BIODYNAMIC MASSAGE and PSYCHOTHERAPY
History: Biodynamic Massage was developed by the Norwegian Psychologist and Physiotherapist Gerda Boyesen. She drew her knowledge from the work of her teacher Adel Bulow Hansen in Oslo. She was also in analysis with Dr Ola Raknes who was part of the circle around Dr.Wilhelm Reich who we call the founder of body oriented Psychotherapy(even there was a doctor in Germany Georg Groddeck in the first third of the last century treating physically ill people with Psychoanalysis and Massage . Wilhelm Reich was in the circle with Sigmund Freud in Vienna before he moved to Scandinavia and then the USA, where he died in 1957. Wilhelm Reich had used massage on the muscles to release their armouring and had great result with treating neurotic conditions.
Gerda Boyesen had further developed different massage techniques using a long stethoscope to listen to the “Psycho peristalsis” of the intestines, placing it onto the abdomen. She had therefore developed Reich’s work further reaching deeper levels of the body.
Biodynamic massage is not just a massage; it is a form of psycho-physiological treatment, addressing the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions of the human being.
In a healthy person the peristalsis (rumbling of the guts) is able not just to function well for the digestion of food, but also has the function of regulating stress. It has a self-regulating capacity and when functioning enables the person to deal with everyday challenges in a secure and healthy way. If this function is impaired by armouring: “something got to your guts” withheld and not expressed and feelings “swallowed” not only the intestines become rigid but also the muscles which would be normally used to express…. to run, to reach out, to push, to hold, the tissues and muscles around the neck…to express with voice, to cry and shout, the muscles in the face…showing expression of anger, joy grieve….become tense and locked. What we call “stiff upper lip” is the definition of held back emotions in a rigid manner .A frozen body posture with impaired breathing capacity creates a person not only rigid in body but also rigid in mind, separated from joy and easiness of life and often not even aware of the sad separation of his/her vitality, in our culture appearing as “normal”.
Biodynamic Massage deals with freeing up the frozen parts of the body and therefore releasing vital energy and the capacity to more freedom and joy in life. It can be applied on the bone-level, muscle, skin and aura level. The massage can be different at the time and can influence different levels but the intent is always towards healing and serving the client. Strokes, circular movements and also gentle pressure onto the body can be applied. The sounds of the peristalsis tells the practitioner if the energy in those tissues is ready to be freed and could flow (either towards an expression or as peristalsis as a way of physiological and psychological integration).
With each rumbling there is trapped energy released and the energy which has been used to hold the charge in the tissue is now free and the feeling of lightness and easiness occurs.
I as a practitioner use my intention and different methods to release and to integrate the energy for the health and well being of my client. Often at the end of a session the client rests on his/her left side to encourage the peristalsis and methods of integration can be used by holding my hands in a certain position to recuperate and integrate.
Biodynamic Massage can be used on its own and also is one of the tools for a
Biodynamic psychotherapy is a Humanistic Psychotherapy including the body and mind, encouraging the body to express, to feel and to be, as a vessel for ones truth and fulfilling life. A humanistic Body-Psychotherapist believes in a person’s essential loving being, as a healthy and positive individual who can through deep self-awareness live in peace with her/himself and the world. A person who can deal when healthy with life’s duality and dilemmas in a confident and loving way
Feelings are regarded as spontaneous vegetative processes, which may be inhibited (conscious or unconscious) by muscular contractions (“the motoric ego”) Gerda Boyesen (click on Biodynamic Massage) found a very advanced
way of relating the body’s physiology to psychological functioning, calling the process the “vasomotoric cycle“. This means in an healthy person that cells are charged with fluid and energy, expression creates the discharge, separation of held fluid and therefore freeing energy .The integration of the new being, recuperation and stillness follows and then is ready for charge again and so forth, on a psychological level it would be charge (taking life in), expression (movement and voice) integration and rest
Example: A child is upset. expressing it with anger and then tears. this is discharge, then the mother holding lovingly creates integration and recuperation… then the child is free to move on again to play and to be social.
If this does not happen and there is no acceptance of the child’s expression and no comfort, the charge gets stuck in the tissues and also in the muscles and therefore energy is used to suppress the charge and the armouring takes place, the breathing impairs ,becomes flat and the way into ill being, dis-ease is prepared.
This process can be reversed
My role as therapist is to provide a safe environment, an empathetic listening to my client, accepting where one is in his/her process of development. I see myself as ally and facilitator, as non critical and non-judgemental. Also aware of my role to receive positive and negative feelings, which in psychology is called transference. to work through with my clients difficult times where old trauma can come up and has to be transformed into a healthier state (a child who was holding back because an expression did not feel would still belief as an adult as well that she /has to hold back and see the world around not as safe until the person becomes conscious about this. It takes courage to trust the therapist and one self to break through the old limitations. This is the point where bodywork and massage can be a phantastic tool to have the safety of the therapeutic relationship holding the person literally and metaphorically. the armouring can melt away and can be digested by the self regulatory mechanism, heard as peristalsis. There is the point where the client can start to choose to act in different way; tissues have been freed for expression and integration. This is a slow process and the more severe the armouring (the deeper the charge of the withheld reaction to traumatic experiences was buried in the body) the longer the process can be. Nowadays we are aware of “post traumatic stress symptom “physical and mental distress as a reaction to war, events like accidents, shootings ,big trauma But there are the same reactions in humans and animals to smaller traumas. Sometimes it can be just birth trauma which creates a life of misery and often mental illness can be a combination of trauma, abuse and neglect.
.Normally I see people every week for initial 6 sessions and then weekly or biweekly sessions for a certain time. I have been quite successful in facilitating people transforming their condition, sometimes it’s hard for both of us and it’s like the therapist rides the tide with the client together.
As Gerda Boyesen was a Psychologist she had integrated the models of psychology into the biodynamic work. Therefore I would like to call the Biodynamic psychotherapy an eclectic all embracing humanistic method.
Bio is life dynamic is flow