Autogenic training is a relaxation technique developed by the German psychiatrist Johannes Heinrich Schultz and first published in 1932. The technique involves the daily practice of sessions that last around 15 minutes, usually in the morning, at lunch time, and in the evening. During each session, the practitioner will repeat a set of visualisations that induce a state of relaxation.
Each session can be practiced in a position chosen amongst a set of recommended postures (for example, lying down, sitting meditation, sitting like a rag doll). The technique can be used to alleviate many stress-induced psychosomatic disorders.
Schultz emphasized parallels to techniques in Yoga and Meditation. It is a method for influencing one's autonomic nervous system. Abbe Faria and Emile Coue are the forerunners of Schultz. There are many parallels to progressive relaxation.
In 1963 Luthe discovered the significance of "autogenic discharges", paroxistic phenomena of motor, sensorial, visual and emotional nature related to the traumatic history of the patient, and developed the method of "Autogenic Abreaction". His disciple Luis de Rivera, a McGill trained psychiatrist, introduced psychodynamic concepts into Luthe's approach, developing "Autogenic Analysis" as a new method for uncovering the unconscious.
Herbert Benson, MD, a Harvard professor also did significant research in the area. He called it the Relaxation Response and wrote an influential book with that same title.