Sophrology is a technique invented in 1960 by Alfonso Caycedo, a neuropsychiatric doctor.
After using conventional therapies of the time, he looked at the need to change the state of consciousness of his patients to cure their diseases. Inspired by different methods, the Caycedian sophrology is the synthesis between Western techniques (hypnosis, phenomenology) and Eastern (yoga, zazen...).
Body and mind relaxation, it is essentially based on physical relaxation, using dynamic relaxation exercises: breathing, visualizing positive images. Currently it is used a therapy technique or philosophy of life.
2. What is Sophrology For?
Improving everyday life, reinforcing a balance in our emotions, our thoughts and our behaviours, that is what sophrology is all about. In other words, the sophrology helps people to find new resources within themselves and improve their quality of life. It is designed to transform our anxieties or phobias in positive thoughts.
Practicing sophrology on a regular basis helps with concentration and memorization, managing emotions and fighting stress, stage fright, or even fighting against defeatist behaviours. It is also used to get rid of sleep disorders and to develop self-confidence. It may still be useful for dieting, quitting smoking, or any other addiction. Each session is a great way of finding a movement of peace and quiet.
3. For Whom?
Everyone can use sophrology! At any age, this alternative medicine can help to find peace of mind.
Children and teens learn to control their emotions, cope with anxieties and manage conflicts in the classroom or at home. Later on, it will help them to prepare for exams and interviews.
For adults and seniors, learn to manage stress, to reduce sleep disorders, improve concentration and memory.
For athletes to get mentally ready to reach their goals and improve their performances
People with disabilities can attend Sophrology sessions since all the exercises are adaptable
For pregnant women to prepare for motherhood
4. What Happens During a Sophrology Session?
A sophrology session has five stages.
The pre-relaxation dialog or pre-sophronic dialog: the session begins with an exchange. You start by voicing what is bothering you, what you are experiencing or feeling. The practitioner listens to you and asks questions to get to know you better. They will then offer a session that is adapted to your needs, while giving your all the necessary explanations beforehand.
Dynamic relaxation or sophronisation: using breathing exercises based on body contraction and relaxation movements, the sophrologist will take you into deep bodily relaxation or a "sophronic" state. Sophronisation consists in alternately releasing the five systems of the body (face, shoulders, etc.). It is generally performed from the top to the bottom (head to feet) and in a sitting position so as to maintain a degree of watchfulness. When you are "relaxed" or "sophronised", you are said to be at the "sophro-liminal" level (related to the "Alpha" state in relaxation).
Intra-sophronic activation or static relaxation: settle down into a comfortable position, then eyes closes, let the sophrologist's voice carry you, and lead you into total relaxation (you are on the cusp of falling asleep). Once you reach this state of profound relaxation, you will be invited to visualise a positive and pleasant image to encourage the benefits of the relaxation. This state is ideal for working on the words and images that emerge.
Desophronisation: this is about coming out of the relaxing state by gradually gaining muscle tone associated with the return to a waking state. Desophronisation is usually performed from bottom to top (feet to head).
The post-sophronique dialogue and phenodescription: the session ends with an exchange about your experiences. You describe your experience and all the feelings that you encountered. It is also the opportunity to define with the sophrologist an exercise program to perform on a daily basis to get results more quickly.
Remember that a sophrology session lasts on average one hour. For stress anxiety or insomnia problems, it takes approximately 5 to 20 sessions to overcome the issue. If your case requires thorough sophro-analytical work, several (2 or 3) years of practice will be recommended. Group classes also exist, they are mostly focused on relaxation and well-being. The price of a single session varies between 50 and €70.
If stress is eating you up and you want to find peace of mind without resorting to drugs, this alternative medicine is ideal for you. Your mind isn't answering anymore and the body is all over the place, put your faith in sophrology to balance everything out again!