Is Ortho-Bionomy® a healing art or science? Currently, science is mostly viewed from a medical perspective. Although great strides have been made in medical research in the last hundred years, most well-funded medical research is about treatments that can be done to a person, rather than what we can do to heal ourselves. That doesn’t mean that our self-healing capacity is not science-based or evidence-based. It means that there is a research and funding bias in favor of drug-based or doctor administered therapies.1
Dr. Andrew Still, the founder of Osteopathy, was a medical physician who believed in the body’s ability to heal itself, and who searched and studied how that could be facilitated.2 Ortho-Bionomy® also has its roots in Osteopathy. A fundamental principle of both Ortho-Bionomy® and Osteopathy is to awaken the body’s self-healing capacity, and to follow up with self-care.
Ortho-Bionomy® was founded by Dr. Arthur Lincoln Pauls, a British osteopathic physician, who was also a judo master.3 Training in Ortho-Bionomy® includes osteopathic technique, such as neuromuscular and myofascial therapies and Positional Release, but it is much more. It respects the body’s inherent wisdom, and the judo principles of following the direction the body is going, in order to allow the body to release tension.
Ortho-Bionomy® also has philosophy and principles concerning the connection between us. This is activated as a field of relationship between practitioner and client, when based on trust, compassion, presence, clarity and insight: Ortho-Bionomy® as a healing art. Osteopathic manual therapists, acupuncturists and massage practitioners, even psychotherapists also acknowledge this field. It is essential to Ortho-Bionomy® treatments.
Most of what I practice as a massage therapist is derived from a body of knowledge (MTBOK) that involves particular techniques. Increasingly, massage is moving in the direction of evidence-based, with validated research that shows predictable outcomes. This is necessary for the theoretical foundation of any discipline, and for massage to be accepted as a health care practice. (Martha Brown Menard’s Making Sense of Research) Many therapists also combine less proven “energy” techniques and intuition (David Lauterstein’s Deep Massage: How to Combine Structure and Energy in Bodywork).
In Ortho-Bionomy®, you are also engaged as a creator of your healing, not just a passive recipient.4 My instruments are my hands, my body, my heart, my entire being and my life experience, focused towards being available for your healing, your unfoldment. This dance holds elements of attunement, harmony, synchronicity, play, resonance, empathy.
A relationship of empathy is not unique to Ortho-Bionomy®. In fact recent research investigates how experienced medical doctors use “gut instinct” to make clinical decisions5, 6 about unusual presentations of symptoms. As attuned Ortho-Bionomy® practitioners, we listen to your body, and to our own body in resonance with yours, and allow you to unwind from tension, pain and stress, to move in the direction of balance, ease, harmony, peace (see Principles of Ortho-Bionomy® in My Practice).
I believe we can value other ways of knowing, without abandoning the reasoning of science.7 Although “gut instinct” in clinical reasoning is common, it is not taught as part of medical training.
Some day, this inner knowing state of attunement from Ortho-Bionomy® (and other healing practices that call forth the integrated wholeness of a person) may well be in the realm of scientific investigation–as science looks beyond currently known techniques to explore the true art of healing, and how our hearts, minds and souls participate as well as our bodies.
Call me for an Ortho-Bionomy® session if you are curious about your own capacity for healing!
1 Ventegodt, JØrgen Andersen, Merrick, “The Square Curve Paradigm for Research in Alternative, Complementary, and Holistic Medicine: A Cost-Effective, Easy, and Scientifically Valid Design for Evidence-Based Medicine and Quality Improvement,” TheScientificWorldJOURNAL, vol. 3, pp. 1117-1127, 2003. doi:10.1100/tsw.2003.97
3 Ortho-Bionomy®: To Find Balance by Alison Zuber
4 Neuroplasticity, or the ability of the nervous system to rewire itself, is not accomplished by passive methods, either, but by active engagement of patients in their own healing. See Darcy Umphred’s Neurological Rehabilitation, 6e
5 GP’s should go with their gut feeling when they suspect serious disease, say researchers (British Medical Journal) and
6 Consensus on Gut Feelings in Clinical Practice, BMC Family Practice
7 “Are you aware that the bulk of current scientific knowledge has been discovered in the past ten years? And that many of the most original results have appeared in the last year? Can you imagine where we will be ten years from now?” Searching for the Mind, by Dr. Jon Lieff , M.D. Also see Wiki quotes on science.
Ortho-Bionomy® is a registered trademark of the Society of Ortho-Bionomy International, and is used with permission.