autogenics ==self (auto) generated (genics)
In 1932, Johann Schultz, M.D. and Wolfgang Luthe, M.D. made a discovery that while the autonomic nervous system cannot be placed under conscious control, it can be influenced through a state of alertness but inactivity they called "Passive Concentration", and repeated formulatic self-statements while in that state. This led Schultz to develop to a technique for relaxation he called autogenics. Akin to yoga, it uses the mind to place the body under its control so that thoughts can modify the body's state at any given time. It is a form of self-hypnosis in a loose sense. Although you never lose your state of awareness of your surroundings, the level of concentration that makes autogenics its most enjoyable can have a comparable effect
Autogenics has enjoyed increased popularity as more and more people realize that they have little control over their own bodies. It is used to manage stress, and has been shown to increase blood circulation throughout the body, thus making it an effective pain reliever, especially among the elderly. It has also been shown to help combat the effects of some life-long diseases and illnesses.
The six phrases, or formulas as Schultz called them, are as follows:
My arms and legs are heavy.
My arms and legs are warm.
My breathing is calm and regular.
My hearbeat is steady and slow.
My solar plexus is warm.
My forehead is cool. (to avoid sleep).
It should be noted that other formulas have been made, those are just the original formulas used by Shultz.
In starting an autogenics session, find a comfy chair or couch and sit straight up, but relaxed, as it will aid in breathing. Loosen any tight articles of clothing.
The Counseling, Health, and Wellness Service at Western Washington recommends the following routine afterwards:
Begin by stabilizing your breathing ("My breathing is calm and regular"). Once your breathing has steadied into a deep and peaceful repetition that you can maintain without focusing on, the arms should come next Start with your dominant arm, one quality ("My right arm is warm"). Repeat 5-7 times. If you're having trouble, lightly touch your forearm with the other hand, and focus on where you feel the contact. If successful, repeat for the other quality ("My right arm is heavy"). After a couple days of practice, the two should be able to be combined ("My right arm is warm and heavy"). Once the dominant arm is satisfactorily warm and heavy, repeat on the other arm. Next, repeat the process on each leg. Next, use the formula for the abdomen. Optionally, you can then focus on the shoulders and chest with the same formula used for the arms. If you're going to sleep immediately after the session, open your eyes and leave the session immediately. If you still have stuff to do, come back to the real world slowly, and stretch extensively before resuming work.
Personal experiences with autogenics
- The legs are difficult. Often your breathing will begin to get chaotic before you're able to produce good results on the legs. This can wear away at your patience for stuff like this, but you can't let it discourage you.
- As an alternative to the legs, lay down and apply formulas to the abdomen, then chest, then back, then shoulders, and lastly neck. This achieves the nifty feeling that your head is about 3 feet above the rest of your body.
- I'm incredibly creative after a session that's longer that twenty minutes.
- Eventually, the body will be under command all of the time, not just when in a state of "Passive Concentration", whenever stress gets to you you'll have the discipline to melt it away immediately. It's wonderful.