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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: AUTOGENIC TRAINING

The word ‘autogenic’ is derived from the Greek for ‘coming from within’ and is principally a self-relaxation/hypnosis technique. Devised in Berlin by Dr J Schultz in the 1920s, the training consists of learning a set of six simple exercises designed to induce deep relaxation and thereby promote self-healing. The exercises include the repetition of certain phrases to bring on feelings of general warmth, an abdominal glow, a feeling of heaviness, and heartbeat and breathing control. Schultz also recommended a technique for cooling the forehead. Autogenic training involves learning how to control the body’s involuntary nervous system, and needs to be taught by a specially trained therapist. It can be used to treat many disorders, from anxiety and tension to asthma and tendonitis. Autogenics is an effective alternative to using tranquillizers or sleeping pills. It is not only an excellent self-help addition to the treatment of any chronic condition, but also one of the most positive antidotes to everyday stress. By practising the exercises for only a few minutes you can release yourself from the stresses in your life, and allow the body to restore itself and become more resistant to illness. Its long-term effects are to lower heart-attack risk factors such as high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol, and to improve emotional balance and willpower.

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