September 27, 2018
In the recent film Christopher Robin, we all learn from Pooh, “Doing nothing often leads to the very best something.” My clients say something similar, “You’re not doing anything, and look what happens!”
Ortho-Bionomy®’s “doing nothing” involves subtle, educated touch from a neutral, yet caring and present, practitioner. This combination of hands-on and attitude is what leads to that “very best something,” a re-awakening of the body’s innate healing magic.
One of Ortho-Bionomy®’s basic principles is to create comfort, which I do as soon as a client lies down, using pillows or rolled up towels to support different parts to increase ease. In a society that preaches “no pain, no gain” and an ethic of hard work, many people don’t even know when their bodies are comfortable, only when they hurt. So this is kind of radical, to offer comfort from the get-go.
Then, as I begin to work, I gently move an arm or lift a hip, for example, to explore what’s tight, what’s free, and what may further relaxation; it seems like I’m doing nothing other than lifting and moving that part—which is true on one level. When I slowly reposition a client’s arm, however, I’m actually sensing into the joint and surrounding tissues for where is the softest, most spacious position.
When I find that “aah” position, inevitably there’s a spontaneous deep breath. Relief—the body recognizes the relaxing of tension. “Oh, this is what comfortable feels like! I’d totally forgotten!” may be the client’s verbal response as left brain awareness follows. In this way, the session becomes informative too. The client gains somatic awareness, a felt-sense of “comfortable” she can return to if she finds herself tensing later on.
It may seem like magic, or that I did nothing, but repositioning the arm has introduced slack into an area of tension—therefore, the area is no longer tight. Tension + slack = no more tension. I call this the “Duh” factor of Ortho-Bionomy®. Once I’ve passively eased the tension, the body’s healing response takes over to actively relax and release the tension. Hey, I can turn off that counter-contraction now—called stretch reflex—that prevents me from over-stretching, says the muscle. When the muscle turns off the stretch reflex, the muscle fibers stop contracting; they relax and lengthen to neutral. Kind of like hugging a scared two-year old and telling him it’s all right, you’re safe now; and in a few minutes his nervous system calms down and he jumps out of your arms, ready to play again.
This simplified explanation of the physiology—recognizing and easing tensions–holds true for addressing all tissues/systems of the body: muscles, fascia, bony structure, nerves, viscera and glands, fluids, and also the body’s invisible field.
Working in tandem with the body’s innate physiology, it seems like I’m doing nothing–no stretching, digging in, prodding, or creating additional pain in the name of healing. Just slacking, just doing nothing to invite a very special something, your body’s innate healing magic. If you’d like to experience such, please do be in touch.