Bringing together various inspirations from Western and Eastern practices, sophrology has been the subject of several scientific studies in France. Its benefits would be rather numerous, especially with regard to the management of stress and anxiety.
“Sophrology is a psychocorporal method used as a therapeutic technique or experienced as a philosophy of life […]. An exclusively verbal and non-tactile method, sophrology uses a set of techniques that will act both on the body and on the mind » , can we read in a publication of the Chambre syndicale de la sophrologie.
From the Greek sôs (“harmony”) and phren (“spirit”), the term sophrology designates a discipline created in 1960 by Colombian neuropsychiatrist Alfonso Caycedo. Various Western and Eastern practices inspire it. Examples include hypnosis, yoga, Zen meditation, Tibetan meditation, phenomenology and Edmund Jacobs' progressive relaxation.
Sophrology is practiced in groups or individually. This combines deep breathing exercises, muscle relaxation and mental imagery (visualization). The goal? Focus attention on the body and become aware of its inner world. It is about a harmonization of consciousness aimed at relaxation, letting go and strengthening the self-image.
In France and around the world, scientific studies on sophrology are not so numerous. However, some tend to provide evidence of its benefits. In 2000, a study published by the Sleep Center of the Hôtel-Dieu hospital in Paris (PDF in French / 2 pages) showed that sophrology improves the quality of sleep. Other research conducted by the Continuing Care Center (CESCO) in Collonge-Bellerive in 2004 observed better management of stress and anxiety , particularly in supporting end-of-life patients.
In 2009, a study by the Anesthesia-Resuscitation Center of the Hôtel-Dieu Hospital showed a significant reduction in respiratory discomfort and pain in patients with acute respiratory failure. During the study, a sophrology session was performed during the first half hour of mechanical ventilation. More recently, a study published in the journal European Annals of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Diseases in May 2020 also evokes sophrology. Through its research, the Sophrology and Tinnitus Center of Paris has validated the effectiveness of sophrology in the treatment of subjective tinnitus . However, these still represent 95% of tinnitus in our country.
Finally, sophrology could have positive effects on the treatment of certain obsessive disorders. This could also be the case for certain addictions such as alcoholism and smoking. However, large-scale studies are lacking to fully validate its effectiveness in these areas.