A new dimension – Vegetative training

Paradigm Shift in Sports and Medicine – An Example – Vegetative training

Der Standard. Austria 18.12.2018, Steffen Arora -English Version. 

– This helps people with pain.

Lie on your back, bend your legs and breathe. In fact, it’s not much more what the Norwegian Inge Jarl Clausen does with his clients. But they swear on him and his method. The Norwegian offers a so-called vegetative training, which goes back to the teachings of body-oriented psychotherapy of the Austrian Wilhelm Reich. Reich is anything but undisputed. The former Freud colleague founded vegetotherapy in the 1920s as a further development of psychoanalysis. Instead of focusing only on the psychic dimension of man, vegetotherapy involves the body. (The Vegetative system) For Reich, the physical aspects played an important role in suppressing feelings and biological vitality.

Clausen uses his training there. He learned the method in Norway, where Reich had fled the Nazis in the 1930s before emigrating to the United States. That was before his pseudo-scientific energy research, which ultimately cost him his credibility and freedom. Reich died in 1957 in US custody, his writings and equipment were burned or destroyed under the supervision of the federal authorities. Under this inglorious end, the credibility of Reich’s earlier work, such as vegetotherapy, suffers to this day.

Doubts that do not bother Clausen and his clients . He works mainly with top athletes. In this case, only results count. And they speak for the method, as Clausen’s clients confirm. Better Regeneration was one the Mexican Ultraman World Champion of the year 2016, Iñaki de la Parra. “I met Clausen about three years ago, when I was in a depression due to injury” says the athlete. At the time, he was looking for a way to restore and increase his physical performance.

“In the beginning, I did not really understand what he was doing” says de la Parra. However, after completing several sessions with the Norwegian, he suddenly noticed strong improvements in terms of recovering from intense workouts, and psychologically, the method helped him a lot to get out of the injury-related depressions. “In 2016, I worked very intensively with Clausen and was able to win the world championship title that season. I couldn’t have done it alone, that’s for certain, but it was an important component on the way to success”, the Mexican is convinced. The effects in HRV-controlled training were measurable. HRV refers to the ability of the organism to influence the heart rhythm.


Endurance athletes in top-class sports really rely on it. The list of satisfied clients of the Norwegian is long. Football clubs such as Manchester City FC, Everton FC – defender Séamus Coleman, whom Clausen claims to have been one of the premier defenders of the Premier League after a long injury break – rely on him as well as professional cyclists Jakob Fuglsang and Daniel Martin. But also table tennis professional Vladimir Samsonov swears by the training of the Norwegian.

Breathe and relax

Sports scientist Dr. Gerhard Zallinger, who is part of the support staff of the ÖFB national team, has learned the method from Clausen in recent years. He is convinced of the results. “For me it was a door opener to a new world.”

Zallinger today almost exclusively relies on vegetative training, which assumes that experienced traumas manifest not only mentally, but also physically. Using breathing and relaxation techniques, he encourages his clients to solve them by themselves.

This ultimately increases the well-being and thus the performance of the athletes. Zallinger has achieved good results with the method, he says, especially for pain and chronic pain as well as injuries. The application varies from client to client: “Because it depends on the particular history of the people.” However, the principle is always the same: “The regulation comes from inside and not from someone who heals me from the outside.” While classical medicine does not take into account the meaning of “experience”, it plays a very important role in vegetative training.


Christian and Gaby Bartuska confirm that the approach sketched out by Clausen and Zallinger makes sense from their point of view. The two psychotherapists have been practicing body-oriented psychotherapy for some 40 years and are regarded as experts in the field. They do not know the training methods of Clausen and Zallinger, but in principle, the goal of body psychotherapy is to lead to self-healing.

And they urge caution: “It’s a very, very effective technique. Therefore, as a therapist, you have to know where the limits are.” Method and side effect: Because wrongly applied body psychotherapy and especially vegeto therapy can lead to retraumatisation or even psychotic states. In the case of elite athletes, this risk is lower, according to the experts, as they would have usually developed an awareness of their physical and mental limitations.

However, they strongly advise that such training be carried out only on “mentally intact” clients.

In Austria, body psychotherapy is not yet recognized as a method. While psychotherapy has been regulated by its own law since 1991, therapists such as Bartuskas have been working with colleagues for many years, to seek recognition for the body-oriented variant. It is important to pay attention to the application to reputable providers. 

Is not yet recognized as a method in Austria but many many other countires. While psychotherapy has been regulated by its own law since 1991, therapists such as Bartuskas have been working with colleagues for many years, to seek recognition for the body-oriented variant. It is important to pay attention to the application to reputable providers.

More info here: https://vegetativetraining.wordpress.com/2016/04/01/what-is-vegetative-training/