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What Is Autogenic Training?

What Is Autogenic Training?

For almost 40 years I have personally done Autogenic Training daily.  It has, by far, the greatest scientific proof of efficacy of any self-regulation approach. Developed originally in 1912 by J. H. Schultz, by 1969, the first of six volumes was published, with 2,600 scientific references.  That is even before it became part of autogenic feedback training—later biofeedback! Athletes, students, and business people all improve. Eighty percent of stress illnesses can be managed just with autogenic training!

Start this way:

Assume a comfortable position—s reclining chair is ideal.  Close your eyes.

As you breathe in, say slowly to yourself:

“My arms and legs”

As you breathe out:

“Are heavy and warm”

Imagine the sun beaming down upon your arms and legs. Do this for three minutes daily for one week. The second week, after the three minutes with “my arms and legs are heavy and warm,” add:

As you breathe in:

“My heartbeat is”

As you breathe out:

“Calm and regular.”

Continue for three minutes, while visualizing something calm and regular like the pendulum of a clock. Continue daily for a week. The third week do the two earlier exercises and add, as you breathe in:

“My breathing is”

As you breathe out:

“Free and easy”

While visualizing something free and easy, such as a bird gliding through the air without having to flap its wings.

Continue for three minutes during this third week. Then after these three phrases add, as you breathe in:

“My abdomen”

As you breathe out:

“Is warm.”

While visualizing the sun beaming down upon your abdomen. Continue all four phrases for three minutes each for a week. Then add, as you breathe in:

“My forehead:

As you breathe out:

“Is cool.”

While visualizing being outside, warmly dressed, with a cool breeze blowing across your forehead. Continue for three minutes and during this fifth week do all five phrases for three minutes each.  Then add, as you breathe in:

“My mind”

As you breathe out:

“Is quiet and still”

While you visualize a pleasant, quiet, still scene. Continue for three minutes.

You now have BASIC autogenic training—18 minutes a day! After this, you can add organ-specific phrases, if you have a specific need.  Always use only positive phrases and images! For habits, such as smoking, try “I am free of smoking.”  Or “My weight is (your ideal)” while visualizing yourself on a scale in front of a mirror seeing you at your ideal weight, etc. This practice retrains the brain, nervous system and the autonomic control system. Within six months of practice you may begin to have spontaneous spiritual imagery, leading to spontaneous meditation and contact with the Divine!  If you need a guiding CD, you can obtain my Basic Schultz CD at

Read more: Alternative Therapies, Anxiety, Biorhythms, Exercises, Guidance, Inspiration, Mental Wellness, Peace, Self-Help, Spirit, Stress, , , , ,

By Norman Shealy, MD, PhD, Guest Editor of Integrative Medicine on

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7:41PM PDT on May 6, 2013


12:08PM PDT on Apr 30, 2013

appreciate it

8:58AM PDT on Mar 11, 2013

Great read! Thanks so much for this

12:33PM PST on Mar 8, 2013

Thanks for this.

11:22AM PST on Dec 27, 2012

i know someone who does something very similar to this every time before she drives.

2:23AM PST on Nov 5, 2012

Very interesting, thanks!

10:29PM PDT on Oct 16, 2012

this sounds good.

2:17PM PDT on Oct 14, 2012

every options that can help is worth adding to one's personal toolbox

8:01PM PDT on Oct 13, 2012

This is beatiful, thankyou, I love it. :-)

1:34PM PDT on Oct 13, 2012

just visualize that you've coated yourself with sunscreen before that first one. :)

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