Ortho-Bionomy® - Beyond Bodywork By Ric Chamberlin, LMT
When I was first introduced to Ortho-Bionomy it was in a classroom setting. I learned body therapy techniques to use with my clients to help them release tension and pain and restore balance. What I was to learn later was that the techniques were not what was most important. Rather the techniques were taught so we could learn the principals. Ortho-Bionomy is based on principals rather than specific techniques:
Go with the flow. Follow the path of least resistance.
After taking a couple of classes I understood these principals, at least on an intellectual level. Deeper understanding came from an unanticipated source.
At this time in my life I was involved in a transition from years in the corporate world to a new life as a somatic therapist. I recognized a need to learn to slow down, to "be" rather than to "do". Towards this end I took a Tai Chi class. I knew little about Tai Chi other than it involved slow movement and seemed to be meditative.
The Tai Chi movements, called forms, flow one into another as continuous, gentle and flowing. In the beginning, rather than teach us the forms, the instructor focused on the philosophy of Tai Chi. To do this he started with a simple exercise. He had us walk slowly across the floor. So slowly that one step took almost one minute. This sounded simple yet it was more difficult than I imagined. I had always taken waking for granted. Normally one foot is off the ground for less than a second. Staying balanced is not difficult. Walking at this slow pace one foot was off the ground for a great deal of time as we slowly moved our body forward. The result was that most people stumbled, time after time. Each time I stumbled I silently cursed myself for not being able to keep my balance. Each time someone stumbled the instructor said "Just notice, don't judge" or "Don't try. Just notice. Your body knows what to do". The more he said this the more I stumbled. With each stumble I became more frustrated. With each stumble I tried harder to keep my balance.
Finally it clicked. The harder I tried to change the situation the less successful I was. I was fighting against the situation. When I stopped "trying" and allowed myself to just "notice" what was happening my balance improved. When I stopped "judging" my difficulty keeping my balance and simply acknowledged what was happening I was able to walk without stumbling. At least much of the time.
It was at this point that I understood Ortho-Bionomy. Ortho-Bionomy is about acknowledging what is and allowing it to change.
I started thinking about lessons I had already learned about approaching many of life's difficulties. When I fought against a situation I wanted to change I often spun my wheels and remained stuck. If I simply acknowledged the situation without viewing it as either good or bad the situation was free to evolve to wherever it was supposed to go.
As I continued to take Ortho-Bionomy classes I learned that Ortho-Bionomy is more than a form of body therapy but is actually a way to view our relationship with ourselves and our world. When we are in right relationship with ourselves and our environment healing (balance) happens spontaneously.
As a form of body therapy Ortho-Bionomy brings awareness to the body as to what it is doing, acknowledging what it is doing. This awareness received by the body triggers reflexes that return us to balance. "Your body knows what to do".
Going beyond body therapy Ortho-Bionomy as a practice reminds us how to be at ease with ourselves and our universe. It is a body based way to see our relationship to all things, a way of "being" in our world. The key is awareness without judgement. Ortho-Bionomy brings us an experience of ourselves. When we are simply present with what "is" it is then free to evolve to where it is supposed to be.
The creator of Ortho-Bionomy Arthur Pauls often said 'When you have an experience of yourself that's Ortho-Bionomy'.
Ric Chamberlin Registered Practitioner - Society of Ortho-Bionomy International ® Licensed Massage Therapist - State of Nebraska The Healing Connection 900 S 74th Plaza, Suite 116, Omaha, NE 68114 402 850 0752