Psychology as Technology
for Self Development
Body-oriented therapy is a therapeutic direction, where mental difficulties are solved through work with the body. It is closely related to the works of Wilhelm Reich and Alexander Lowen. Our body is a storage of all of our experiences. All of the emotions which we have experienced are coded in our body in the form of tension and blocks. Daily stress, difficulties in communication with people, anxiety & depression, self esteem problems, shame & guilt even the painful emotions which we have experienced during our birth and perinatal period - the body carries all of this. Through the body we experience this world and our character is connected to its structure. Often the blocked subconscious material which is not accesible by other methods of therapy can be unveiled through the body work. Techniques of body-oriented therapy are very effective and many of them can be applied as self-therapy.
Breathing is a vital element used in body-oriented approach.It is a significant element in our lives. Without breathing, life fades out after only a few minutes. The process of breathing,its psychological part , is quite explicable and thoroughly studied. Breathing, is the most integral part of somatic processes in humans. If the breathing is consciously felt and studied, it can become a guide for a better self-perception, self-control, way of awakening of your own healing powers.
We are being born free, and as a child we have a complete freedom of expression. But as we grow up and adapt to the world, these self-expression level decreases, because we consciously force ourself to inhibit emotions .This suppression of our feelings is forming so called "muscular armouring", a set of tension segments in our body. It has formed through our lives to protect us from threats, but it decreases the level of our freedom, self expression. The threats which were actual at our younger age and caused us to develop defence mechanisms are contributing to "muscular armouring", and the problem here is the armor is still staying there after we realize the threat is not actual anymore, at an older age. This "muscular armouring' is a reason of our current limiting behaviour and beliefs, which create difficulties for achieving our goals. The muscular armouring consists of 7 segments, each responsible for certain kind of repressed emotions.
Tension segments and methods of their relaxation.
As you see from the picture above, there are 7 muscular tension segments in a human body.
1.Ocular. Eyes. The protective armouring is manifested in the immobility of the forehead and the “empty” expression of the eyes. It looks like the eyes are looking from fixed mask. De-Armouring is done by : blinking the eyes for 4-5 seconds, massaging the eyelids, then rapidly opening the eyes as widely as possible in order to involve the eyelids and forehead;
also gymnastics for the eyes in this position: Open your eyes as wide as possible, start to move (only with eyes, not the head) the eyes maximaly to the left and then maximally to the right, then up and down.
Start doing circular movements with the eyes, clockwise and anti-clockwise keeping the eyes maximally wide. These segment is the most important one to dissolve, before this it is hard to dissolve the rest.
2. Mouth (maxillary). This segment includes the chin, throat and occiput muscle groups. The jaw can be either too tight or unnaturally relaxed. The segment holds the expression of crying, screaming, anger. De armouring : you can relieve muscle tension by imitating crying, lip movements, biting, grimacing and massage of the muscles of the forehead and face.
3. The neck. Includes deep neck muscles and the tongue. The muscular block retains mainly anger, cry and crying. A direct impact on the muscles in the depths of the neck is impossible; therefore, screaming, singing, gagging, sticking the tongue, bending and turning the head, etc., can eliminate the muscular tension.
4. Pectoral (or Thoracic) segment: broad muscles of the chest, muscles of the shoulders, shoulder blades, chest and arms. Laugh, sadness, passion were repressed. Holding back breathing is a means of repressing any emotion. The armouring is dissolved by the work of breathing, especially the implementation of a full exhalation.
Try to breath only by breast, with each breathing in, raise the breast as high as possible, as if you try to reach the ceiling with the breast.
Lie across the couch so, that the feet without shoes stand on the floor, and the buttocks slightly hang down. Place a cushion under the waist ,so that the chest is maximally unfolded, the head and back are below the waist. Place your hands above your head, with palms up.
Start deep and rare breathing. Breathe like this for 30 minutes. If suddenly you start crying, or crying with your whole body, or laughing - do not get confused. This is a good reaction, indicating the release of repressed emotions blocked in thoracic segment.
5. Diaphragmatic segment or The aperture. This segment includes the diaphragm, solar plexus, internal organs, and vertebral muscles of this level. The shell is expressed in the curvature of the spine forward. Exhalation is harder than inhalation (as in bronchial asthma). Muscle block holds strong anger. You need to largely dissolve the first four segments before proceeding to dissolving this one.
The excercise is pretty complex, but very effective.
Portional diaphragmatic breathing.
Start to breath very slowly only by the diaphragm, slowly, by very small portions, then start to breath out also slowly, by very small portions. the breath in and out have to be about 7-8 seconds each.
6. Abdominal .Belly. Abdominal muscles and back muscles. Tension of the lumbar muscles is associated with fear of attack. Muscle clamps on the sides associated with the suppression of anger, dislike. The opening of the shell in this segment is relatively easy if the upper segments are already open. It is crucial to note that, the blockages in this segment can have a huge effect on the physical energy, people with such blockages often suffer from sleepyness, gloominess etc.
7. Pelvic. The last segment includes all the muscles of the pelvis and lower limbs. The stronger the muscle spasm, the more the pelvis is pulled back. The gluteal muscles are tense and painful. The pelvic shell serves to suppress excitement, anger, sexual pleasure. Very often, people with blocks in this segment cannot experience pleasure from orgasm, the sexual process is becoming simply mechanical.
Excercise. Lie on the ground. Raise your pelvis, start to beat the ground by your pelvis, raising and beating the ground can remove the blockages, but do this excercise, before you dissolve all the previous segments.
Picture 1.Tension segments