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Clinical Applications Of AT

Dr. Malcolm Carruthers, who pioneered the use of AT in the UK, says, ‘It’s a bridge between alternative and conventional medicine… It has to be emphasised that this is not a superficial relaxation technique. It actually works at quite a deep level. It’s good medicine, but it’s powerful medicine and needs to be properly applied.’

A study by Dr Carruthers, Health promotion by mental and physical training, British Journal of Holistic Medicine, 1984: 1 (2: 142-147) has shown that regular use of AT has a significant effect in reducing the resting pulse rate and systolic and diastolic blood pressure, as well as cholesterol, triglyceride and free fatty acid levels. A long-term study (Carruthers M, Patel et al Trial of relaxation in reducing coronary risk: 4 year follow-up, BMJ, 290, 1985) has shown it to be effective in reducing the risk of heart attack.

Kermani’s study of HIV-infected individuals (Stress, emotions, autogenic training and AIDS) has shown that AT helped patients to control symptoms such as pain, night sweats, diarrhoea and weight loss. Users of AT also reported an improved quality of life and a more positive outlook. Kermani also reported that individuals had an average survival time of 18 months greater than those reported elsewhere.

Specific Applications
The table below describes some of the areas in which AT has been successfully applied.


Type of disorder Specific Applications
Cardiovascular Cardiac arrhythmias, ischaemic heart disease, angina, recovery from myocardial infarction, hypertension, disorders of peripheral circulation, blushing, cardioneurosis
Respiratory Asthma, hyperventilation syndrome, nervous cough, recurrent infections
Gastrointestinal Functional disorders of deglutition, food allergy, dyspepsia, peptic ulceration, irritable bowel syndrome, some biliary disorders, ulcerative colitis.
Genitourinary Bladder disorders, sexual dysfunction, pregnancy
Musculoskeletal Rheumatoid Arthritis, non-articular rheumatism, arthralgia, degenerative joint disease, low-back syndrome, pain-tension syndromes
Endocrine and metabolic Diabetes, thyroid disorders, some lipid disorders, some forms of infertility, premenstrual syndrome, auto-immune disorders (HIV and AIDS)
Neurological Headache, migraine, tremors, facial spasm, blepharospasm, neuralgias and phantom limb pains, brain injuries, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, Parkinsonism
Psychological Anxiety, phobic or free-floating anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, tranquilliser addiction, behavioural problems, panic disorder, stress syndrome, post traumatic stress disorder, unresolved grief, eating disorders, distress of chronic illness, some chronic fatigue states

* O’Moore, Harrison, Murphy & Carruthers, Psychosomatic aspects in idiopathic infertility: Effects of treatment with Autogenic Training, Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 27, p145-151, 1983
* M. Carruthers, Health promotion by mental and physical training, British Journal of Holistic medicine 1985; 1(2): p142-147
* K. S. Kermani, Stress, emotions, autogenic training and AIDS, British Journal of Holistic medicine 1987; 2: p203-215
* Dr Johannes Schultz & Dr Wolfgang Luthe, Autogenic Therapy Vols 1 – 6, Grune & Stratton, New York, 1969

For general problems, such as insomnia and free-floating anxiety, significant improvement can often occur within a few weeks. Clients can often be freed from reliance on tranquillisers and hypnotic drugs. More deep-seated problems may require more time and patience on behalf of client and therapist.

Conditions that have responded favourably include migraine, arthritis, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and high blood pressure. Some diabetics have halved the amount of insulin they take after regular use of AT, and in many cases other forms of medication can be reduced.