Autogenic Training: Very Simple and Feels Damn Good!

Autogenic training (sometimes called "autogenics" or simple "AT") is a research-based relaxation technique developed by Johannes Shultz around 1932. Autogenic training is designed to promote self-empowerment over the body and mind to come together to relax.

Autogenic: generated from within.

Autogenics is an easy way to improve overall health and mental well-being.

It’s used by world-class athletes, NASA astronauts, and others seeking peak performance, yet surprisingly few people have heard of it.

How Autogenic Training Calms Your Nerves

The practice of autogenic training promotes balance between the sympathetic nervous system (responsible for the flight or fight response) and the parasympathetic nervous system (responsible for restoring relaxation).

As a result, important health benefits, such as lower blood pressure, slower heart rate, and boosted immunity are some of the benefits of autogenics. Of course, an increased sense of control over stress management is an important psychological benefit.

Autogenic training teaches your body to respond to your commands.

You learn to gain control over body functions that you normally have no control over such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, body temperature, and breathing.

It’s not completely understood how autogenics works, but it’s considered a form of self-hypnosis.

During autogenic training, brain waves drop to the theta state — the same state experienced just as you fall asleep or during deep meditation. One thing that makes autogenics unique is that, unlike some other relaxation techniques, it works on your parasympathetic nervous system.

Your autonomic nervous system (ANS) controls involuntary body functions such as heart rate, digestion, and breathing. ANS is divided into two main branches, the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. Normally the parasympathetic nervous system is in control. It’s your “rest and digest” system.

But when you’re under stress, the sympathetic nervous system takes over.

This induces the “flight or fight” state that you may know all too well.

Regular practice of autogenic training brings the activity of the two branches into optimal balance by calming down your overactive stress response.

Autogenic Training:
Peak performance

Autogenics is so simple you might be tempted to think it can’t be that effective, but that would be selling it short.

Autogenics is very effective for managing stress, and it can do much more than that.

By helping you control your heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and breathing, AT can help many kinds of physical and mental health conditions.

Dozens of studies have confirmed that AT is particularly useful for treating anxiety disorders.

Additionally, when the results of 60 studies on AT were analyzed, it was deemed beneficial for the following conditions: 

  • depression
  • diarrhea
  • fatigue
  • gastritis
  • heart disease
  • hypertension
  • constipation
  • hyperventilation
  • irregular heartbeat
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • irritability
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • migraines
  • pain disorders
  • racing heart
  • Raynaud’s disease
  • sleep disorders
  • tension headaches
  • thyroid disorders
  • asthma
  • cold hands and feet

Autogenics Tips

Autogenics is a little-known relaxation technique that works by helping you gain control of your autonomic nervous system.

With regular practice, you can learn to alter involuntary body functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and breathing.

It helps you balance your “rest and digest” (parasympathetic) and your “flight or fight” (sympathetic) nervous systems.

It’s one of the simplest and safest ways to combat stress.

It has many proven health and mental health benefits that go far beyond stress reduction, including achieving peak performance.

While autogenics is very simple, there are still some tips that can help you get the most out of it.

  • 1.   For best results, do your autogenics exercise 3 times per day regularly.

  • 2.  While you may feel more relaxed after just one session, the full health benefits won’t really kick in until after a few months of regular practice.

  • 3.  Autogenics works better for some people when they listen to the sound of their own voice. You can record your own guided session using the script above.

  • Autogenics Recipe

    1. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.

    2. Do a body scan.

    3. Repeat the following affirmations (aloud or in your mind) while visualizing the following:

    A. I am completely calm (1 time).

    B. My Right arm is heavy (6 times).

    C. I am completely calm (1 time).

    D. My Right arm is warm (6 times). (Repeat this cycle for the Left arm.)

    E. I am completely calm (1 time).

    F. My heart beats calmly and regularly (6 times).

    G. I am completely calm (1 time).

    H. My breathing is calm and regular(6 times).

    I. I am completely calm (1 time).

    J. My abdomen is flowing and warm (6 times).

    K. I am completely calm (1 time).

    L. My forehead is pleasantly cool (6 times).

    M. I am completely calm (1 time).

    N. Work your way through the body this way, especially in the areas of your body you feel have the most tension.

    Try This...

    Here is a guided autogenic training session.

    Sit, close your eyes, listen and relax...

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         Your attempt may fail but never fail to make an attempt!

    As my friend was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from the ropes they were tied to but for some reason, they did not. My friend saw a trainer nearby and asked why these beautiful, magnificent animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away.

    “Well,” he said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.” My friend was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.

    Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?

    How many of us are being held back by old, outdated beliefs that no longer serve us? How many of us have avoided trying something new because of a limiting belief? Worse, how many of us are being held back by someone else’s limiting beliefs?

    Whatever you can conceive and believe, you can achieve!
    CHOOSE not to accept the false boundaries and limitations created by the past.