What is Ortho-Bionomy?
Ortho-Bionomy is a gentle, non-invasive, osteopathically-based form of body therapy which is highly effective in working with chronic stress, injuries and pains or problems associated with postural and structural imbalances. The practitioner uses gentle movements and positions of the body to facilitate the change of stress and pain patterns. A strong focus is placed on the comfort of the individual, no forceful movements are used. The practitioner also suggests home exercises that individuals can do to further facilitate the neuromuscular re-education process begun in the session. Ortho-Bionomy is very effective in helping alleviate both acute and chronic pain and stress patterns by reducing chronic muscle tension, soothing the joints, increasing flexibility, improving circulation, and relaxing the entire body.
Ortho-Bionomy was developed by Dr. Arthur Lincoln Pauls, a British osteopath, who wanted to find a way to work with the body which honored the body's inherent wisdom. From his experience as a Judo instructor and through his training as an osteopath, he found ways of working with the body by exaggerating the body's preferred postures, thereby permitting the body's self-healing process to create greater balance and alignment. He discovered that by working WITH the body and not against it, the body could find balance on its own without having to use force to correct it. Dr. Pauls began teaching this work in the United States in 1976, and taught Ortho-Bionomy extensively throughout Europe.
The term "Ortho-Bionomy" comes from "ortho" meaning correct or straight, "bio" meaning life, and "nomy" meaning the laws of or study of. Dr. Pauls defined the term then as "the correct application of the laws of life." He stated "[Ortho-Bionomy] is really about understanding your whole life cycle. Naturally, we focus on the structure because that is the literal skeleton upon which our life is built. When your structure works right, your circulation works better, you feel better, you think better." (Kain and Berns, 1992)
What are the Benefits of Ortho-Bionomy?
Ortho-Bionomy helps people break the cycle of pain – without creating pain. It is very effective for recovering from injuries, surgery and stress. It aids the recovery by reducing muscle tension, soothing the joints, increasing flexibility and range of movement, improving circulation and relaxing the entire body.
Pain tends to ease with Ortho-Bionomy. Educational movements may be taught to help perpetuate the release of tension and muscle contractions. The release of tension and stress in the body brings about the relief from pain and discomfort. Function, structural alignment, balance and overall well-being improve. These benefits generally continue after the session is finished.
Sometimes the body’s natural ability to remain balanced is short-circuited by stress, injury, accident, improper posture, emotional experiences or by overtaxing the body’s limits. When the body is out of balance, it adapts as well as it can, but in the process it may create patterns of even greater stress. The simplicity of Ortho-Bionomy means the practitioner and client may work together to re-educate dysfunctional patterns and restore normal functioning.
Whether looking for relief from specific discomfort or a safe and effective way to ease stress and promote relaxation, Ortho-Bionomy can be very beneficial. And it can work in conjunction with other healing systems. It is not a substitute for appropriate medical care, nutrition or exercise.
What is an Ortho-Bionomy session like?
Typically, Ortho-Bionomy sessions last approximately an hour. Comfortable, loose fitting clothing is suggested to allow full range of motion. The practitioner works with you to identify areas of discomfort, tension and pain as well as areas of comfort and ease of movement. Gentle movements, comfortable positioning, brief compressions and subtle contacts are used. No forceful movements or pressures are used.
Every Ortho-Bionomy session is specifically designed around your individual needs. Your practitioner will rely on your verbal feedback to find the techniques which best facilitate your body’s return to natural alignment. Typically, the relief of stress and tension lasts for days or longer after a session.
Your practitioner may suggest self-care release techniques you can do at home. These self-care techniques further aid in relieving pain, restoring function, and rebalancing the body.
How does Ortho-Bionomy work?
Ortho-Bionomy stimulates the body's self-correcting and self-balancing reflexes by way of the proprioceptive reflexes located in our joints and muscles. The practitioner uses movement and gentle compression to find positions of comfort which allow the body to change the stress and pain patterns which are causing the discomfort.
Ortho-Bionomy helps people to break the cycle of pain. It works by stimulating appropriate reflexes that monitor the lengthening and contracting of our muscle system. This then allows the body to change the stress and pain patterns, which are causing the discomfort. Educational movements may be taught to help perpetuate the release of tension and muscle contractions. The release of tension and stress in the body brings about the relief from pain and discomfort.
Ortho-Bionomy also employs the homeopathic concept that what cannot be cured from within cannot be cured from without. Using gentle positioning and light touch, Ortho-Bionomy stimulates inner awareness to awaken within the individual a sense of natural balance and well-being, both physically and emotionally. The inner wisdom of the body is recognized and affirmed. Self healing occurs as the person remembers their natural ability to move away from pain and toward ease.
Where are Phases 1 through 7?
Phases 1 - 3 are the foundational concepts and observations that brought Dr. Pauls to the development of the art, mood, and principles that are Ortho-Bionomy.
||Unconscious movement while sleeping
||Conscious movement while sitting in a chair, Tai Chi, Yoga
||Periods during which Dr. Pauls observed the ability of people to self-correct, and his study of Dr. Jones work, Spontaneous Release by Positioning (Strain/Counter-Strain).
||Where Ortho-Bionomy Begins. A complete system of bodywork that combines gentle contact of tension points and
movement of the body, which initiate self-corrective reflexes. Specific movements and trigger
points are taught for muscular tension at each joint in the body from the first cervical region of
the neck to the toes. Included are techniques for the neck, back, shoulders, elbows, knees, hips,
hands and feet. Postural analysis and reeducation are emphasized.
||A refinement of Phase 4, an introduction of new methods which allow a greater
amount of expression and participation of the person’s innate reflexes. The practitioner
initiates the movements, but the person's own reflexes guide the movement, position, and
pressure for relief.
||Working with the body’s electromagnetic field. Aura Work which allows self-balancing processes to begin through an interaction of the practitioner’s and person's auras.
||The projection of a mental pattern which if the person accepts it, catalyzes self-correcting-reflexes which promote either specific postural changes or generalized well-being and integration.
Who is the Society of Ortho-Bionomy International®?
The Society of Ortho-Bionomy International was founded in 1984 and oversees the training of Practitioners and Instructors. The extensive professional training programs ensure that each of our Registered Practitioners and Registered Instructors has demonstrated the highest level of Ortho-Bionomy skills, professional competence and standards of practice. Ortho-Bionomy is taught and recognized worldwide for its simple, gentle and lasting effectiveness.
The Society also maintains this website and the registered trademarks for Ortho-Bionomy and the Sand Dollar design. These registered trademarks of the Society of Ortho-Bionomy International, Inc. are used with permission throughout the website.
Ortho-Bionomy: Right Alignment with the Natural Laws of Life
The Society of Ortho-Bionomy International, Inc. is a Nonprofit Mutual Benefit Corporation.
Ortho-Bionomy Article Archive
The following are published articles by several Ortho-Bionomy members.
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