Ortho bionomy

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  • 1. JOURNAL OF ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE MEDICINE SYMBIOSIS 13 Spotlight on ESM Therapies The first in a series highlighting specific healing modalities within esm Ortho-Bionomy: The Homeopathy of Bodywork By Luann Overmyer Ortho-Bionomy is a gentle, effective acknowledges the relationship of the physical approach to somatic re-education that uses structure of the body (both osseous and comfortable positioning and relaxing move- somatic) to the self-healing potential of the ments to unlock tension, relieve pain, individual.2 promote structural balance, reduce stress A particular osteopathic treatment Luann Overmyer is a and increase personal awareness and well- procedure, known as positional release, was Nationally Certified Therapeutic being. Ortho-Bionomy incorporates a wide developed by Lawrence Jones, an American Bodyworker and a Registered spectrum of techniques ranging from osteopath. In 1964, Jones described in Senior Practitioner and hands-on contact to non-physical contact an article, “Spontaneous Release by Advanced Instructor with the with the client’s energy field to initiate Positioning,” that pain and tension could Society of Ortho-Bionomy, innate, self-corrective reflexes that remind be relieved in a few minutes by slowly and the body of its own natural ability to find carefully exaggerating an abnormal posture International. She teaches balance.1 so as to make the patient maximally Ortho-Bionomy seminars in the In a typical session the client, clothed comfortable. He found that muscle spasms United States and Australia, and and without shoes, lies on a table and iden- that had been holding the bones in an abnor- maintains a private practice in tifies any areas of discomfort; the practition- mal position would spontaneously relax with- Albany, California. Luann has er slowly moves the client into positions of out a forceful manipulation. developed techniques to address comfort that allow patterns of tension to Arthur Lincoln Pauls, a British carpal tunnel syndrome and release and to be replaced by a sense of osteopath, was inspired by Jones’ work to neuritis conditions of the arm well-being. Ortho-Bionomy addresses a dedicate himself to the principles of non- and is currently writing a book remarkable number of painful and debilitat- force corrective techniques. By 1976 Pauls ing physical and emotional conditions; it is had developed the Phased Reflex Techniques on Ortho-Bionomy self-care. taught and recognized worldwide for its of Ortho-Bionomy. These techniques encom- simple, gentle and lasting effectiveness. pass positional release and energetic tech- niques that enable the client to understand, Origin and History consciously experience and even participate in their own capacity to self-correct. The philosophical and scientific roots of Ortho-Bionomy lie in the field of In Conventional Health Care Osteopathy. This 100-year old system of health care recognizes the self-healing, self- Ortho-Bionomy’s primary benefits lie in regulating capacity of the body, and seeks to helping people to break the cycle of pain, to facilitate and augment the basic curative correct structural and somatic dysfunction, force inherent in the body. Osteopathy has and to release stress. This non-invasive, quick developed a system of treatment that acting approach is an effective preparation
  • 2. 14 SYMBIOSIS JOURNAL OF ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE MEDICINE for movement and therapeutic exercise. She adapts to the trauma and develops Ortho-Bionomy incorporates a re-education compensation patterns somewhat more process that includes isometric and isotonic limiting, perhaps painful, yet still functional. techniques, posture and gait training, aware- The practitioner, guided by the client’s pre- ness-based therapeutic exercise and posi- ferred posture and subtle movement, supports tional release as part of the client’s self-care and follows the movement patterns inherent in program. the tissue. This allows the client to self-correct Ortho-Bionomy facilitates the therapeu- her own structural faults, while at the same tic process. The body is always moved in the time releasing any emotional and mental trau- direction of comfort, allowing the client to ma that may have been generated by the injury relax and develop trust in the practitioner’s and stored in the compensation posture. hands and the therapeutic process. With Through the action of the proprioceptive Ortho-Bionomy the client experiences a system the client can release the trauma, resist- greater sense of well being and ease from ance and pain, increase her range of motion, within, and learns to move toward comfort and learn to integrate more effectively her and away from pain. The client becomes physical, emotional, and mental experiences.4 physically and mentally attuned to inherent In effect, Ortho-Bionomy is compatible possibilities of change. with any system of traditional medicine. These The key to the effectiveness of Ortho- techniques have already been incorporated into Courtesy of North Atlantic Books Bionomy lies in the reflex activity and in the a variety of health care settings: medical offices, proprioceptive nervous system. This system physical therapy clinics, sports medicine clin- generally works below normal waking con- ics, outpatient chemotherapy clinics, HIV and sciousness, shaping posture and movement AIDS clinics, dental and chiropractic offices. This respectful patterns by registering and adapting the Ortho-Bionomy is currently being used by body’s subtlest responses to a lifetime of osteopaths, nurses, manual lymph drainage non-force approach experience. therapists, physical and occupational thera- In Ortho-Bionomy, the slow move- pists, massage therapists, bodywork practition- affirms the natural ments, gentle positioning and slight com- ers, counselors, psychotherapists and social pression stimulate the proprioceptors at a workers. wisdom of the body, pace that allows the client the opportunity to be consciously present and attuned to the In Allied Health Care Practices offering the client stored experience within these movement patterns. Proprioceptively, the client is Conventional allied health care benefits from possibilities for offered alternative and more functional integrating Ortho-Bionomy in several ways. patterns. This respectful non-force approach The techniques work quickly to release pain change. affirms the natural wisdom of the body, and discomfort. The average position of release offering the client possibilities for change.3 is only held for 20-60 seconds, yet the relief The techniques of Ortho-Bionomy edu- can be profound. The client becomes engaged cate the client to recognize which positions in the therapeutic process, learning that pain is relieve pain or stress. Finding these opti- not endless, and that comfort is a realizable mum positions stimulates self-correction outcome. Health care practitioners find that and interrupts the reflex arc that perpetuates once pain is relieved, patients can communi- the pain cycle. This is especially useful in cate more coherently about their symptoms chronic cases where the trauma pattern has and take a greater role in their healing process. been proprioceptively incorporated. Patient resistance to therapy is eliminated and For example, take the case of a woman recovery time can be reduced. who suffers an injury that disturbs her nor- The work has been safely and extensively mal, healthy structural pattern of movement. applied for a wide variety of orthopedic
  • 3. JOURNAL OF ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE MEDICINE SYMBIOSIS 15 conditions. Ortho-Bionomy has totally encourages a sense of their natural healing eliminated pain in post-surgical patients capacity. Their somatic and emotional feel- with bilateral hip replacements who could ings are acknowledged in a safe and support- not tolerate any extrinsic movement. It is ive manner. used to address the chronic and acute pain Ortho-Bionomy allows cancer patients of scoliosis. Low back conditions and to slow down, experience and reintegrate sciatica problems quickly resolve with the their sense of themselves in a somatic way techniques and gentle exercise program of that focuses on wellness and quality of life. this work. The work helps them to understand how Physical therapists use Ortho-Bionomy stress and fear affect the body and to imple- Ortho-Bionomy positional release to relieve muscle pain and ment somatic techniques that empower them spasms, muscle imbalances, and increase to alleviate their own pain and discomfort. allows cancer range of motion. The techniques prepare Orthopedic surgeons, neurologists, patients to slow the soft tissue and joints for mobilization, doctors, acupuncturists, nutritionists, movement, therapeutic exercises, and more psychologist, massage therapists and chiro- down, experience direct stretching and soft tissue work. practors all refer patients to independent Ortho-Bionomy is a useful adjunct to tradi- practitioners of Ortho-Bionomy. These pro- and reintegrate tional physical therapy as it uses physio- fessionals find that a wide variety of physical logical principles that allow healing and and emotional conditions respond to their sense of release to come from within. Internal cues Ortho-Bionomy’s non-invasive techniques. increase proprioceptive awareness to allow The gentle approach allows for physical, themselves in a reintegration, realignment, and the release mental, and emotional effects of trauma to be of habitual or compensated postural and released effortlessly and re-alignment and somatic way that movement holding patterns. reintegration to occur naturally. Ortho-Bionomy effectively treats focuses on wellness sports injuries by stimulating natural References neuromuscular reflexes to reduce swelling, 1 Society of Ortho-Bionomy, International®, and quality of life. decrease pain, increase range of motion, P.O. Box 257899, Chicago, IL 60625-7899, and enhance healing capacity. (800) 743-4890, offers information on In chiropractic clinics, Ortho-Bionomy practitioner training programs, a newsletter with a schedule of classes throughout the balances muscle dystonia and dysfunctions, United States, Canada and Europe, and sells increases joint mobility and range of a directory listing Registered Practitioners motions, and especially re-educates muscle and Instructors by state and country. spasm in preparation for joint mobilization Recommended reading: Ortho-Bionomy, A and adjustment. Manual of Practice, Kathy L. Kain with Jim Berns, is available from North Atlantic Ortho-Bionomy is highly effective in Books, P.O. Box 12327, Berkeley, CA 94712. dealing with the side effects of cancer treat- ment. It alleviates discomfort secondary to Notes surgical procedures including frozen shoul- 1 Overmyer, Luann. Ortho-Bionomy. In Bodywork der and pain due to access port surgery. It in America, edited by George Quasha, in press. also relieves nausea, lack of energy, and dis- 2 Chaitow, Leon. Osteopathy. comfort during chemo therapy sessions. Northamptonshire: Thorsons Publishers Limited, The hands-on component of physical 1982, pp.13-17. 3 Overmyer, ibid. Courtesy of North Atlantic Books touch helps the cancer patient to relax, to reintegrate a somatic sense of their bodies, 4 ibid and to alleviate fear. Patients appreciate the opportunity to engage and focus on their bodies within a wellness perspective that