Sophrology seems to be a growing mindfulness practice in many parts of Europe. It is even making a start in the US.
Mindfulness practices are wonderful additions to our healthcare. Whether for prevention, balance, or even treatment these millennia-old practices still work. Sophrology is only a few decades old, by comparison, but has capture the minds (excuse the pun) of many. While purists may want to debate the superiority of long-standing practices like qi gong or yoga, we should embrace that more people are open to mindfulness practices.
What do many athletes and stressed-out schoolkids across Europe have in common? They’re all proponents of sophrology—the mind-body practice that is essentially a smorgasbord of mindfulness meditation, breath work, visualization, and body awareness techniques.
First created in the 1960s, sophrology has since picked up a devoted audience throughout Europe—specifically in France, Switzerland, Belgium, and most recently England. And (like every other wellness practice that has France’s stamp of approval) it’s inevitably starting to travel stateside. Here’s what you need to know about the healing practice.
“The words themselves mean ‘study of conscious harmony,'” Niamh Lyons, the founder of American Sophrology, explains of the word’s Greek roots. “It’s working the power of the mind to relax the body.”
Sophrology is the brainchild of Alfonso Caycedo, a professor of psychiatry and neurology. Fascinated by the power of the mind-body connection, Caycedo began traveling the world in the 1960s to find holistic strategies that could help war veterans get off of medication. “His idea was that they would have a source within themselves to deal with PTSD and mental anguish,” Lyons says.
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