Autogenic training

      Autogenic training (AT) is one of the most frequently used relaxation techniques worldwide. It was developed in the period between WWI and WWII by the German neurologist and psychiatrist Johann Heinrich Schultz. It is an auto suggestive technique, that means a technique which a person can apply to or use on himself/herself individually. It is not only a practice of relaxation, but also a technique of self awareness and self control, and it may have therapeutic effects as well as effects in the area of personal development. There have been several modifications and versions of AT since it was first created. Apart from clinical psychology, sports psychology is one of the most traditional areas where AT is being effectively used. This technique is also used by Slovak top athletes, such as Matej Tóth, who talks about the positive effects of AT in his interview above.
      AT is systematic training focused on developing the skill of getting into a state of deep calmness and relaxation. Such state is achieved by using and repeating of certain formulae. The state of deep calmness and relaxation has a regenerative effect on the whole body, its mental as well as physical state. It is used as preventative measure from several health problems; it helps to eliminate excessive stress and improves resistance of the body to difficult situations. The ultimate goal of AT is, according to Schultz, a more perfect inner relaxation and immersion in one-self, inner changes which will strengthen whatever is healthy and good, and will reduce what is unhealthy.
            The goals of AT are:
  • Training of deep relaxation and intense physical and mental rest
  • Achievement of calmness and release in stressful situations, reduction of disturbing emotions (such as fear, stage fright, anger, etc.), minimizing of compulsive feelings and undesired behavior, encouragement of positive emotions
  • Relaxation and harmonization of vegetative bodily functions not only in stressful situations, but also in daily life
  • Improvement of concentration, improvement of the skill of mobilization of physical and mental forces, and improvement of decision skills
  • Improvement of overall performance, stamina and mental toughness (the three effects as a result of long term regular practice of AT)
  • Improvement of self control, composure and deeper understanding of one’s motivations,  it becomes possible to “have a dialogue with one’s inner self”
  • Achievement of harmony, of a “steady firm point inside one-self”, achievement of inner security, support and balance
      The technique consists of three levels. The first, base level, deals with learning to control physical feelings (e.g. feeling of weight, warmth). The second, intermediate level consists of the use of individually created formulae focused on harmonization of personality and improvement of the skills of self awareness and self control. The third, highest level carries on the training of visualization and imagination, and further development of self awareness.
      Physical difficulties may be connected to emotional life or the inner conflict between the “want to” and the “not being able to”. In such cases, AT may contribute to bringing back balance and harmony to the body. Already the basic level of AT has positive effects. By suggesting the feeling of weight and warmth in extremities, connected to real deep muscle relaxation and intense blood circulation, it enables further influence on other physical functions and organs. 
      There are different versions and manuals of how to practice AT, available on the Internet. Correct training of the individual parts of AT is, however, essential to success. If you are interested to practice this relaxation method under supervision of an experienced coach, do not hesitate to contact us.
Used literature:
Hašto J.: Autogénny tréning, Vydavateľstvo F, Trenčín, 2006.
Stackeová D.: Relaxační techniky ve sportu, Grada, Praha, 2011.