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Audio-Visual and Autogenic Relaxation Alter Amplitude of Alpha EEG Band, Causing Improvements in Mental Work Performance in Athletes

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Abstract

The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of regular audio-visual relaxation combined with Schultz’s autogenic training on: (1) the results of behavioral tests that evaluate work performance during burdensome cognitive tasks (Kraepelin test), (2) changes in classical EEG alpha frequency band, neocortex (frontal, temporal, occipital, parietal), hemisphere (left, right) versus condition (only relaxation 7–12 Hz). Both experimental (EG) and age-and skill-matched control group (CG) consisted of eighteen athletes (ten males and eight females). After 7-month training EG demonstrated changes in the amplitude of mean electrical activity of the EEG alpha bend at rest and an improvement was significantly changing and an improvement in almost all components of Kraepelin test. The same examined variables in CG were unchanged following the period without the intervention. Summing up, combining audio-visual relaxation with autogenic training significantly improves athlete’s ability to perform a prolonged mental effort. These changes are accompanied by greater amplitude of waves in alpha band in the state of relax. The results suggest usefulness of relaxation techniques during performance of mentally difficult sports tasks (sports based on speed and stamina, sports games, combat sports) and during relax of athletes.

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Acknowledgments

This scientific study is financed from budgetary funds on science in 2011–2014 as a research Grant No. NRSA1 000751.

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Correspondence to Mirosław Mikicin.

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Mikicin, M., Kowalczyk, M. Audio-Visual and Autogenic Relaxation Alter Amplitude of Alpha EEG Band, Causing Improvements in Mental Work Performance in Athletes. Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback 40, 219–227 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10484-015-9290-0

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