Research and Evidence about Sophrology
Sophrology is a method created by neuropsychiatrist Alfonse Caycedo in the 60s to improve his psychiatric patients’ well-being,. A few decades later, it has left the psychiatric wards to be widely available to people of all ages and walks of life, with various implementations from mindset coaching (e.g. preparing for an exam) to health complementary therapy for pregnant women or for patients dealing with e.g. cancer, asthma, stress and anxiety, tinnitus, depression, burnout, ADHD, or long COVID, and health conditions where stress is a major trigger, e.g. Parkinsons disease or fibromyalgia.
Sophrology is a well-known method to harmonise and find balance in the body-mind connection. It is used in many European countries such as e.g. France, Spain, Switzerland, or Belgium in various settings such as hospitals, care homes, pain centers, birth centers, care homes, sport training, schools and companies, to alleviate stress and tensions, relieve pain, and strengthen the mind for an improved sense of well-being. There are various currents within sophrology, including the behavioural-cognitive approach I practice, which includes a component of actions to do/ lifestyle coaching between sessions.
In France, Sophrology is reimbursed by the national healthcare system for birth, and many complementary health insurances reimburse sophrology sessions.
There’s growing scientific evidence on the effectiveness of Sophrology as a holistic practice. The modalities used within this structured method are also supported by research as effective ways of promoting an increased sense of body and mind well-being. Neurosciences have also shown their positive effect on the nervous system to reach homeostasis (balancing the nervous system). As part of the practice of sophrology you will get to experience mindfulness, breathing techniques, body and mind relaxation techniques (e.g. Jacobson, Schultz), gentle therapeutic movement inspired from yoga, guided imagery/visualisations, meditation, and self-conditioning techniques (e.g. NLP, anchoring, hypnotherapy, systematic desensitization).
This page covers the following topics:
Sophrology and chemotherapy: “Sophrological techniques help patients to find calm, lessen their fears and offer them the opportunity to work on themselves through simple easily reproducible exercises. This observation has been verified by a study carried out at the Institut Curie with patients undergoing chemotherapy.”
Leading Research Institute Marie Curie in France offers sophrology to their encology patients: https://institut-curie.org/page/sophrology
Effectiveness of Body Relaxation, Breathing and Visualisation on Stress: Significant effectiveness of three commonly used approaches used in Sophrology—Progressive Muscle Relaxation, deep breathing, and guided imagery—for stress relaxation, which confirms past research indicating their benefits for promoting both psychological and physiological states of relaxation and offering a head-to-head comparison of stress-reduction strategies.
Sophrology for Hospital Staff’s Well-being: “Stress at work and psychosocial risks are a major public health problem. Sophrology and neurolinguistic programming (NLP) have demonstrated benefits in terms of mental, physical and social health, both in the general population and in patients, and both in and out of hospital settings.“
Sophrology for Depression and anxiety in the workplace:
Sophrology for Stress and Anxiety: https://www.healthline.com/health/sophrology#research
Sophrology for Depression and High anxiety:
Sophrology reduces Pain and Anxiety in Geriatrics: “Sophrology is a non medication-based method which involves both the body and mind. It combines relaxing the muscles, increasing awareness of breathing and positive thinking, and leads to the search for improved well-being through the integration of the body percept. It generates a feeling of "letting go" and helps to relieve physical, psychological and spiritual suffering, in particular in geriatrics.”
Relaxation techniques and pregnancy: “The results of the study demonstrated significant benefits from the use of the techniques in the psychological state of the pregnant women. The systematic implementation of the proposed relaxation techniques contributed in the reduction of perceived stress and increased the sense of control.”
Effect of sophrology on perinatal stress monitored by stress marker biopyrrin (BPn): “Significant decrease of BPn in sophrology-assisted delivery suggests that the technique should be useful for the relief of perinatal stress.”
Sophrology reduced intrusiveness, First assessment of sophrology for the treatment of subjective tinnitus https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1879729620300831
A pilot study at Hospital Simone Veil (France), Rehabilitation Unit for patients with long COVID, finds that patients with long COVID have a decreased heart rate, blood pressure and better oxygen blood saturation after sophrology sessions, as well as an improved mental and emotional well-being helping with the rehabilitation process: https://sofrexpert.com/wp-content/uploads/etude-de-cas-sofrexpert-0521.pdf
In luxembourg, Sophrology is medically prescribed as part of rehabilitation for patients with long COVID: https://covid19.public.lu/fr/blog/quotidien/long-covid.html
Sophrology for patients in Respiratory Failure - decreases breathing discomfort, pain, and lower blood pressure: Impact de la sophrologie sur la tolérance des séances de ventilation non invasive chez des patients en insuffisance respiratoire aiguë. Elsevier Masson https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0750765809000392#!
Asthma in children: Sophrology appears as a promising adjuvant therapy to current guideline-based treatment for asthma in children:
Sophrology for Hemodialyse to calm pain, heart rate, and discomfort:
In teenagers and young adults with a congenital heart disease: “The use of non-invasive mind-body therapies, such as Sophrology, is of great interest in young patients with CHD, who may have suffered from anxiety, pain, and psychological stress . From a general perspective, medical progress has been associated with an increasing use of invasive and anxiety-inducing procedures. Moreover, medical sub-specialities mostly focus on a single patient’s organ. In the current era, patients and their families call for more integrated health using comprehensive care . A growing body of evidence supports the effectiveness and safety of mind-body therapies in young patients , . Finally, we may expect such non-invasive adjuvant therapies to reinforce the patient-physician bond.”
Use of relaxation techniques and complementary and alternative medicine by American adults with insomnia symptoms: results from a national survey. Bertisch SM, Wells RE, Smith MT, McCarthy EP. J Clin Sleep Med. 2012 Dec 15;8(6):681-91.
Insomnia: Relaxation techniques and sleeping habits Created: August 18, 2008; Last Update: March 9, 2017; Next update: 2020. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279320/
Sophrology reduces pain in Fibromyalgia:
Stress Management is effective for Multiple-Sclerosis: In patients in the intervention group, perceived stress and symptoms of depression were significantly decreased after 8 weeks of relaxation.
Sophrology is offered within France Parkinson organisation as a method to improve the patients' sense of physical and mental well-being: https://www.franceparkinson.fr/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/La-sophrologie-presentee-au-Patients.pdf
Use of Systematic Desensitization: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/psychology/systematic-desensitization
Guided imagery (aka visualisation): https://www.rbht.nhs.uk/our-services/clinical_support/rehabilitation-and-therapies/psychological-medicine/relaxation-exercises