Relaxation, Sophrology & Science

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 & Cancer

Sophrology is offered at Leeds Hospital for emotional support

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.”

Barré C, Falcou MC, Mosseri V, Carrié S, Dolbeault S. Sophrology for patients in oncology. Soins. 2015 Nov;(800):17-20. French. doi: 10.1016/j.soin.2015.09.016. PMID: 26567064.

Bertrand AS, Iannessi A, Buteau S, Jiang XY, Beaumont H, Grondin B, Baudin G. Effects of relaxing therapies on patient's pain during percutaneous interventional radiology procedures. Ann Palliat Med. 2018 Oct;7(4):455-462. doi: 10.21037/apm.2018.07.02. Epub 2018 Jul 20. PMID: 30180736.

Leading Research Institute Marie Curie in France offers sophrology to their encology patients:

Stress & Well-Being

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.

Toussaint L, Nguyen QA, Roettger C, Dixon K, Offenbächer M, Kohls N, Hirsch J, Sirois F. Effectiveness of Progressive Muscle Relaxation, Deep Breathing, and Guided Imagery in Promoting Psychological and Physiological States of Relaxation. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2021 Jul 2;2021:5924040. doi: 10.1155/2021/5924040. PMID: 34306146; PMCID: PMC8272667.

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.“

Dutheil F, Parreira LM, Pereira B, Baldet M, Marson F, Chabaud C, Blot M, Baker JS, Zak M, Vallet G, Magnon V, Clinchamps M, Altun S. Sophrology Intervention to Improve WELL-Being in Hospital Staff (SO-WELL): Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial Study. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2023 Jan 9;20(2):1185. doi: 10.3390/ijerph20021185. PMID: 36673939; PMCID: PMC9859524.

Sophrology for Depression and anxiety in the workplace:

Van Rangelrooij Koen, Caycedo Desprez Natalia, Fernández-García María-José et al., "Efficacité de la gestion du stress par la Sophrologie Caycédienne sur les symptômes d’anxiété et de dépression chez les employés : une étude prospective semi-contrôlée", Hegel, 2022/4 (N° 4), p. 334-346. DOI : 10.3917/heg.124.0334.

Sophrology for Stress and Anxiety:

Sophrology for Depression and High anxiety:

van Rangelrooij K, Solans-Buxeda R, Fernández-García M, Caycedo-Desprez N, Selvam R, Bulbena A. Effectiveness of a 4-week sophrology program for primary care patients with moderate to high anxiety levels: a randomised controlled trial. Actas Esp Psiquiatr. 2020 Sep;48(5):200-208. Epub 2020 Sep 1. PMID: 33210278. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih

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.”

Tocheport P. La sophrologie en gériatrie, une approche innovante pour diminuer la douleur et i'anxiété Sophrology in geriatrics, an innovative approach to reducing pain and anxiety. Soins. 2012 Mar;(763):16-20. French. PMID: 22533280.

Relaxation and Sophrology for Pregnancy and Childbirth

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.”

Tragea C, Chrousos GP, Alexopoulos EC, Darviri C. A randomized controlled trial of the effects of a stress management programme during pregnancy. Complement Ther Med. 2014 Apr;22(2):203-11. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2014.01.006. Epub 2014 Jan 30. PMID: 24731890.

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.”

Michiko Suzuki, Seiji Isonishi, Osamu Morimoto, Masahisa Ogawa, Kazuhiko Ochiai

SLK Triple Therapy Improves Maternal and Fetal Status and Promotes Postpartum Pelvic Floor Function in Chinese Primiparous Women Dan Liu, Wan-Liang Hu DOI: 10.12659/MSM.917330 Med Sci Monit 2019; 25:8913-8919

Marine Garnier-Petit. La préparation à la naissance et à la parentalité sophrologique à travers le vécu des femmes : étude qualitative phénoménologique dans une maternité de type III. Médecine humaine et pathologie. 2017. dumas-01828964

Sophrology and Tinnitus

Sophrology reduced intrusiveness, First assessment of sophrology for the treatment of subjective tinnitus


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:

In luxembourg, Sophrology is medically prescribed as part of rehabilitation for patients with long COVID:

Respiratory Ill-health

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!

Asthma in children: Sophrology appears as a promising adjuvant therapy to current guideline-based treatment for asthma in children:

Romieu H, Charbonnier F, Janka D, Douillard A, Macioce V, Lavastre K, Abassi H, Renoux MC, Mura T, Amedro P. Efficiency of physiotherapy with Caycedian Sophrology on children with asthma: A randomized controlled trial. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2018 May;53(5):559-566. doi: 10.1002/ppul.23982. Epub 2018 Mar 1. PMID: 29493875. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih


Sophrology for Hemodialyse to calm pain, heart rate, and discomfort:

C. Borni-Duval, J.M. Schlupp, Pertinence de la sophrologie en hémodialyse, Néphrologie & Thérapeutique, Volume 14, Issue 5,2018,Page 314,ISSN 1769-7255,

Sophrology and Cardiopulmonary fitness

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 [42]. 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 [43]. A growing body of evidence supports the effectiveness and safety of mind-body therapies in young patients [19], [44]. Finally, we may expect such non-invasive adjuvant therapies to reinforce the patient-physician bond.”

Moreau J, Lavastre K, Romieu H, Charbonnier F, Guillaumont S, Bredy C, Abassi H, Werner O, De La Villeon G, Requirand A, Auer A, Matecki S, Karsenty C, Guitarte A, Hadeed K, Dulac Y, Souletie N, Acar P, Bajolle F, Bonnet D, Negre-Pages L, Mura T, Mounier M, Seguela PE, Thomas J, Iriart X, Jean-Benoit-Thambo, Amedro P. Impact of Sophrology on cardiopulmonary fitness in teenagers and young adults with a congenital heart disease: The SOPHROCARE study rationale, design and methods. Int J Cardiol Heart Vasc. 2020 Mar 3;27:100489. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcha.2020.100489. PMID: 32154361; PMCID: PMC7057190.


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.


Sophrology reduces pain in Fibromyalgia:

Silva HJA, Assunção Júnior JC, de Oliveira FS, Oliveira JMP, Figueiredo Dantas GA, Lins CAA, de Souza MC. Sophrology versus resistance training for treatment of women with fibromyalgia: A randomized controlled trial. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2019 Apr;23(2):382-389. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2018.02.005. Epub 2018 Feb 12. PMID: 31103124. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.

Multiple Sclerosis

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.

Artemiadis AK, Vervainioti AA, Alexopoulos EC, Rombos A, Anagnostouli MC, Darviri C. Stress management and multiple sclerosis: a randomized controlled trial. Arch Clin Neuropsychol. 2012 Jun;27(4):406-16. doi: 10.1093/arclin/acs039. Epub 2012 Apr 3. PMID: 22491729.

Parkinsons Disease

Sophrology is offered within France Parkinson organisation as a method to improve the patients' sense of physical and mental well-being:


Use of Systematic Desensitization:

From the NHS


Guided imagery (aka visualisation):



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