The Phases (or Moods) of Ortho-Bionomy are the key to the depth and healing potential of this work. However, I’ve yet to read a really clear, fairly concise explanation of what they are or how they feel.
So, here’s my experiential explanation of the phases from two perspectives: both as a practitioner of this system and as a person who has had the good fortune to receive a whole lot of it as a client.
Phase 4 – Yes, the phases start at 4; there are explanations ‘why’, all boring, so I’m skipping them:
What is it? Osteopathic-based techniques; mostly positional release. Positioning the body in a way that relieves pain and allows tight muscles to relax and release.
No forceful or abrupt movements are used. All movements are performed within the comfort range of the client. If something resists being moved in a particular way (or the movement causes pain or increased tension), we don’t move it that way! It’s that simple. And, it is completely counter to most other approaches.
How does it feel? The movements are gentle and are away from pain and towards comfort. There is a lot of checking in which leads to a sense of safety and confidence that whatever is hurting won’t be further hurt or injured. The feeling (mood) is crisp, clear, grounded, and very present.
Phase 5 – The dance:
What is it? The practitioner initiates a small movement and then lets the client’s body unwind on its own. The practitioner, for the most part, gets out of the way and supports the client’s body in making whatever movement it wants to make. Phase 5 is client directed although the client most often isn’t aware that they are the one leading.
How does it feel? The mood is rather floaty and dreamy. I think of this Phase as drifting off to Lala-Land. It’s very pleasant and refreshing. Imagine taking a nap on soft moss, under a giant tree, by a gurgling brook on a summer day. This is Phase 5.
Phase 6: Where things begin to get wacky.
What is it? Phase 6 is the energetic aspect of Ortho-Bionomy and how this looks/feels varies greatly from practitioner to practitioner depending on their particular gifts and skill level. In general, the point isn’t to move, remove or direct energy anywhere. Rather, the focus is to deepen awareness of what is happening on an energetic level and to then allow the inherent wisdom of the client’s body direct what happens next.
How it feels varies greatly. For the most part this phase feels soft, comforting and super soothing. Sometimes there is a rise and fall in intensity, a sense of something coming forward (perhaps a physical discomfort becoming momentarily more intense or maybe an emotion welling up briefly). A gradual softening, a letting go, and an enhanced sense of wellbeing generally follow these more intense sensations.
Phase 7: The really weird stuff.
What is it? Originally, Phase 7 was distance work. You know, quantum physics, “a butterfly beats its wings….” Stuff like that. And yes, it works. I’ve worked successfully with headaches, heartaches, you name it, from a distance and, reliably, the client responds favorably.
There is another way, my preferred way, to think about Phase 7 – where being in Phase 7 becomes synonymous with being in right relationship.
For me, as a practitioner, this means Phase 7 is about monitoring myself. What is coming up in me in relation to the client I’m working with? What do I feel or notice in myself in relation to their pain, or to whatever story they are presenting? It’s the work I do within myself while working with the client.
It’s this monitoring of myself and constantly re-finding right relationship (that sense of ease and comfort within myself in relation to whatever is going on with the client) that actually makes it possible for anything to shift or change within a session. This I believe, anyway.
How does Phase 7 feel for the client? Well, when I, as the practitioner, am in right relationship (Phase 7), the client feels seen, heard, fully accepted and absolutely safe. The client is able to relax fully into the moment and into their bodies. The client is able to begin to become more present with themselves and with whatever it is in their bodies or their lives that is causing pain or distress. The client begins to find right relationship with his/herself.
The end result???
In reality, the phases co-exist simultaneously throughout the session and, in the end, the client re-discovers him/herself.
The client finding right relationship with his/herself is what makes Ortho-Bionomy so wondrous to me. I absolutely love watching clients come home to themselves time after time. And then, watching their lives change as a result.
And, from the perspective of a client, this coming home to myself is the best part of Ortho-Bionomy.
Yeah, I love that I feel more relaxed and that the painful parts of my body feel better. But, the real juice and the feeling that keeps me going back is how deeply connected I feel to myself after a session. And how, slowly, over time, I’m learning to stay connected to myself in my day to day life.
There really is no better feeling than that.
Want a more basic introduction to Ortho-Bionomy? Click here.