Ortho-Bionomy for Self-Care
By Luann Overmyer LMT
At the age of 19 I had a motorcycle accident that left me with 6 broken ribs, a punctured lung, a lacerated liver, a torn hepatic ligament, and 3 compressed fractures in my spine. I was in a coma for hours and arrived at the hospital without a pulse or blood pressure —- essentially dead on arrival.
It is a dramatic story yet without this experience I may have never have discovered the wonders of bodywork, nor recognized the amazing capacity of the body to heal and the phenomenal benefit of self-care. By the age of 23 I was beginning to believe that I would have pain for the rest of my life. Also of concern was the head and neck injury resulting in my lack of ability to focus and blurry vision.
I recognized I needed some help. I went to see a chiropractor who commented that “he didn’t know how I could be alive with a neck like that”. Over the next few months, I felt his treatments turning me into a “bobble head” as he would adjust my neck into alignment but within 12 -24 hours I would be just as miserable as before. I decided I better start to figure this out for myself and began taking classes in bodywork and massage.
As luck would have it I fell and got a whiplash and was referred to a different chiropractor who said my neck was very swollen and I had a severe whiplash. He was barely touching my neck when suddenly I was experiencing myself on many levels simultaneously — like snapshots of myself physically, mentally, emotionally, energetically, kinesthetically, psychologically. and spiritually. What is this? I inquired. This is not chiropractic. No, he responded. This is Ortho-Bionomy. Immediately I wanted to learn it. He told me that it was developed by a British osteopath named Arthur Lincoln Pauls, and he would be coming in the spring to teach, and he taught lay people.
I went to my first class just to learn how to release my own neck, and quickly became fascinated with this work that honors the body’s own ability to self-correct and realign at a pace that the body can support. And it can all happen without causing any pain at all. With Ortho-Bionomy there is nothing to resist. We slowly move the body into comfortable positions that shorten the tight muscles further, and then gently add a bit of compression toward the joint. This stimulates the proprioceptive nerves around the joints, that signal the brain and the brain responds creating a stretch reflex in the muscle releasing the muscle tension patterning and pain in seconds. By creating comfortable positioning around painful points, Ortho-Bionomy interrupts the pain cycle and allows us to re-experience comfort and ease.
My perspective for the possibilities of Self Care grew after taking courses with Gerda Alexander from Copenhagen, the developer of Eutony, which means “balanced tone”. I had the honor of seeing her work with a man who was hospitalized because of gangrene developing in his toes due to poor circulation after an accident 16 years prior that had left him paralyzed from the waist down. After only a half hour of directed self-care, he was moving his toes for the first time in 16 years.
The latest research shows that the experience of pain comes from the brain. The brain interprets the sensory input. This paralyzed man had been watching sports for all those years and visualizing that he was playing the sport. The brain body connection had helped him keep his muscles toned.
This work is wonderful to use with others, yet working with myself has led me to realize that pain is not something I have to live with or fear. Self-Care has taught me how to release tension in my neck, low back, pelvis, legs, arms, and hands. I can use it effectively to align and balance my spinal curves, my posture, and it has helped my scoliosis.
Self-Care empowers us to recognize the self-healing capacity within the body that is easily accessed and always available. As bodyworkers and massage therapists, it assists us to come into a more kinesthetic sense of ourselves and reinforces a sense of comfort and ease in the body.
Don’t let pain become a limiting factor in your life. Explore your options for resolving painful conditions without drugs and medications. Discover simple positions and gentle movements your body can use to relieve pain, increase flexibility, and restore comfort. Learn easy isometrics you can use anywhere to increase range of motion and restore tone. No matter what your age or condition you can find ways to ease discomfort and increase well-being with Ortho-Bionomy Self Care. I encourage you to take an Ortho-Bionomy Self-Care class and see for yourself how amazingly effective Ortho-Bionomy can be.