Sophrology - how it helps pain & injury

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This week I had the fortune to interview Dominique Antiglio, a Sophrologist and owner of BeSophro.  Formally an osteopath from Switzerland, Dominique found her patients pain was highly linked to stress and how they perceived and reacted to daily life situations.  She trained in Sophrology as a means of helping her clients further and now teaches the technique exclusively in private and group sessions here in London at 58 South Molton Street practice in Mayfair.  I have personally benefited from this amazing technique and it is a great pleasure for me to share what Dominique has to say about relaxation and how it helps your healing and recovery.

KT:  What is Sophrology?

DA:  It is a mind body transformation technique that helps you deal more effectively with daily life occurrences - ones that may ordinarily stress us out.  It is a practice based on a philosophy and can also act as a therapy as well.  It uses breathing techniques, dynamic relaxation, visualisation and gentle movements to bring about change in the body and mind and to make you consciously aware of these changes.

KT:  Who can benefit from Sophrology?

DA:  Everyone!  I mainly see three types of people.  People who are stressed out and have physical pain related to their stress such as back pain or headaches.  I also specialise in birth preparation for pregnant women.  The third type of clients I see are people who are interested in their own self-development and want to expand their awareness and reach their full potential.

KT:  Do you work with clients who have physical pain?

DA:  Yes I help clients to discover if the pain they have expresses something in their lives that needs addressing.  Often physical pain can have an emotional or stress-induced cause which results in a seemingly 'random' relapse of pain until you take the time to look deeper into why the pain is occurring.  Once we establish what may be related to their pain I help them access resources to deal with underlying issues and beliefs associated with thier discomfort.

KT:  Do you think stress contributes to physical pain?

DA:  Enormously.  More than most people think.  The slightest change in the nervous system can change your breathing and the way your brain and mind functions.  It is a cascading affect - one system will affect the next system which affects the next and somewhere in that chain is the musculoskeletal system.  I believe the body is a very subtle and sensitive machine.  When any stimulus comes our way we take a conscious decision on how to deal with it.  Sophrology gives you tools to deal with your reactions to stress and stimulus that result in a better outcome for your body and mind to minimise the chances of it affecting you physically.

KT:  How often would you advise practicing Sophrology?

DA:  If everyone in the world did 5 minutes of Sophrology the world would be a much better place!  We would all have more freedom in our lives, in our thoughts, we would make better decisions, and be happier.  For use as a therapy I would advise 3 times per week for 15 mins.  If you practice the technique more, you'll experience more of the benefits!

KT:  How long does it take to learn Sophrology?

DA:  I teach people the basic techniques in 4-5 sessions.  You could do less than this and have it serve as a one off source of relaxation but to really achieve changes that you can keep benefiting from it is worth investing the time for 4-5 sessions.

KT:  How do I learn Sophrology?

DA:  The best way to learn is from a practitioner.  It helps to have a voice guiding you through the practice until you become more familiar with it.  I allow my clients to record their sessions so they can practice alone as well.

KT:  How long do the benefits of practicing last?

DA:  The more you do the longer the affects last.  My clients say the affects can last for 1 day and up to 5 days.  The response is individual.  If you are able to get into a regular daily practice the results are ongoing.  I recommend practicing 10 minutes a day for 7 days in a row to experience changes.

KT:  What are the limits of Sophrology?

DA:  Although Sophrology incorporates gentle relaxation movements the technique does not align, stabilise or strengthen areas of weakness or poor posture that may be contributing to physical pain.  Sophrology is not analytical so for work on a deep rooted emotional trauma I would refer on to a psychologist.  The technique also does not include any touch based therapy so if you have a blocked rib or a mal-aligned neck or spine I would recommend out to a manual therapist.  Sophrology is exceptionally compatible with all therapies though and can serve as a daily tonic - a way of being present, calm and quiet.  In my practice it has worked well as part of the healing and recovery of more serious illnesses, injuries and conditions.

KT:  What is the essence of Sophrology?

DA:  It is to improve the connection of mind and body and to be present often what I refer to as connecting with yourself.

KT:  Can you share a simple technique that people can use now?

DA:  One of the basic techniques we use in Sophrology is to slow the exhalation part of breathing.  This helps to bring the body into a state of relaxation. Inhale for 3 counts then exhale for 5-7 counts.  Repeat this breathing a few times in a conscious way and then try to maintain it for 2 minutes to start feeling a change.

KT:  Where can I learn Sophrology?

DA:  I teach BeSophro classes at 58 South Molton St, Mayfair, London.  I see clients for private sessions and in groups.  My next introductory session is and costs just £10.  It is a chance to try Sophrology to see if it a technique that would work well for you and your life.  I have a taster session BeSophro Taster on 12th February 2014 and my next Short course begins on January 15th 2014.

For more information on BeSophro classes with Dominique please visit www.besophro.co.uk.  Contact 07527 587 177 and info@besophro.co.uk.