Dr. Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957) is the father of using Bio-energy as a therapy. Dr. Reich believed that Bio-energy travels throughout the body and would become trapped in muscles and harden them, whenever emotions were repressed. Such a blockage of energy also destroyed the natural feelings and inhibited sexual responses.
Dr. Reich discovered during his research that loosening chronically rigid muscles resulted in physical sensations such as, pricking; itching and emotional arousal and he came to regard these sensations as reflecting the movement of bio-energy of the body.
From these concepts, two therapeutic approaches evolved; Bioenergetics by Dr. Alexander Lowen and Biodynamic Psychology by Dr. Gerda Boyesen.
Dr Lowen’s approach lay in three areas:
Grounding which concentrates on the stance of the patient with the feet on the ground and energy flowing freely in a circuit which reinforces a positive link with the earth.
Breathing: Here regular breathing patterns are established so that the sensory awareness increases and the feeling of being alive are enhanced.
Character Structure: Bioenergetics recognizes five major character types and most people manifest aspects of all the five.
- Schizoid character: which is represented by holding the body together as a result of fear of it’s falling to pieces. The social behavior is not in harmony with body awareness.
- Oral Character: the muscular pattern reveals a fear of abandonment or isolation.
- Psychopathic character: Here a muscular pattern of holding up against fear of failure is revealed.
- Masochistic character: The muscular pattern derives from tension caused by blocking feelings of rights and needs.
- Rigid character: This is exemplified by a muscular pattern of holding back against emotions.
The School of Biodynamic Psychology:
Dr. Gerda Boyesen pays special attention to the interplay between the mind and body processes. Her approach uses massage and bodily movement techniques and works on the premise that a neurotic person embodies his neurosis in physiological processes.
Bioenergetics is a Holistic therapy, which seeks to release defense structures that we have evolved to cope up with everyday stress and help us experience a sense of well being and pleasure.