Abstract and key points
- Autogenic therapy refers to a particular technique of mental exercises involving relaxation and autosuggestion, which aims to teach individuals to switch off the fight/flight/fight stress response at will.
- Based on three controlled and one uncontrolled clinical trial, it is not possible to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of autogenic therapy for people with cancer.
- Autogenic therapy has a good safety record.
Autogenic therapy refers to a particular technique of mental exercises involving relaxation and autosuggestion, which aims to teach individuals to switch off the fight/flight/fight stress response at will.
Reduced state anxiety, pain, depressed mood symptoms, improved sleep parameters, improved immune function and generic quality of life have been reported in patients who participated in autogenic therapy following cancer treatment. Due to the low number of published trials (three controlled and one uncontrolled clinical trial), it is, however, not possible to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of autogenic therapy for people with cancer.
It is not possible to test the efficacy of autogenic training, due to the difficulty in creating appropriate and credible placebo conditions.
Autogenic therapy has a good safety record.
CitationHelen Cooke, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Autogenic therapy [online document]. http://cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries/Mind-body-interventions/Autogenic-therapy. February 8, 2017.
Assessed as up to date in February 2017 by Barbara Wider.
Updated and revised in May 2015 by Helen Cooke.
Assessed as up to date in August 2013 by Barbara Wider.
Revised in June 2012 by Helen Cooke, no new clinical trials identified.
Summary first published in August 2011, authored by Helen Cooke.
- Ernst E, Kanji N. Autogenic training for stress and anxiety: A systematic review. Complement Ther Med 2000; 8(2): 106-110.
- Payne, R and Donaghy, M. Fourth Edition. Payne’s Handbook of Relaxation Techniques: a practical guide for the health care professional. London: Churchill Livingstone, Elsevier, 2010.
- Hudacek KD. A review of the effects of hypnosis on the immune system in breast cancer patients: a brief communication. Int J Clin Exp Hypn 2007; 55(4):411-25.
- British Autogenic Society website. www.autogenic-therapy.org.uk [accessed 8th February 2017].
- Hidderley M, Holt M. A pilot randomized trial assessing the effects of autogenic training in early stage cancer patients in relation to psychological status and immune system responses. Eur J Oncol Nurs 2004; 8(1): 61-5.
- Kanji N. Management of pain through autogenic training. Complement Ther Nurs Midwifery 2000; 6(3): 143-8.
- Gansler T, Kaw C, Crammer C, Smith T. A population-based study of prevalence of complementary methods use by cancer survivors: a report from the American Cancer Society's studies of cancer survivors. Cancer 2008; 113(5): 1048-57.
- Simeit R, Deck R and Conta-Marx B. Sleep management training for cancer patients with insomnia. Supp Care Cancer 2004; (3): 176-83.
- Wright S, Courtney, U, Crowther, D A quantitative and qualitative pilot study for the perceived benefits of autogenic training for a group of people with cancer. Eur J Cancer Care 2002; 11(2): 122-130.
- Ernst E, Pittler M, Wider B and Boddy K. Oxford Handbook of Complementary Medicine. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.
- Minowa C, Koitabashi K. The effect of autogenic training on salivary immunoglobulin A in surgical patients with breast cancer: a randomized pilot trial. Complement Ther Clin Pract 2014; 20(4): 193-6.
The present documentation has been compiled by the CAM-CANCER Project with all due care and expert knowledge. However, the CAM-CANCER Project provides no assurance, guarantee or promise with regard to the correctness, accuracy, up-to-date status or completeness of the information it contains. This information is designed for health professionals. Readers are strongly advised to discuss the information with their physician. Accordingly, the CAM-CANCER Project shall not be liable for damage or loss caused because anyone relies on the information.