What is Sophrology

 

Sophrology is both a stress-management and a self-development tool.  The word ‘Sophrology’ is made of three Greek words meaning the “study of consciousness in harmony”.


The practice is used extensively through continental Europe and consists of a series of easy to do physical and mental exercises that when practiced regularly can lead to a healthy relaxed body  and a calm alert mind. The power of Sophrology lies in its simplicity and adaptability, combined with the level of depth at which it can be practiced. It combines elements of meditation, physical exercises, visualisation, breathing, relaxation and body awareness. 


Sophrology was founded by Colombian-born neuro-psychiatrist Alfonso Caycedo in 1960. Professor Caycedo was an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the Medical School of Barcelona and a doctor, neurologist and psychiatrist at Barcelona Hospital Clinic. Studying medicine in Spain after the Civil War, he was searching for a way to bring traumatized war victims back to a healthy physical and mental state with minimal drug use. While developing the method he worked under Dr Binswanger, in Kreuzlingen, Switzerland, who was at the forefront of using phenomenology in the psychology domain.  Prof. Caycedo then travelled in the East, studying Yoga, Zen and Buddhism, searching for the core practices and exercises that speedily and effectively produced positive results. Sophrology therefore brings together the best of Eastern Philosophies and Western science and is inspired by yoga, Buddhism and Zen, as well as phenomenology, cognitive psychology and autogenic training.


From its use in the medical environment, Sophrology quickly evolved into a discipline to support a wider audience, to help manage stress, improve sleep and achieve a sense of balance and wellbeing that can benefit people of all ages. It is extremely popular in France, Switzerland, Belgium and Spain: its use has spread to schools, maternity hospitals, private clinics, sport and corporate environments.


The way a Sophrology session works is very simple: you sit or stand comfortably, with your eyes closed, and you will be guided by your Sophrologist’s voice through a series of simple breathing and relaxation exercises. The exercises aim to help you reach a balanced state where your body is fully relaxed and your mind is more focused. That will establish a deeper connection with yourself in the present moment and allow you to use visualisation, gentle movement or specific breathing techniques. During a session you can gently access your inner resources and learn to better deal with whatever is in the way of your well-being.


 Through Sophrology, we learn to live in the present moment, prepare for our future positively and to stay true to ourselves instead of reacting to what happens