Q & A
What is Creative Relaxation?
Creative Relaxation is a technique for integrating relaxation into daily life. It teaches us how to relax our body and calm our mind and achieve a state where we are physically relaxed but mentally more alert. In this state, we can use our imagination in a creative and conscious way for our own benefit, which makes it easier to imagine and implement more positive outcomes to any situation.
Creative Relaxation was developed some 40 years ago by Dr. Eugenio Herrero Lozano,a Spanish psychiatrist, in order to give his patients a sense of control over their own well-being. Following strong interest from fellow practitioners and medical colleagues Dr. Herrero Lozano published the “Training in Creative Relaxation” book (in Spanish) in 1987. Today CR is widely used in Spain by doctors therapists and members of the public. It is also used by Madrid City Council employees, as part of the Council’s Public Health Programmes and by Madrid Metropolitan Police Force.
In the UK, the children’s educational charity, The Girasol Foundation, recognised the benefits of CR and began to promote the Training in Creative Relaxation in 2007 focusing on primary aged school teachers and children. Since then it has been piloted in over 50 primary schools in Redbridge, Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire and over 150 school staff and hundreds of children have been trained in the technique.
How is it used?
Creative Relaxation can provide a good foundation for any creative, therapeutic, educational or physical endeavour, and can help to make them more effective.
How long does it take to learn?
The introductory course for adults consists of 5 x 1.5 hour sessions spread over 5 weeks. Participants are asked to do daily practice at home to help develop their understanding of CR between sessions.
The training for children (aged 6+) consists of 6 consecutive sessions lasting 1 hour each
Once learned, 10 minutes practice a day is sufficient.
What’s different about it?
CR doesn’t require any props, tools or any special conditions to be practised. Indeed a key feature of CR is that you learn how to relax yourself rather than depend on someone or something else to relax you. With practice you can become self-reliant, establishing your own state of relaxation no matter what the situation. Whether on the tube, in the classroom or in an emergency, you will have a life skill that you can call on at any time.
There are some other important differences between Creative Relaxation and other relaxation techniques these are as follows:
Active: We do not rely on anyone else or anything else (such as CDs) to relax us, we learn how to actively relax ourselves.
Inductive: By learning the steps that our body naturally takes to relax, we can induce those steps using our mind, which then triggers relaxation in our body.
Internal: Everything takes place inside of us. No external set-up of any kind is needed. We can therefore practise the technique whenever and wherever we like.
Useful: Once acquired the technique can be used during our everyday lives, whether we are on the bus or in the office. The aim is to live permanently in a state of relaxation and apply this state to any activity we are undertaking.
Practice based: The technique relies on regular practice and is learned through practical experience, first in the training learned through practical experience, first in the training sessions and then in the context of your life.
What is the state of relaxation?
It is a different state from wakefulness and sleep. In the relaxed state our body is resting but our mind is more alert and we are able to be more detached from distracting mental and emotional concerns. In this state we use less energy and are more able to imagine and implement more positive outcomes to any situation.
What are the benefits of Creative Relaxation?
The benefits of Creative Relaxation can be felt physically, mentally and emotionally.Once learnt the technique puts you more in charge of your well-being by enabling you to relax on your own, anywhere at any time.
What are the benefits for Schools?
Creative Relaxation is suitable for pupils, teaching staff, governors and parents and as such can benefit the whole school community. It can be part of a staff well -being initiative as well as contributing to pupil well-being targets as set out in Every Child Matters or The Healthy Schools Programme.
Based on the feedback from pilot studies in UK primary schools:
- Creative Relaxation teaches children how to relax, raises self-awareness of body and mind and improves their self-image. It helps them to increase their cognitive and social skills and encourages them to develop their creativity to become more effective.
- Creative Relaxation will show teachers how to manage stress, increase their energy levels, improve their own sense of well-being and is a valuable tool to help them in the classroom
What research exists about Creative Relaxation?
Research carried out in Spain, over a 12 year period, measured the effects of Training in Creative Relaxation on adults using recognised psychological tests. The research was conducted by Dr. Julio Herrero Lozano -a psychiatrist and head of the Health Department of Madrid City Council, and Dr. Rachel Martin -a medical doctor and psychotherapist also employed by the same department. The research was conducted on Madrid City Council employees, members of the Madrid Metropolitan Police Force and also on members of the public who attended various of the Council’s Health Programmes. In all, 1,297 adults participated. The research concluded that participants who did the Training in Creative Relaxation experienced more than 50% reduction in both anxiety and depression and that the Training in Creative Relaxation can help to guard against the damaging consequences of stress-related conditions.
Further pilots have been carried out in the UK over the past 4 years mainly in primary schools with children.
On average surveys carried out before and after these trainings showed that levels of depression and anxiety measured in adults before and after the training were reduced by 50%.
See the pilots and research section of this website to read about the pilots and research carried out with UK schools.