Relaxation is a state that can be accessed through a variety of techniques; it is also a state that many people in consultation want to reach, especially those suffering from stress. One of the techniques to achieve this is the Schultz Autogenic Training.
This type of training aims to achieve relaxation in the individual, but also other deeper goals, which we will see in this article. We will also know the exercises that you use and their characteristics, in a detailed way.
Schultz autogenic training: what is it?
Schultz’s autogenous training consists of a relaxation technique , through which a general transformation of the individual is produced, by means of a series of physiological exercises (specifically, six).
Etymologically, the term “autogen” comes from the Greek “autos” (self) and “gen” (becoming); it could be translated as a training developed from the “self” of the subject, and which implies the whole of him.
However, Schultz’s autogenic training goes far beyond simple relaxation, and sometimes allows for important psychological changes in people, much more internal and profound, as we will see later.
More specifically, “autogenous training” means the act of exercising one’s mind by oneself , on a voluntary basis.
The aim is to influence the behaviour of the rest of the body, and the physiological changes that appear indicate that this technique is much more than a technique of persuasion.
The exercises of the Schultz autogenic training are 6, and focus on the different parts of the body . Specifically:
- Heavy exercise
- Heat Exercise
- Pulsation exercise
- Breathing exercise
- Abdominal regulation
- Head exercise
Some of the most relevant objectives of the Schultz Autogenous Training were defined by Carranque (2004). More specifically, this author talked about the benefits of self-application of such training :
A self-regulation of the organic functions of the organism is produced, such as the respiratory, cardiovascular and digestive functions .
2. Body restoration
The organism is balanced, and good psychohygiene is achieved. Psychohygiene is a slightly deeper concept, which refers to the care of oneself, and the fact of using one’s own reflections and affections to repair internal wounds .
Another of the objectives or achievements of Schultz’s autogenic training is that the levels of anxiety decrease , and an internal state of peace and tranquility is produced, through internal relaxation.
Self-determination allows a person to know what he wants and to decide for himself, and to better cope with stressful life situations .
5. Increased performance
Another achievement of Schultz’s training is the increased performance in areas such as memory and attention.
6. Pain suppression
In some cases, it also allows for modulating or suppressing the sensation of pain.
7. Self-criticism and self-control
It allows us to improve our capacity for self-criticism and self-control, through the improvement of our inner vision of ourselves .
Basics of this relaxation technique
The fundamentals, characteristics or “rules” of Schultz’s autogenic training are as follows:
On the one hand, Schultz considers the body and the mental processes as a joint unit . In addition, he believes that mental learning can influence the rest of the body, and vice versa.
This technique is based on clinical hypnosis; hypnosis is a state similar to sleep, which is achieved through a psychological influence. But there is another type of hypnosis: the superficial one. It provides a state of pleasant tranquillity, where the inner life remains “awake”.
The training follows a kind of progressive and ordered process of self-hypnosis (the same exercises and in the same order), which causes a series of physiological changes (in the body), such as muscle relaxation, modification of the heart and respiratory rhythm, etc.
Furthermore, Schultz’s autogenic training does not appeal to the person’s conscious will, but rather, as we said, is a more self-hypnotic process (where the person “gives himself” to the exercises naturally).
Finally,** it focuses on producing real physiological changes**, which can have an impact on a person’s psychological and physical well-being. It considers that an idea represented with sufficient intensity in a state of concentration allows such changes to be achieved.
When implementing Schultz’s autogenic training, it is important to take into account a number of considerations.
On the one hand, you should look for a quiet place to work, pleasant , with an adequate temperature and light, without noise, etc.
The person’s initial position should be comfortable; he or she can be seated in a comfortable chair or armchair, on a stool without a backrest, or directly lying down. The eyes should be closed.
Once in the initial position, it is recommended that the person begins to say a series of previously practiced self-instructions , such as “I am calm”, “I am comfortable”, etc. Finally, it is important not to change the order of the exercises.
How long does it take to learn?
If you practice regularly about 2 or 3 times a day, for 3 minutes, you can learn well each exercise in 10 or 15 days (under normal conditions).
It should be systematic and constant in order not to lose the progress made . It is essential that the learning of the exercises is gradual, that is to say, to go beyond a previous stage in order to advance to the next one. Thus, in general, learning the complete training can take between 3 and 4 months.
On the other hand, if you abandon your practice, it is advisable to start again with the first exercise and go back to learning each one (although learning will be faster).
- Pérez, M.; Fernández, J.R.; Fernández, C. and Amigo, I. (2010). Guide to effective psychological treatments I and II:. Madrid: Pirámide.
- Self-applied test anxiety management program (2015). University of Almeria. Ministry of Education and Science, 1-3.
- Schultz, J. H. (1959). Autogenous training. Barcelona: Ed. Científico Médica.