Written by Helen Cooke and the CAM-Cancer Consortium.
Updated February 8, 2017

Autogenic therapy

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.

Citation

Helen Cooke, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Autogenic therapy [online document]. http://cam-cancer.org/The-Summaries/Mind-body-interventions/Autogenic-therapy. February 8, 2017.

Document history

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.

References

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