Sophrology: definition, benefits, and role of the sophrologist

Definition of sophrology

Sophrology is a “training of the body and mind to develop serenity and well-being based on relaxation techniques and activation of the body and mind”. It is aimed at anyone seeking to improve their lives and develop well-being and relaxation.

Specific sessions can be offered to young children and teenagers. Sophrology is not medicine, it does not cure, it is more of a tool for personal development. It is used by many athletes or artists to better control their stage fright or “pressure”.

Sophrology leads the person to work on his own values and to know himself better. It is a very effective tool to keep confidence and hope.

Through a better knowledge of oneself, this discipline allows everyone to strengthen themselves, to improve their daily lives by taking a new look at their present and future.

Sophrology connects our inner world to our outer world, using 4 principles:

  • The principle of positive action, says that any positive action on a part of the consciousness has a positive impact on the totality of its being. The repetition of the positive leads to the development of habits, and values that reinforce a state of well-being.
  • The body diagram is the object of the practice of sophrology which considers it in its form and its capacity for movement than its ability to feel and perceive.
  • The principle of objective reality developed through personal training.
  • Adaptability says that the sophrologist must adapt to the reality of the people he receives.

The benefits of sophrology

On Sleep

Sophrology accompanies people with difficulty falling asleep or waking up at night. It is effective when it comes to mild disorders, due to a tiring and stressful lifestyle or bad habits at bedtime.

Each of these disorders can be treated with relaxation and breathing exercises. To these are added futurization techniques to prepare his night, with pleasure.

It is often necessary to work on the anxiety of going to bed, generated by repeated insomnia.

On Stress

In stressful situations, sophrology learns to let go of annoyances and better manage emotions. Little by little, the person is better prepared to overcome the important moments.

On a professional level, sophrology makes it possible to better live stressful situations, such as work overload, loss of meaning, and fear of organizational changes. For managers, it is a tool for improving collective, group work, and team cohesion

During pregnancy

Sophrology helps future mothers to live the last months of pregnancy as well as childbirth with more serenity and confidence.

At first, it allows you to better experience the physical changes and the associated unpleasant sensations. Then, through imaging and breathing techniques, women positively anticipate the upcoming birth.

Through sophrology, they have tools to be more relaxed and better manage pain. In particular, they will be able to recover better between each contraction.

It is recommended to start sophrology sessions in the 5th month.

Teenagers

Adolescence is a period of transition often synonymous with: difficulty sleeping, lack of concentration, strong emotions, stress, malaise, or lack of self-confidence. This period is inevitable! However, sophrology allows adolescents to approach this stage of life more serenely by working on the acceptance of these physical and emotional changes. And consequently, strengthen his confidence, prepare for an exam, develop his concentration, regulate his sleep, and live better his body.

Senior

Sophrology helps to age well and live better with the effects that can accompany aging, such as pain, sleep or memory problems, and depression … In cases of chronic pain, it brings body relaxation and physical or mental well-being. It is also useful for accepting changes in one’s appearance or energy level.

On pain

Back pain, stomach ache, headache, and pain are very often the manifestation of a disorder of our body. And other times, it’s our mind that alerts us by creating these pains to tell us “stop”, when we are overwhelmed by our environment (for example, stress at work and musculoskeletal disorders).

Sophrology will allow the person to find a balance between his body and his mind and better life with his pain. These will not disappear but will be better supported by the person who suffers from them. This is how many hospitals will call on a sophrologist for the follow-up of their patients, especially in case of chronic pain.

Sophrology exercises

Body relaxation

We accumulate tensions that often result in muscle stiffness, mental fatigue or pain. Body relaxation allows you to reconnect to your pleasant bodily sensations, without muscle tension. This is an entry exercise in sophrology.

  • Make yourself comfortable at the back of your chair. Feet hip-width, hands on thighs, and head straight.
  • Close your eyes quietly, becoming aware of your position. You listen to your breathing and let yourself slide into relaxation.
  • Then you turn your attention from the forehead, to relax all the muscles of your face, your head: the muscles of the forehead, around the eyes, your eyelids. You relax the muscles of the cheeks, the lips are relaxed, and your jaw loosens out.
  • You let the trigger slide down your neck. You relax all the muscles of the neck, neck. The shoulders get heavier. You release the outside of your arms, forearms, and wrists to your fingertips.
  • Then you turn your attention to the chest, in front of the new sternum. And from this point, you relax all the muscles of this rib cage. You also relax the dorsal spine, not to mention the inside of your arms, up to your palms.
  • Then from a point above the navel, relax all the muscles of your abdominal belt, you perceive the belly muscles relaxing. All the muscles in your lumbar spine are relaxed. You gently erase the hollow of the back against the chair.
  • Then from the lower abdomen, you relax all the muscles of the lower body, to the tips of your toes. Starting by relaxing the gluteal muscles, pelvis, and hips. The muscles of the thighs, knees, calves, ankles, and feet relax.
  • And by paying attention to the navel, you become aware of the entire shape of your body in this pleasant relaxation. Take the time to appreciate it, and your body relaxed. Just like your breathing that has become quiet, and calm. Become aware of the shape of your body’s overall relaxation, balance, it’s breathing. You try to listen to everything that is going on inside you. Without judgment and without prejudice.

Then very quietly you will take three deep breaths. And put your body back in muscle tension by first moving your feet and slowly going up to your face.

My buoy image

Are unpleasant emotions taking precedence over you? Before you let yourself be overwhelmed, take the time to isolate yourself for a few moments.

  • Relax in your relaxed position at the bottom of the seat, closing your eyes.
  • Your feet are placed on the floor, your pelvis is in line with your back to avoid any tension and your hands are on your thighs.
  • Then focus on the points of support of your body on the chair. Make a few deep sighs to chase away all negative thoughts and unnecessary pressures.
  • Then take the time to follow your natural breathing for a few moments, like a regular, peaceful wave.
  • And quietly let come to you a pleasant, sweet image: a landscape, a moment of everyday life that makes you particularly happy, or a pleasant memory. It is synonymous with well-being and joy for you. You then take all your time to live this positive content, letting your 5 senses awaken: colors, loved ones present, smells, noises, flavors, or the outside temperature on your skin.
  • Living this sweet content let positive emotions rise. They soothe you. Experience the positive sensations, the pleasant feelings. Live this moment to the fullest.
  • Then when you want you to inhale deeply, as if to capture this moment and the associated emotions. And on the exhale you send all these positive emotions in your body. You repeat this deep breath several times in a row. Let all that positivity diffuse, like a soft light into the head, neck, shoulders, back, chest, arms, stomach, and lower body.
  • All you have to do is put your body back into muscle tension, slowly starting with your feet and going up to your face, to finally open your eyes. You are then filled with positivity and free from all other emotions.

The sophrology session

A session lasts about an hour. No outfit and no equipment are required. Come with your desire to do yourself good, with respect for others. Sophrology is usually practiced sitting and standing.

There are a group or individual sessions. The difference lies in the more global approach of the group lesson. With individual support, the therapist adapts a tailor-made protocol to achieve the goal defined together.

In individual sessions, the sophrologist first talks with the person to hear their needs and adapt the session, before presenting their progress.
At the beginning of the session, we do the key techniques, to reconnect with our body and relax.
We somatize the positive to the rhythm of our abdominal breathing. We then move on to the activation stage which uses positive visualizations or gentle movements.
Each exercise is followed by a time of observation of the body, on the perceptions and sensations felt. The session ends with a sharing or putting into words the phenomena perceived during the session.

It is recommended to regularly practice the exercises done in the office, between appointments. The majority of sophrologists transmit audio of the practices so that people can practice at home.

Image Credit: Image by jcomp on Freepik

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