Aiming to reconcile the body and the mind, sophrology is a psychocorporal approach that helps to better manage one’s emotions, in particular stress and anxiety, but also to fight against pain. The point on this technique and its benefits.
17% of French people say they have already used sophrology, or more than 11 million people*. Created in the 1960s by Colombian neuropsychiatrist Alfonso Caycedo, sophrology is a gentle technique inspired by Western practices (hypnosisrelaxation…) and oriental (meditation and yoga).
Sophrology can help overcome hardships
Suitable for all age groups (children, adults, seniors), it offers a range of tools for better manage their emotions and improve their well-being. It is effective in overcoming difficult ordeals: examination, childbirth, professional interview, etc.
Good to know: not being recognized as a medical specialty, sophrology does not benefit fromno reimbursement by Social Security (count between 45 and 70 € per individual session).
A way to ease the pain
During a first exchange with the sophrologist, the patient explains his needs. The first sessions are dedicated to body awareness. Sitting or standing, the patient learns to relax, to release muscle tension through dynamic relaxation exercises.
Therapeutic work then begins in order to target a specific blockage: insomnia, stress, anxiety disorder… The practitioner uses sophronizations. These guided visualizations aim to induce a modified state of consciousness, between waking and sleeping. The goal: to replace negative sensations with other, more pleasant ones and send a strong message to the brain to divert it from pain.
A complementary therapy used in the hospital
More and more hospitals are using sophrology as complementary therapy. The Institut Curie, in Paris, offers it for example medical oncology patients. And at the Tours CHRU, it is even used to avoid morphine.
Sophrology does not replace therapy, but can be a good complement.
*According to a 2018 BVA survey for the Chambre syndicale de la sophrologie.
Examples of sophrology exercises
Sitting with your spine straight, pay attention to the breath. Inhale deeply for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 4 seconds, then exhale for 4 seconds and remain empty for 4 seconds. Repeat this cycle ten times. Gradually feel the tranquility settling in.
Objective : Oxygenate the brain, soothe the nervous system and the mind.
When to practice? In the morning when you wake up and at any time of the day to calm down.
The hot-air balloon
Installed comfortably, close the eyelids, put the attention on the breath. Let the body relax completely. Then imagine a green garden. In the middle is a hot air balloon. You climb in, it takes off. Inside the hot air balloon is a box containing all your cares for the day. You throw them, one by one, from the top of the balloon. As they disappear into the void, you feel lighter and lighter.
Then the hot air balloon descends to the ground. You put your feet in the grass, you feel connected to the earth and to yourself. Take three deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling slowly through your mouth. Become aware of your body in space. Slowly, you can open your eyes.
Objective : evacuate the tensions of the day.
When to practice? In the evening, before falling asleep
- Céline Durr (ANPM-France Mutuality)
- Photo credit: Shutterstock/Ciem
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