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Health & Wellbeing / Ali Horsfall

So, What The Heck Is Sophrology?

Wellness has never been such a big deal. From clean sleep techniques and self-care weekenders, to crystal healing and hormone tracking, we know that optimum health and mental wellbeing entails a whole lot more than just good nutrition and regular exercise – it’s all about living our best lives.

Which is why we’re forever on the lookout for legit wellness trends (not fads) that we can to weave into our daily life to get maximum body and mind benefits – and the latest to catch our attention is Sophrology, dubbed the new mindfulness.

What’s that then?

Sophrology is massive in Europe, in particular France and Switzerland where it is used in hospitals, and is a self-development technique that can be self-taught to achieve relaxation, awareness and balance. With an end goal of a super-alert mind in a chilled out body, it’s perfect for stressed-out souls that want to heal their inner angst. Sophrology blends Eastern and Western philosophies and techniques and was developed in the 60s by a Spanish neuro-psychiatrist who’s since progressed the practice to 12 levels of learning; think of it a bit like yoga and meditation, but with the rational underpinnings of hypnotherapy or psychology.

How does it actually work?

Sophrology is a structured method of healing and involves exercises based on deep breathing, relaxation, meditation, concentration, visualization and simple, gentle movements called dynamic relaxation (relaxation in movement).

To give you an idea, one exercise used in Sophrology is the “body scan”, where you focus on your individual body parts, from the top of your head down to your toes, relaxing and bringing focus and awareness to each part as you mentally scan down through your body. This promotes deep relaxation of the muscles and allows you to reach a state of consciousness known as the “sophroliminal level”, where you’re not asleep, but not awake, and your mind has quietened as you engage fully with your body.

Mumbo-jumbo? Apparently not. The benefits of doing the physical and mental exercises regularly, are said to include improved sleep and more energy, increased concentration, less anxiety, boosted self-confidence and a feeling of inner happiness and calm – after only just a few sessions. Sophrology is even thought to help during exams, work presentations, when giving birth, or any situation where you have to really up your game and perform.

There are no postures to learn and it can even be done standing up once you’ve mastered the techniques. It’s all about building a toolkit you can use to reduce stress and tension and manage your emotions – whenever and wherever you might need it.

Want to know more?

With the demand for Sophrology now growing in the UK, there are an increasing number of therapists offering the practice here. Sophrology can be done alone, one-on-one with a therapist to tackle specific issues, or with others. Dominique Antiglio, London’s go-to Sophrologist, is soon to release her first book on how to incorporate the practice into your daily life, as well as offering individual, skype, or group sessions. For more info on therapists in your area, check out The Sophrology Network.

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