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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 4 year follow up trial reported by Patel, Marmot, Terry, Carutthers, Hunt & Patel (1985) in the British Medical Journal has shown Autogenic Training to be effective in reducing the risk of heart attack. A more recent randomised clinical trial byKanji, Ernst & White (2004) on the impact of AT on coronary angioplasty patients, reported in the American Heart Journal. found that anxiety was reduced after the surgery for patients who has learned AT.

Kermani’s 1987 study of 50 people with AIDS, ARC, or PGL in the Journal of Holistic Medicine looked at the impact of AT on stress and emotions.  Kermani showed that AT helped patients 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 HIV positive people had an average survival time of 18 months greater than those reported elsewhere.

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

Conditions that have responded favourably include migraine, arthritis, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and high blood pressure. In concert with their GPs and consultants, some diabetics have halved the amount of insulin they take after regular use of AT, and in many cases other forms of medication have also been reduced.

This Table sets out specific applications for AT.  Check the Research for studies relating to these applications.

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