Mind-body medicine consists of a body of work that promotes mental, emotional, and physical healing in the midst of an ever-changing environment through tools that encourage self-awareness. Mind-body medicine tools are not only proven to improve mental health but are shown to have strong physical health benefits. One major practice that has been adopted worldwide, due to its various known benefits is autogenic and biofeedback training. Through autogenic training, also known as self-hypnosis, individuals can gain control over their physiological responses by using mental techniques to improve physical health and well-being. Biofeedback uses devices to monitor various bodily functions like heart rate and skin temperature, helping individuals learn how to control these processes through conscious awareness.
Both autogenic training and biofeedback provide many benefits to those who practice them. Autogenic training (AT) has even been adopted worldwide. For example, both NASA and the Australian government teach AT to help their astronauts cope with the stress of space travel; Australia, the UK, Italy, and Spain use autogenics training in their treatment of anxiety and depression, anger management, insomnia, fatigue, and memory loss. Japan and Germany train medical professionals in autogenics to treat a wide range of medical complaints. In Australia, The Autogenic Training Institute teaches autogenics for occupational health and safety, particularly for their police force. As you can see, there are many known benefits and uses for autogenics, especially when it comes to improving vital signs.
What exactly is autogenic training? It is an approach to balancing the autonomic nervous system using simple phrases and imagery that engage the parasympathetic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is an important facet of the nervous system that controls heart rate, blood pressure, arousal, respiration, and digestion. When the ANS is out of balance, especially for a long period of time, our health can suffer in various ways.
During autogenic training, phrases are repeated several times each. Thermal biofeedback devices, such as biodots or thermistors can be used to measure stress response simultaneously. This promotes self-awareness and encourages self-regulation of the nervous system.
Scientists Elmer and Alyce Green performed studies on Indian yogis known to have been able to decrease blood pressure by 10 to 30 points, slow the heart rate from 70 bpm to 10-15 bpm, and could raise/lower their body temperature. Studies in the European Journal of Oncology Nursing suggested that autogenic training was effective in decreasing anxiety and depression while boosting immune function.
The autonomic nervous system is a beautifully complex system, wired in such a way that our mind can work in cooperation with the body to maintain internal balance. We only have to give it to the tools required to heal. The great news is we offer mind-body medicine sessions virtually and in-person at TCLM! Contact us to get scheduled and learn powerful tools such as autogenic training, mindfulness, mediation, Tai-Chi, and more! If you have not already, check out the Mind Sculpting Masterclass online here as well to start putting these mind-body tools into practice!
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