Sophrology is a therapeutic and life-balancing technique widely used on the continent, particularly in France, Switzerland, Spain and Belgium. It is now available in the UK thanks to the Kent-based Sophrology Academy, a training centre dedicated to the discipline. It’s main aim is that of having ‘an alert mind in a relaxed body’ so that we can function to the best of our ability at any given time, regardless of our circumstances or environment.
The method was created in Spain and Switzerland by Spanish neuropsychologist Alfonso Caycedo in the 1960’s. He was looking for alternative techniques to help his patients improve their mental and physical well-being. He developed sophrology after exploring Western relaxation techniques such as Autogenic Relaxation and Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) and then travelling East to look into the ancient practices of Yoga, Tummo (Tibetan Buddhist meditation) and Japanese Zen.
It is is this fusion of ‘East meets West’ that makes sophrology both appealing and highly practical. It requires no special equipment, clothing or space so can be done anywhere and at any time. It incorporates gentle physical movements, breathing techniques and specific visualisations to relax the body, release tensions and help the mind to calm down and focus. It is used as a therapeutic technique and/or a self-development tool and is practised both on a one-to-one basis and with groups.
Sophrology is commonly used to :
- Improve mental and physical well-being
- Sharpen focus and concentration
- Address sleep and activate energy levels
- Reduce anxiety and maximise performance
- Build resilience and generally manage stress
- Increase confidence and improve communication
- Enhance motivation and grow creativity
- Promote work-life balance