin to tremble to a greater or lesser degree, the pores increasingly shed sweat.
If the person in question succeeds in overcoming the fear, the physical appearances disappear after a while. On the other hand, however, fear also disappears, or at least it is significantly weakened, if the physical manifestations can be dampened or suppressed.
The time span in which the practice of autogenic training is learned varies widely. It depends on the type and duration of the functional disorders that are to be eliminated. But above all, it depends on the nature of the person concerned and the intensity of the practice. Autogenic training is, as the name suggests, training.
In principle, all functional disorders are suitable for treatment with this method. These include the sleep disorders mentioned at the beginning, heart complaints (e.g. cardiac neurosis, psychosomatic cardiac arrhythmias and cardiac stumbling as well as palpitations), tight breathing, headaches, circulatory disorders, but also anxiety (e.g. anxiety disorder, panic attacks) and concentration disorders, unless they have to be treated by other psychotherapeutic or medical procedures.
Autogenic training not only serves to eliminate disorders that have already occurred, as a prophylactic measure it also prevents states of exhaustion (e.g. burnout syndrome). In addition, it offers healthy people the opportunity to increase their general physical and mental performance through well-measured relaxation breaks.