The Autogenic Relaxation Technique

This is part 3 of our series on Relaxation Techniques.This type of relaxation uses images of warmth and heat to help you relax.

You might find it useful to record the following words on a CD or ask someone to slowly read them out to you.  Make sure they take their time – there’s nothing relaxing about having someone rush through the words! The ideal situation is for you to become familiar enough with this to be able to speak some of the words to yourself inside your head whenever you feel stressed.

Recordings are useful when you have your CD player with you but you are more portable and you can adapt the directions depending on the specific circumstances.

Begin by lying down on a comfortable surface (like a sofa or bed) with your head supported by pillows and two pillows under your knees. Place one hand on your tummy and one hand on your upper chest.

Focus on your right hand. Feel the skin on your right hand and where it is resting. Feel the support of the bed/chair gently cradling your hand. Feel how your skin feels next to it. Feel the skin becoming warm and relaxed. Feel the warmth move from your finger nails up each finger to your hand. Feel your palm becoming warm and this warmth spreading throughout your hand , wrist and slowly moving up your arm.

Feel your right arm becoming warm.

Your right arm is becoming warm and heavy…warmer and heavier and more relaxed. Feel the warmth in your right arm.

Your right arm is warm, heavy and relaxed…..

Now focus on your left hand. Imagine taking your hand and placing it in some warm soothing water. Feel the warm water around your fingers, warming the skin of your hands and relaxing your hand. Move your hand further into the water so your wrist becomes warm and covered by the soothing water. Your arm is becoming heavy and warm and relaxed. Allow your arm and hand to sink into the warm water.

Your left arm is warm, heavy and relaxed…..

Now focus on your feet.  Become aware of your toes and feel them becoming warm. Feel the warmth move up your toes and into your feet. Feel the warmth spreading up your feet and into your ankles and slowly move up your legs.  Feel your feet and legs becoming heavy, warm and relaxed. Feel them sink down into the bed and feel warm and supported and pleasantly heavy.

Your feet and legs are warm, heavy and relaxed…..

Your hands, arms and legs are warm, heavy and relaxed….

Now imagine a warm breeze gently blowing across your face, spreading a gentle warmth over your eyes, lips and face. Feel the warmth spreading out across your cheeks and over your scalp. Feel your head becoming heavy and sinking gently down into the support of the pillow. Your eyelids are warm and heavy and relaxed.

Your face and lips and eyelids are warm, heavy and relaxed….

You are now lying down under the sun and it is shining down on you. You can feel its warmth on yourtummy, warming and soothing it. The front of your body is feeling warm and the warmth is spreading out as the sun shines down on you. Your tummy is warm and soothed, warm, heavy and relaxed.

Your tummy is warm, heavy and relaxed…..

The sun’s warmth is spreading from your tummy up to your chest, over your neck and into your face. The fronts of your legs and arms are feeling its soothing warmth. The warmth is sinking down through you and your back now feels its warmth. The warmth is through you, is a part of you. Feel the warmth through and in you. Feel your body become heavy and rest deep into the bed/chair. Feel how the bed/chair is completely supporting your body and how warm and heavy it feels.

Your body is warm, heavy and relaxed….

Focus on your breathing as the warmth and heaviness continues through and over you. As you breathe, feel the warmth, the calmness and the relaxation.

Enjoy this feeling for a few more minutes whilst focussing on your breathing.

Now slowly begin to bring your mind back to the here and now. The warmth remains and your eyes remain closed but begin to notice sounds around you. Notice and feel the surface you are lying on.

Slowly begin to move your fingers and toes and then your arms and legs and then open your eyes.

By Alison Bourne MA (Cantab) BSc MCSP ACPWH

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