What is autogenic training?

Around 1900 Vogt developed autohypnosis. It was noticed that patients reported less tension. Somewhat later, around 1932, a German, named Johannes Schultz, developed a training which he called autogenic, or (self-regulation). The benefits are similar to other meditative and relaxation techniques. Heart and respiratory rate decreases, along with muscle tension. Blood begins to flow more easily to the peripheral area of the extremities.  Raynaud's disease sufferers have often alleviated much of their deficient blood supply to the extremities. Migraine headaches and insomniacs have also benefited from autogenic training.[1]

 The Six Initial States of Autogenic States are as follows:

1. Focus on sensations of heaviness throughout the arms and legs.

2. Focus on sensations of warmth throughout the arms and legs.

3. Focus on sensations of warmth and heaviness in the area of the heart.

4. Focus on breathing.

5. Focus on sensations of warmth in the abdomen.

6. Focus on sensations of coolness in the forehead.

The Practice

Autogenic training is often best learned with the assistance of a teacher, however, tapes can be purchased which will also be beneficial. You may practice in a chair or lie in the supine position. Tapes can be purchased from GRCC  bookstore or from an online bookstore[2] ,[3] If you wish you may make your tape or recite the following dialogue silently. Autogenic seems to work best when each state is practiced in a sequence.

Stage 1 Heaviness

Repeat the following  phrases silently 3 times

My right arm is heavy. ( repeat 3 times) 

My left arm is heavy. (repeat 3 times)

Both of my arms are heavy. (repeat 3 times)

Repeat above phrases 3 times in sequence with right leg, left leg,  and then with both legs, as you did with the arms.

Stage 2 Warmth

My right arm is warm. ( repeat 3 times)

My left arm warm. ( repeat 3 times)

Both of  my arms are warn. ( repeat 3 tunes)

Repeat above phrases as in heaviness   substituting legs doing the same as you did with the Stage 1 Heaviness.

Stage 3 Heart

My heartbeat is regular and calm. (Repeat 5 times slowly)

Stage 4 Respiration

My breathing is calm and relaxed. ( Repeat 5 times)

Stage 5 Solar Plexus

My solar plexus is warm. ( Repeat 5 times )

State 6 Forehead

My forehead is cool. ( Repeat 5 times )

Repeat sequence for twenty minutes. With practice this should prove quite beneficial. Now give it a try!

Keep a daily log of your relaxation practice.

Relaxation Journal

Time of Day________
Biodot color at:
Beginning of Session______
End of Session______


  1. Jerrold: Greenberg, Jerrold, Comprehensive Stress Management, Boston: McGraw-Hill,1999, pp151-158

   2. Edward A. Charlesworth,  The Relaxation and Stress Management Program, Stress Management Research Associates, Inc. P.O. Box 2232, Houston, Texas 77251

  3. Brian L. Seaward, Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Wellbeing,3rd ed., Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers ( See CD Rom in back of the book).

Email: rbrehm@msn.com  Copyright 1998  [Robert Brehm]. All rights reserved.