What is Ortho-Bionomy®?
Ortho-Bionomy is a holistic form of bodywork which merges manual osteopathic treatment with energetic concepts rooted in Eastern philosophy and medicine.
The origin of the name “Ortho-Bionomy” is Greek:
- ortho = correct, right, upright, straight
- bio = life
- nomo = law
Therefore, Ortho-Bionomy can be translated as “The correct application of the laws of life”.
Ortho-Bionomy treatment is suitable for people of all ages, including children. It can help with
- muscle- and bone-related problems and pain
- functional disorders of internal organs
- regulation of the hormonal system and the vegetative nervous system
- relaxation and stress-relief
- improving interior and exterior self-perception
- increasing expressiveness and performance
- supporting and accompanying existing treatment for psychosomatic illnesses and psychological disorders
Ortho-Bionomy Practitioners collaborate with physicians and therapists from various specialist fields. If you have questions about certain medical conditions, please do not hesitate to contact a Practitioner near you.
An Ortho-Bionomy session consists of gentle touches and holding techniques which address areas of discomfort, tension and pain as well as restricted movement, malpositioning and joint problems. Affected limbs and organs are reintegrated into the free flow of movement and the body’s natural function.
Ortho-Bionomy’s main concern is not a disease or group of symptoms, but the human being. Self-healing and self-regulation are encouraged through specific support. Throughout the session, the Practitioner is being led by the client’s body: Existing patterns of posture and movement are gently exaggerated at first, using active and passive techniques. In Ortho-Bionomy, this is called “working towards the free direction”. It is important that no technique, positioning or movement causes pain or discomfort. The Practitioner always aims to find the most comfortable position and movement for the client.
During a session (as well as in the course of several sessions), the Practitioner carefully monitors the client’s reactions, in order to be able to work with him or her in an integrated manner. One of the basic principles of Ortho-Bionomy is: “Do little and let much happen.” This makes Ortho-Bionomy treatment relaxing and pleasant for the client. So, basically, Ortho-Bionomy Practitioners work with people, not on people.
Ortho-Bionomy is rooted in osteopathy. Much of Ortho-Bionomy is based on the positioning techniques developed by American osteopath Dr. Lawrence Jones. These positioning techniques relieve musculoskeletal pain by bringing joints into positions of maximum comfort.
Anglo-Canadian osteopath and judo teacher Arthur L. Pauls refined Jones’ positioning techniques, thus founding Ortho-Bionomy. His method addresses the body’s ability to self-regulate on all levels: by working with body structures and posture, with impulses of movement in muscles and body tissues, and with the human energy field. Everything is centred around the client’s perceptions, so that all positions and movements in an Ortho-Bionomy session are pleasant and, most importantly, pain-free for the client.
Working with Body Structures and Posture
The most comfortable direction of movement and the most relaxing positioning for the client are combined with a gentle compression into the joints. Joints, capsules and ligaments are brought into positions of relief before a gentle compression into the joint is applied and held for a certain amount of time. Structural work also encompasses isometric and isotonic techniques. Furthermore, through postural training and learning self-care techniques, the client is able to perform various exercises at home, independently of the Practitioner.
Working with Impulses of Movement in Muscles and Body Tissues
The connective tissue in a human body has a slight interior movement. If it is in a state of tension, this tension can be released through conscious touch. As the Practitioner gently contacts internal tissue connections, tension can be released, allowing “deeper” movements to be expressed. Dynamic techniques in Ortho-Bionomy aid, accompany and support all spontaneous movements and body rhythms. They gently regulate coordination problems, restricted movement or any movement patterns the client perceives as non-variable.
Working with the Human Energy Field
Ortho-Bionomy treatment integrates phenomena which are often referred to as “aura” or “qi”. Energetic work includes:
- Recognising energetic phenomena and interactions
- Using energetic reflex techniques
Ortho-Bionomy was developed by Dr. Arthur Lincoln Pauls. His basic concept was that there is no definition of an “ideal” or “perfect” human state: Every person should be encountered without bias and must be accepted the way they are. This is Ortho-Bionomy’s starting point.
After studying osteopathy, Pauls mainly worked with the positioning techniques developed by Dr. Lawrence Jones. These techniques involve specific positioning of clients’ bodies in order to release blocked joints as well as muscular tensions. Furthermore, Pauls, who had also studied naturopathy, meditation and judo (in fact, he ran a judo school in England), was familiar with the idea of a structured and flexible body energy, a concept rooted in East Asian philosophy and medicine. He linked this knowledge with manual techniques which he kept honing and refining over time.
Ortho-Bionomy follows existing body and movement patterns and carefully emphasizes them, thus allowing the body to reorganize without stress or strain. It was Dr. Pauls who phrased Ortho-Bionomy’s subtitle: “Evolvement of the Original Concept”. Pauls worked on the assumption that the body is inherently conclusive and therefore needs just some gentle support to get back on track (or find the right movement) in case of disturbances.
As a symbol for Ortho-Bionomy, Arthur Lincoln Pauls chose the sand dollar. The sand dollar belongs to the class of sea urchins and is one of the oldest living organisms on Earth — a beautiful symbol for the “Original Concept”. However, another aspect was much more important for Dr. Pauls: Although the sand dollar looks symmetrical at first glance, its centre is not necessarily the mathematical or geometrical centre of its structure. Actually, the position of the centre varies for each individual sand dollar. In a figurative sense, when looking at human beings, this signifies that every person has their own individual centre. This fact is particularly noted and respected in Ortho-Bionomy.
Dr. Pauls initially taught Ortho-Bionomy in the United States and Canada. In 1985, Ortho-Bionomy came to Europe. These days, there are numerous opportunities to train as an Ortho-Bionomy Practitioner in Europe as well. The Ortho-Bionomy® European Association of Teachers (OBEAT) has developed mandatory training guidelines for all European countries. Ortho-Bionomy is very popular in the United States. Many Practitioners and Instructors are members of the Society of Ortho-Bionomy® International (SOBI), an umbrella organization with which the DGOB communicates on a regular basis.
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