Ortho-Bionomy was developed by Dr. Arthur Lincoln Pauls, a British osteopath, who wanted to find a way to work with the body which honored the body’s inherent wisdom. From his experience as a Judo instructor and through his training as an osteopath, he found ways of working with the body by exaggerating the body’s preferred postures, thereby permitting the body’s self-healing process to create greater balance and alignment. He discovered that by working WITH the body and not against it, the body could find balance on its own without having to use force to correct it. Dr. Pauls began teaching this work in the US in 1976, and has taught Ortho-Bionomy extensively throughout Europe.
The term “Ortho-Bionomy” comes from “ortho” meaning correct or straight, “bio” meaning life, and “nomy” meaning the laws of or study of. Dr. Pauls defined the term then as “the correct application of the laws of life.” He stated “[Ortho-Bionomy] is really about understanding your whole life cycle. Naturally, we focus on the structure because that is the literal skeleton upon which our life is built. When your structure works right, your circulation works better, you feel better, you think better.” (Kain and Berns, 1992)
Ortho-Bionomy stimulates the body’s self-correcting and self-balancing reflexes by way of the proprioceptive reflexes located in our joints and muscles. The practitioner uses movement and gentle compression to find positions of comfort which allow the body to change the stress and pain patterns which are causing the discomfort.
Ortho-Bionomy helps people to break the cycle of pain. It works by stimulating appropriate reflexes that monitor the lengthening and contracting of our muscle system. This then allows the body to change the stress and pain patterns, which are causing the discomfort. Educational movements may be taught to help perpetuate the release of tension and muscle contractions. The release of tension and stress in the body brings about the relief from pain and discomfort.
Ortho-Bionomy also employs the homeopathic concept that what cannot be cured from within cannot be cured from without. Using gentle positioning and light touch, Ortho-Bionomy stimulates inner awareness to awaken within the individual a sense of natural balance and well-being, both physically and emotionally. The inner wisdom of the body is recognized and affirmed. Self healing occurs as the person remembers their natural ability to move away from pain and toward ease.