Autogenic (AT)

How it works

Autogenic Therapy or training is a powerful mind and body technique involving simple relaxation and awareness exercises, which aim to reduce the intensity of the body’s stress response, and replace it with a calmer state. (Autogenic means generated by the body, and also self-generated.) The effects of autogenic therapy have been tested in numerous conditions and teach the patient to switch off when the symptoms show.

What it could help

Headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia, anxiety, low self-confidence, paranoia, phobias, fatigue, IBS, pain, depression, panic attacks.

Evidence base

There is a growing research base for autogenic therapy. There is early evidence suggesting benefits in some cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disorders but there is no definitive scientific evidence that supports the use of autogenic therapy for any condition.

A review considered over 60 studies into autogenic therapy and found it to have outcomes similar to the best treatment options, and additional advantages when taking into account patients’ reports.

Autogenic therapy has been investigated in various small-scale studies for chronic pain and illnesses which have mostly shown positive effects, but few have been big enough to be fully conclusive that this therapy is solely responsible.

What to expect

Autogenic training usually takes place in groups with a trained specialist, but is also possible using books and resources at home. Exercises range from 30 seconds to 10 minutes and focus on the various physical manifestations of relaxation in the body, and an awareness of processes like heartbeat and breathing.

Autogenic therapy is taught over eight 45-minute sessions, after which the skills would potentially be transferable whenever needed.

Precautions

It is thought to be safe for most people, although safety has not been specifically studied. People with abnormal blood pressure, significant psychotic disorders, and children may benefit from seeking medical advice before trying it, or only do so under supervision.

Find out more

Find a therapist

It is one of the few complementary therapies available on the NHS, if you live in London. You can be referred by your GP to the Royal London Hospital for Integrative Medicine. There are also a number of licensed private therapists registered with The British Autogenic Society, found at:

www.autogenic-therapy.org.uk/practitioners/certitifiedtherapist-uk-based/

Cost

A course of eight sessions will cost around £200

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