Today we are going to discuss the Schultz method of relaxation. Schultz’s autogenic training is one of three relaxation methods highly recommended by Dr. Malbos and for your patients who are anxious, addicted or have an eating disorder. 

This relaxation method will ultimately be applicable to most of your patients, but will be particularly effective on your patients who are chronically stressed, in other words, who have a generalized anxiety disorder, but also on those who have a panic disorder or who have agoraphobia. 

As a small historical point, this relaxation method was written by Dr. Schultz, a psychiatrist from the German Göring Institute. He applied this method of relaxation with veterans of the first world war.


Which relaxation method to choose? 

Schultz’s autogenic training may be the relaxation method to choose if your patient complains of unpleasant sensations that bother him or her. These feelings, related to anxiety, often present themselves as sensations of heat, tingling and paresthesias. If, on the other hand, your patient tells you that he or she is tense and has muscle pain, then the Jacobson method of progressive muscle relaxation is recommended.

This method can be considered self-hypnosis, but is not hypnosis. The idea is to recreate in your patient the same bodily sensations that one experiences when hypnotized.

As with all relaxation and meditation methods, your patient should be sitting or lying down, relaxed, without his or her jacket or purse: comfortable. Once this is done, you can begin the session. 


The feeling of heaviness

Schultz’s autogenic training is based on different sensations (heaviness, warmth…) that you will induce in your patient through speech. With a deep, warm voice and a slow flow, you will be able to say to your patient: 

“Now, you are going to concentrate on your right arm and you are going to imagine that it is made of lead. Your right arm is very heavy. Concentrate on that heavy feeling. Now let that feeling of heaviness spread throughout your body. Your whole body is heavy. Say in your mind, twice: my arm is heavy, heavier and heavier, very heavy. [after a moment] Say to yourself in your head, twice: my body is made of lead, my body is heavy, heavier and heavier, very heavy.”


The sensation of heat

Once the feeling of heaviness is done with your patient, you can start with the feeling of heat. Your patient should have the sensation that their right arm is warm as if they were standing at the edge of a window and feeling the gentle warmth of the sun streaming down their arm. Your patient should focus on this warm feeling. 

If you ever do this session in the summer, you should do this exercise with a cold feeling. It is not pleasant to concentrate on a feeling of heat when you are already very hot. In this case, you can tell your patient to imagine that he is lying by a lake and that his right arm is immersed in the water of this lake. That his arm is immersed in the cool, pleasant water of a clear lake. 

Let’s go back to our explanation with the example of heat. Ask your patient to say to himself twice and in his head: “my arm is hot, hotter and hotter, very hot”. Guide your patient to let this feeling of warmth spread throughout his or her body as if he or she were fully exposed to the sun on a beautiful beach. Then ask your patient to say to himself twice in his head: “my body is hot, hotter and hotter, very hot”.

Now your patient should repeat the following sentence twice: “I feel relaxed, more and more relaxed, very relaxed. Ask your patient to imagine themselves in a place that soothes them, such as a tropical beach. C2Hypno can accompany patients who have difficulty projecting themselves into an imaginary place. The wide choice of environments offered by C2Hypno can make this software your new ally in relaxation sessions. Your patient must concentrate on the sounds, the smells and move around in this place. Then, once again, ask your patient to repeat twice: “I feel relaxed, more and more relaxed, very relaxed”.



The Heartbeat

Now ask your patient to focus on his or her heartbeat. All his concentration and his mind should be focused on his heartbeat, the sensations of beating, slight movements of the torso, the sensations of pulsations in the wrists. And he must say twice in his head: “my heart beats slowly, more and more slowly, very slowly”.



Here your patient will have to concentrate on his breathing but without controlling it. He will have to pay attention to his breathing, observe and feel the movements of the breathing cycle. That is to say, the torso expands on the inhalation and retracts on the exhalation.  

Your patient should repeat the following phrase twice: “my breathing is getting calmer and calmer, very calm”. Then ask your patient to repeat twice: “I feel relaxed, more and more relaxed, very relaxed”. Then ask your patient to concentrate on the solar plexus (at the top of the abdomen) and he should have a feeling of warmth as if this part of his body was diffusing a soft light, a soft warmth. Then he should say to himself twice: “my belly is hot, hotter and hotter, very hot”.


The freshness

Then your patient will be able to concentrate on this feeling of coolness at the level of the forehead. It is as if a kind person had put a cloth soaked in cool water on his forehead. Feeling these sensations through images is the key to a successful Schultz relaxation.

Your patient should now say to himself twice: “my forehead is getting cooler and cooler, very cool”. Then once again: “I am relaxed, more and more relaxed, very relaxed”. Slowly your patient will be able to open his eyes, look around, make stretching movements. The method is thus completed.



Good to know

During the application of the Schultz relaxation method, it is not unusual for the patient to fall asleep. This is normal and not serious. However, consider providing him with recordings so that he can listen or re-listen to the steps of the relaxation.

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