Why sophrology is the new mindfulness
We have welcomed mindfulness so wholeheartedly into our collective consciousness that there are now more than 1,300 mindful apps. However, modern life dictates that when something reaches saturation point, it must be replaced by something new. So pause Headspace and allow us to introduce “sophrology”.
In Switzerland and France, sophrology is widely offered to students as a way to acquire life and stress-management skills. Celebrity fans include Arianna Huffington and French tennis player Stéphane Robert. The French rugby team reportedly used sophrology while training for the last World Cup.
The technique uses mental and physical exercises to achieve an alert mind in a relaxed body. It combines meditation and relaxation techniques with gentle movement and visualisation. Like mindfulness, it doesn’t require complex postures, lots of time or expensive kit. Dominique Antiglio is the founder of Besophro, which teaches the practice. She is releasing a book, The Lifechanging Power of Sophrology, in April. “If you’re feeling stressed, anxious, have difficulty sleeping or are burnt out, just one session of sophrology can help you feel calmer, more in control, relaxed and more able to let go,” she says. Sophrology was developed in Spain
in 1960 by neuropsychiatrist
Prof Alfonso Caycedo. He spent decades exploring yoga, Tibetan Buddhist meditation, hypnosis and Japanese Zen. Now, the trend is rapidly migrating to Britain. A recent study by Kent Business School found sophrology had a positive impact on employees’ physical and mental health, and more research is under way.
With so many of us living such frazzled lives, the global wellness industry is now worth £2.6tn. Sophrology looks likely to be the next buzzword answer to all our problems – until another solution comes along.