Sophrology is a stress-management and self-discovery method combining simple relaxation, breathing, gentle movement and visualisation to help balance mind and body on the spot and feel empowered in today’s ever-changing circumstances.
Sophrology equips you with a toolkit for modern life that empowers you to feel calm and grounded even in daily stressful situations, helping you with anxiety, gaining more restful sleep, and unlocking your inner potential to reach your goals and transform your life one day at a time.
Sophrology was founded by Dr Alfonso Caycedo, a Spanish neuropsychiatrist and medical doctor in the 1960s to offer a gentle therapeutic approach to improve the quality of life of his patients. He drew from his experience as a neuropsychiatrist, his studies into Greek philosophy, phenomenology and psychological concepts, and his travels to India, Tibet and Japan to study yoga, Japanese Zen and Tibetan Buddhism.
Up until then, invasive procedures such as electroshock and insulin-induced comas were commonly administered to patients who suffered from mental health conditions. Dr Caycedo wanted to find a more integrative way to support these patients and help improve their daily life.
In light of this holistic vision, Sophrology is a combined word from the Greek roots: harmony (Sos), consciousness (Phren) and study or science (Logos). Therefore, Sophrology means ‘the science of consciousness in harmony’. Derived from Plato’s ‘sophrosyne’, a concept that includes a state of harmony in mind, body and soul, bringing a sense of tranquillity.
WHAT IS SOPHROLOGY?
- A step-by-step mental well-being practice, fit for even the busiest routines
- Simple mental and physical exercises that when practised regularly, lead to an empowered and balanced state of body and mind
- Requiring only 3 – 15 minutes per practice, Sophrology can be done anytime, anywhere, alone or in a group
- Created from both Eastern philosophies and Western science, Sophrology uniquely combines breathing, relaxation, gentle movement and visualisation techniques to quieten the mind and ground you in the body
- Helps you deal with stress, anxiety and mastering your mindset.
WHY DOES SOPHROLOGY WORK?
Each component of the Sophrology practice has a role to play in supporting the body and mind through the nervous system. It is the way these components are uniquely combined that makes Sophrology unique.
From ‘fight-or-flight’ to empowerment, how does Sophrology impact the nervous system?
Autonomic nervous system:
Activate the parasympathetic system to reduce stress, fears, racing thoughts or chest breathing and promote repair, rest and strength.
Rewire your brain for performance, creativity, mood, learning, memory, happiness, and focus.
Increasing body perception for affective processing, sense of self and cognitive enhancement.
Alpha brain waves:
Modify your brain waves to concentrate with less effort, induce calm, absorb new information and increase creativity.
HOW IS SOPHROLOGY USED IN DAILY LIFE?
Dr Caycedo developed specific Sophrology protocols to help with the issues of modern life making it an efficient therapeutic tool to help support people suffering from stress, anxiety, insomnia, lack of confidence, phobias, weight issues or preparing for important life events, like birth, exams or expatriation.
From the 1970s, Sophrology started to spread outside the medical world and has become widely practised around Europe beyond Spain to France, Belgium and Switzerland, in settings such as education, sport, corporate and social environments. In the mid-1990s it became reimbursed by health insurance companies in France and Switzerland.
Currently, through the work of Dominique Antiglio, acclaimed Sophrologist, author of the best-selling book “The Life-changing Power of Sophrology”, and Founder of leading Sophrology platform BeSophro, Sophrology is spreading from Continental Europe to the UK and beyond.
As a mental wellbeing practice, Sophrology is gentle and effective, and can easily fit into even the busiest routines. It is intuitive to learn and doesn’t require special skills. As a toolkit for modern life, Sophrology is especially beneficial in the corporate world to help increase productivity, decrease anxiety and prevent burnout.
The ease and simplicity of Sophrology practices are due to its work with movement and body awareness, which supports people in becoming more aware of their needs, tension, emotions and positive sensations in a modern world where we are overstimulated with so much information, media, and work/school demands.
As a complementary approach to allopathic medicine, Sophrology is used in many European hospitals in maternity units and sleep clinics, and it is often recommended in IVF clinics and in palliative care.
Sophrology is also used in education and sports environments, to support children and adults in gaining confidence, preparing for important events such as competitions and exams, and developing a focus and each individual’s abilities and potential.
EXPLORING THE SCIENCE BEHIND SOPHROLOGY
Sophrology is based on modalities that have been studied by science and shown to positively impact the body and mind’s wellbeing and the nervous system, such as breathing, relaxation, mental imagery, movement and meditation. Sophrology itself has got a growing body of studies on a wide range of applications that you can discover further below. To read the full story on Sophrology and science, click here.
If you practise Sophrology regularly, for as little as 10 minutes a day, you may start noticing how you are able to find a sense of calm and achieve a state of balance in daily life. Beyond stress management and self-development tools, the aim of Sophrology is to experience life with a renewed sense of vitality and awareness and deepen your mind-body connection to live your daily life more mindfully. If you are interested in starting your Sophrology journey, you can access a whole range of Sophrology practises online at besophro.com which are suitable for anyone.