Welcome to Living Well with MS, where we are pleased to welcome Audrey Zannese as our guest! Audrey is a mindfulness expert living with MS and specialises in the relaxation method, sophrology. This practice has helped her to live well with MS. She talks to Geoff about her MS journey, what sophrology is and the research behind it. At the end of the episode, Audrey gives a guided sophrology practice.
Watch this episode on YouTube here. Keep reading for the key episode takeaways.
Topics and Timestamps
01:19 Audrey’s MS journey.
05:25 Managing stress.
08:19 The origins of sophrology.
11:22 The aims and benefits of sophrology.
14:00 Audrey’s switch from research scientist to sophrologist.
18:43 The research into the positive effects of sophrology.
22:25 Guided sophrology practice.
Selected Key Takeaways
Sophrology is a stress-reduction technique.
06:14 “Sophrology is a uniquely structured mind-body practice that combines both Western relaxation methods and Eastern meditative practices. It can be used for personal development, enhancing performance, but also for improving health and well-being. It includes a variety of exercises that are accessible and easy to incorporate into your daily life. There are gentle body movements, breathing exercises [and] aspects of mindfulness and meditation.”
The aims and benefits of sophrology practice.
11:22 “The aim of sophrology is to help you reconnect with yourself. Self-awareness of how you're feeling inside helps you build the capacity to regulate your internal state but also builds the capacity as you would find in mindfulness and meditation of acceptance and letting go when things cannot be changed. Through this work, as it is repetitive and very much a practice, you get to a place where you are feeling balanced in terms of your mind, body, and emotions.”
Sophrology is a big part of how Audrey lives well with MS.
15:04 “I remember one day I came out of my flat, and I was so happy to be alive. I didn't feel [my] MS anymore. I wasn't scared, I knew I had everything in me to live my best life, in a way I had never been [able to] before when I was healthy. When I look back, I look with compassion, but I realise that through this journey, what it was to be happy.”
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More info and links:
- Visit the Step into Sophrology website
- The Sophrology Academy website
- Essential Guide to Tap into The Power of the Mind-Body Connection
- New to Overcoming MS? Visit our introductory page
- Connect with others following Overcoming MS on the Live Well Hub
- Visit the Overcoming MS website
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Audrey Zannese is an anxiety and pain management expert and founder of ‘Step into Sophrology’, which helps people living with chronic illness, anxiety, pain and fatigue to take back control of their body and health so that they can live their lives the way they want.
She does this by teaching them a uniquely structured mind-body practice called sophrology which was recommended to her by a French neurologist when she started her treatment for MS. Combining Western relaxation with Eastern meditative techniques, it consists of gentle body movements, breathing exercises and positive visualisations. Exercises are particularly accessible and easy to incorporate in busy daily life.
Audrey is also the education director at the Sophrology Academy, which is the UK’s school for training sophrology practitioners. Audrey is passionate about raising awareness of sophrology so that it can be recommended by healthcare professionals.