What is Ortho-Bionomy?

History of Ortho-Bionomy

Ortho-Bionomy® is an unusual sounding word for a name that represents an elegant and vast, multi-dimemsional spectrum of an osteopathically-based form of body therapy. Ortho-Bionomy is deeply effective and safe and combines the western techniques of Osteopathy and the eastern philosophy of Judo. Ortho-Bionomy is gentle and therapeutic for people of all ages from newborn infants to elders. Ortho-Bionomy can offer a new awakened relationship to body, mind, emotions and Spirit.

A simple example would be how pain signals are ways in which our body is communicating to us to pay attention. Pain evokes us to change a certain action we may be repeating in our lives. What if we can learn to cultivate a new relationship with our body before it has to get our attention through pain?

Ortho-Bionomy is a slow dance between practitioner and patient. By using dialogue and movement we gently explore your body together, finding physical and energetic patterns to enhance, unwind and realign. During the work, the client may discover an extremely “delicious” position—one they can hold for hours or days with extreme comfort. This position, often called the “still point,” is where everything is at peace, and is a place of the deepest rest and relaxation. The practitioner may encourage the client to rest in this position, which further re-educates the body in how true rest and relaxation feel. All this is done comfortably dressed on a massage table. The practitioner may also suggest some follow-up activities for the client to do on her own.

History of Ortho-Bionomy

Ortho-bionomy: Ortho means “correct”, bio means “life” and nomy means “pertaining to laws”. So “Ortho-Bionomy” means the correct application of the Laws of Life.

Ortho-Bionomy® is rooted philosophically and scientifically in a 125-year-old health-care system known as Osteopathy, which recognizes the body’s self-healing and self-regulating capacity. In 1964, American Osteopath Lawrence Jones developed the “positional release” technique using exaggerated body positioning to release pain and tension. British Osteopath Arthur Lincoln Pauls followed with the principle of “non-force corrections.” By 1976, he had developed the “Phased Reflex Techniques” of Ortho-Bionomy, integrating positional release and energetic methods enabling clients to consciously participate in their body’s ability to self correct. Pauls believed that Ortho-bionomy is the “Homeopathy of Bodywork”.

Pauls was also a 3x’s black belt Judo Master and understood something very refreshing and profound through eastern philosophy: To follow the path of least resistance. Pauls found that by exaggerating the body’s preferred postures, the body’s self-healing process was stimulated 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 it is now taught throughout the world.

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“We only show reminders of what is, the rest is spontaneous. Would you show water how to run down a hill? It knows how, it only has to be set free. The body of man is the same; it knows, so who are we in our practiced intellect to teach it? It is better it teaches us and we observe the events that follow on.”

“Ortho-Bionomy is the experience of the space between the notes.”

– Arthur Lincoln Pauls

Who can benefit?

MEN AND WOMEN OF ALL AGES

It is profoundly effective for working through physical, emotional pain and stress.

Other forms of holistic bodywork such as chiropractors, psychologists, acupuncture, physical therapy and conventional healthcare can be easily integrated with Ortho-Bionomy.

FOR THE MOTHER

How does Ortho-Bionomy relate to the mother and the midwifery model of care?

Ortho-Bionomy is particularly powerful for women before, during and after pregnancy, offering her somatic body a way to unwind and process her post pregnancy body, not only structurally, but emotionally. We can address physical and emotional trauma in her body.

After the birth, a mothers body has again adjusted from being in a pregnant state, with a full and heavy uterus which has now emptied to a mothering state, which includes lactation. We can help re-align the spine, tired shoulders and neck, sacrum, pelvis and even the uterus!

She is in between worlds from one transition to another, leaving her pregnant body and re-entering her new body as a mother. Sometimes it is hard to find your body.

We all have our very own unique birth story too. Whether the birth is simple, complex and prolonged or involving a c-section, Ortho-Bionomy and midwives understand that all birth is intense and profound. Sometimes there is more trauma then we  first can realize as busy parents. Can we stop for a moment? if not only to take the time to deeply listen to what has taken place within?

As a midwife, It is difficult for me to fathom that we still do not offer all mothers some form of therapeutic reintegration after each and every birth and better yet, regularly! I would also like to add, the same therapy and support for the father would be highly recommended.

Ortho-Bionomy can meet us here, on all levels. A treatment or two, given within a few weeks after birth will help the new family ease into new beginnings with more calmness and Joy.

For a new mother or an evolving mother, birth is just the beginning of another huge transition. The pregnant mother received nurturing and attention from her family and community but after her baby is born the attention goes to the baby. However, she needs to be nurtured now more then ever, since she gives 24 hours a day to her newborn. She has much to process and yet she is completely absorbed in the nurturing of her baby. It is important for her and her whole family that she receives focused and nurturing attention for her body and her emotional health.

As a Midwife and Ortho-Bionomist, I believe Ortho-Bionomy synergetically comes together with the role of a midwife by supporting a richly complex and healthy state of being during the childbearing years.

FOR THE BABY

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Courtesy of Naomi Marks

Ortho-Bionomy is gentle and deeply healing for a newborn baby. The Craniosacral techniques of OB that I use with babies are mainly an integration of positional release techniques and Ortho-Bionomy Craniosacral techniques, both created by Dr. Arthur Lincoln Pauls. I might also incorporate traditional Craniosacral techniques (CST). OB helps the newly born sentient little body to center, align and integrate her birth experience and be more calmly embodied for her life ahead.

Being Born

When a child is born through the birth canal, she is compressed completely. The baby’s head molds to fit through the mother’s pelvis. This is normal. Sometimes when the cranium bones slide over one another, they get stuck and stay this way. Compression can also affect and twist the spinal cord, neck, diaphragm and shoulders. The physical problem happens when the unfolding of the cranium and little body cannot be completed. If the bones cannot self correct, then they can interfere with improper cranial nerve function leading to colic, breathing, swallowing, digestive or sensory-motor impairments and an unhappy baby, who will cry more than usual. These problems arise when the little body and the bones and organs within it, cannot get enough space to do their job.

Difficult births

Few births are “easy” for either mother or child; the mother’s pelvis and pelvic floor have to open to the tight and  spiraling passage of the infant, as the infant is forcibly squeezed out of the womb through the open cervix. The baby is subjected to a series of twists and turns as it passes through the birth canal to be ejected from the warm, comfortable womb into the (relatively) harsh, cold, bright lighted world where possible interventions may have happened on her body.

The journey of moving through the pelvis is not far, but is the very first most difficult event a human being experiences. Although, the journey is almost perfect in nature and design, since there are helpful measures to ease the passage, such as flexibility of the bones of the head, including their ability to overlap, and maternal hormones that allow the pelvic ligaments to give just enough to widen the width of the pelvic outlet. We do not know what exactly happens within. Each birth is uniquely traveled and there are not two births alike. Your baby’s story belongs only to him. Not even to you.

Sometimes babies are injured in the birth process. The injuries may be both physical and emotional. Often their central nervous system is upset. Ortho-Bionomy/CST can address these injuries as well as the effects of precipitous (fast) or prolonged labor, vacuum extraction, forceps or cesarean birth.

 

NEW PARENTS

It is very important that each and every parent take time to deeply listen and unwind their physical body and nourish their nervous system regularly. Even if they are not experiencing pain, they are experiencing more stress than they may realize. We do not need to be in pain to experience the benefits of Ortho-Bionomy. As parents, we often stop listening to what is  going on within us because we are more concerned about our children and partner. Physically tired shoulders neck and arms from holding babies, or breastfeeding, and long nights can be exhausting and become chronic. This endurance test winds up the body like nothing else! This slow building tension is unexpected to the body and becomes chronically uncomfortable and then finally surrendered to and accepted. Unwinding and calming the nervous system can reset everything and create more balance in your life. It can refresh your relationship with yourself as a human being, parent and as a partner. Being a midwife for 32 years, I have seen over and over again, how important it is for both parents be nourished and re~leased to see Life with a fresher point of view.

WOMEN

Ortho-bionomy is healing and balancing after miscarriage, uterine surgery and healing sexual trauma/abuse. Ortho-Bionomy may give more suppleness, comfort and tone for more ease and pleasure with sex. Some women have found that they feel more interest in sex.

Ortho-Bionomy is also very calming, toning and centering for PMS and menopause. Also helpful for heavy menstrual cycles and uterine pain with back pain.

HEALERS

Midwives, Nurses, Doulas, Doctors, Therapists, Teachers, Empaths, Spiritual leaders. As a midwife and ortho-bionomist, I would like to midwife our Healers. As a midwife, I understand how much we hold for others with our focused compassion, long hours and physical and emotional  stamina.  With this, we may also hold trauma and pain in our bodies unknowingly. Ortho-Bionomy is able to speaks to your nervous system and your Spirit.   We can release and reset deep spaces both physically and emotionally and start with a clearer, stronger and calmer baseline. We all need a place to go back to, a home base of deep nurturing and listening.

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ELDERS

Ortho-Bionomy is extremely gentle, yet also deeply nourishing for our elders. Ortho-Bionomy will help realign the body’s structure, fascia, nervous system, joints, bring more resiliency and flexibility and also support mental and emotional clarity. It calms and centers the nervous system and spirit. Aches and pains may diminish or go completely. Ortho-Bionomy helps us to remember how quickly our body wants to heal and self correct. We can realign our focus to what is right rather than what is wrong. OB integrates us back into our life force and amazing body intelligence. We remember what alignment with life and well-being  really is.

 

 

GRIEF AND LOSS AND TRAUMA

Death, either physically or energetically, is the other side of the spectrum of birth. There is always much to process, release and realign when one experiences grief and loss. Ortho-Bionomy is a powerful way to find the stillness and peace to heal the sense of loss at your own pace. Allowing you to be more present with the great Mystery of life and the places of unknown territory within the heart.

PRE WEDDING ALIGNMENT AND RENEWAL 

Planning a wedding can be super stressful and you can loose touch with all that really matters for your self and your lover. Reconnecting to your own calmness and ease is a wonderful way to enter the last few days before your wedding.

This is a session to come back to simplicity, peace, calming nervous system and ease.

POST SURGERY

Surgery is a major event for the body on every level. There is a story the body uniquely holds, that might be quite different from the story of the mind. This memory held inside, can be told and then released. This can be done soon after surgery or years later.

Often, during a session, a post accident, surgery or trauma may show up. The expression and realignment of the somatic trauma may be a very important layer to uncover, before finding wellness and balance again.

JOB & PHYSICAL STRESS

Athletes and dancers may improve performance through increased balance and flexibility and relief and healing of injuries, scar tissue, mis-alignments and pain due to physical exertion and stress on the body.

It is equally beneficial to people with stressful desk jobs and problems, especially those who work with computers all day and do a lot of upper body focus and very little lower body connection.

ANIMALS

I hope to begin to extend my care with our other family members, the animals, soon! Ortho-Bionomy is also very therapeutic for their well being.

 

HOW DOES ORTHO BIONOMY WORK?Leopi_Nicola_Painting-8

Pauls discovered by using subtle movements and adding slight compression toward the joint, spontaneous release could occur in 10 to 30 seconds. His research led to techniques that have layers of pressure, from deep to extremely light to energetic. The techniques are drawn from physical and energetic aspects of the body and also the fluids of the body.

ORTHO-BIONOMY works with the body’s proprioceptive nervous system to release acute and chronic pain and rediscover comfort and ease. The basic approach of ORTHO-BIONOMY is to move the participant into postures that are comfortable. By educating the participant to their postural preferences, the body’s natural ability to self-correct is engaged; tense muscles and ligaments relax, stress and emotional tension are released, and natural alignment and balance are restored. Participants often report a deep sense of inner harmony and self-recognition.

Through Ortho-Bionomy there is a sort of partnership of a dance towards the participant’s healing and revelation of the sense of self and healing. We explore together, gently and comfortably your body through physical and energetic patterns. We follow the path of least resistance and heal from the inside out. The practitioner and the client may do this together with simple dialogue, back and forth of what is comfort, and exploration of movement, and ease and what may be strain or resistance. Ortho-bionomy is an experience of delicious sensations or just zones of spaciousness and stillness, along with oohs and ahhhs and no’s and yes’s…as we re-discover how to listen and allow the body to harmonize with itself. The body becomes more balanced, at ease, spacious, integrated and connected. All this is done comfortably dressed on a massage table or chair.

“The key to Ortho-Bionomy’s results is in the reflex action of propioception. Movement and compression activate the propioceptors around a joint. These propioceptors stimulate the central nervous system through shortened and stretched muscle fibers around this joint, so the fibers can reset in this resting position, resulting in the release of tension and holding and often the release of pain. Instead of moving through resistance, we move towards comfort and ease. We do not force a release or adjustment but wait and listen to what the body tells us.

 

Issues Ortho-Bionomy may address for baby and child:

Somatic Birth Processing
Difficult/fast/ slow birth or delayed bonding with mother
Post- birth trauma-cranial/body/emotional trauma
Entering and enjoying her new body and even feeling release and pleasure
Calming the nervous system
Breast-feeding and thriving issues due to discomfort, pain, trauma, misalignment
Cranial-sacral alignment
Spine alignment
Hip alignment
Mobility concerns
Sleep issues
Middle ear infections
Infant colic
Reflux and digestion
Chronic middle ear infections
Sensory motor impairments, sensory integration problems, neurological conditions
Headaches
Learning disabilities
Autism
Chronic pain
Cerebral Palsy
Post surgery or chemotherapy

Parents separating or divorce, more than usual anger in the environment

Reasons for Ortho-Bionomy/Craniosacral Therapy for Baby

Fussy, hard to soothe baby and over excitable baby
Baby who seem uncomfortable in her body
Baby who has digestive or elimination difficulties
Reflux
Colic

Breastfeeding problems
Spitting up
Difficulty latching
Latch problems that contribute to sore nipples for mamas
Baby who favors turning his head to one side
Baby who favors one breast or position or side for nursing

Baby who seems overly sensitive or overstimulated
Baby who hates tummy time
Teething baby
Non-sleeping baby

Some of the techniques used in Ortho-Bionomy are:

Cranial Sacral Techniques
Visceral fluid techniques
Gentle myo-fascial release
Chapman’s Reflex points which support organs, the endocrine system and the fluids in tissues, organs and viscera
Isometric and Isotonic exercises
Self Care exercises
Postural re-education
Phase 4, 5 and 6 release energetics of Ortho-bionomy 

A few issues Ortho-Bionomy may address for adults:

General Issues
Recovery from surgery and injuries
Pain reduction from modern day stresses, tension, fear, survival mode unable to turn off
Headaches
Improve circulation
Sciatica
Frozen shoulder
Backache
Rejuvenating and oiling up our joints
Mental and emotional tension can dissipate as structure realigns
Increased self awareness
Increased Flexibility and range of movement
Cranial sacral issues
Spinal misalignment
Postural issues and re-education
Restricted movement
Knee problems
Emotion balancing
Lower back pain
Lordosis (sway back)
Kyphoisis (round back)
Scoliosis

For Pregnancy:

Optimal baby positioning by releasing structure and soft tissues
Create a gentle, supportive and connected space between mother and baby
Support Pregnancy and  alignment of the baby with  mother
Engagement of baby
Rotation of the hips and femurs
Rotation of the Sacrum
Coccyx pain
Painful pubic bone
Strains
Tired and swollen feet
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Joint injury or pain, knee pain

Postural issues

For Post Birth Mother:

Birth trauma or simply somatic birth processing for mother

Re-entering her very new body after pregnancy and birth
Post-cesarean operation and trauma, scar tissue and nerve pain
Sciatica
Prolapse of uterus
Prolapse of bladder
Incontinence
Hemorrhoids
Lumbar pain
Hip and joint pain
Pelvis and hip re-alignment
Shoulder/neck pain and tension form breastfeeding
Abdominal muscle strain or separation
Scar tissue pain
Pelvic floor pain
Pain with Sex

Postural issues with baby holding, breatfeeding and baby wearing

Luann Overmyer, Osteopathic Principals Stimulate Self Healing, Massage Magazine July 2008
*Kathy Kain with Jim Berns, Ortho-Bionomy: A Practical Manual, North Atlantic Books, 1997
**Barry Kapke, “Ortho-Bionomy: Teaching the Body to Remember”, Massage and Bodywork, Feb/Mar 2000