Lizs Logo of the Sand dollar


 Ortho Picture

Ortho-Bionomy Lecture Demo


 Welcome.  Thank you all for coming.  I hope nobody had too much trouble finding the Center.  It was pointed out to me just a few days ago that the map on the poster/flyer that I put around town was off by a block!  Many of you are familiar faces but for those who do not already know me, I’d like to introduce myself.  I am Elizabeth Beeson, my friends call me Liz.  I began my adventure in touch therapies rather late in life.  I was 40 years old, my children were about raised and I had, for the first time in many years, time to focus on myself.  My adventures began with a simple facial that was given to me by my sister-in-law who was beginning to study massage therapy.  Believe it or not, I had never had a facial or any kind of bodywork before this very auspicious event.  Well, let me tell you, it changed my life.  The profound power of a simple touch extended consciously, carefully, and lovingly blew me away.  I immediately began learning all I could about touch therapies.  As fate would have it, my next encounter was with OB.  I was anxiously waiting for my massage school program to begin when I noticed a flyer at the gym where I was working out that talked about an Ortho-Bionomy class.  It caught my interest because it was a bodywork class that required no previous experience.  I thought to myself, this is perfect for me!  So I jumped right in and 8 years later I have still found no other work that speaks with such clarity and wisdom.


 Ortho-Bionomy is an internationally recognized organization with practitioners and instructors throughout Europe, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.  It has had a very grassroots beginning but is just now getting some long-awaited national attention in magazines such as “O The Oprah Magazine”, “Yoga Journal” and various massage magazines.  I have included a copy of a beautiful article describing the author’s personal experience during an Ortho-Bionomy session that appeared in the Four Corners Magazine.  Ortho-Bionomy is at the cutting edge of bodywork.  It is a powerful pain relieving technique that works with the wisdom of the body.  It is easy on the body, it is safe, and extremely effective on its own, or it can be integrated with other modalities.  OB uses gentle movements, comfortable positioning, and light compression specifically designed to work “with” you, not “on” you.  Because we are working with the nervous systems of the body OB promotes relaxation and eases stress and creates an environment within each person for healing to occur.  I have to say that I think this work with the nervous systems, the many and various nervous systems of the body, is really what sets this work apart from other modalities.  When you start working with Ortho-Bionomy you will begin to recognize and acknowledge movements and patterns of such exquisite beauty and delicacy.  You will begin to feel comfortable in your skin, build trust in your natural self, and consciously inhabit the space you call you.


 The language of the nervous systems is complex and on the edge of discovery, however Ortho-Bionomy is rooted philosophically and scientifically in osteopathy, a 100-year-old health care system.  Osteopathy was developed around 1874 by Andrew Taylor Still.

The basic philosophy of osteopathy is:

The body has everything it needs to heal.

 The body is unified-everything affects everything else.  Present day science supports this concept through modern theories of quantum physics, string theory, and, of course, Einstein’s famous theory of relativity, etc.

 Structure governs function.  In Ortho-Bionomy this speaks of relationship, the relationship of the physical and energetic tone and liveliness.  Where we find responsiveness, strength, and ease we find movement, resiliency, flexibility and buoyancy.

The rule of the artery is supreme.  This is all about circulation.  Again, the emphasis is on movement as a key element of vitality.  The lack of movement provides a great deal of information for both the client and practitioner.

 Considered knowledge of anatomy and physiology to be of prime importance.  (Self explanatory)


 You might say the work evolved as a natural response to our founder’s life experiences.

Our founder is Dr. Arthur Lincoln Pauls.  He was a judo instructor who became an osteopath after injuring himself again and again in Judo.  He enrolled in osteopathic school in England in the early 1970’s at the late age of 40.

He was greatly influenced by Lawrence Jones’ paper “Spontaneous Release by Positioning” written in 1964.   Dr. Jones’ work involved exaggeration of the lesion.  “Jones found that by slowly and carefully exaggerating an abnormal bony posture in such a way as to make the patient maximally comfortable, an amazing process unfolded.  The patient treated in this gentle fashion spontaneously relaxed those muscles whose spasms had been keeping the bones in an abnormal position.  This was accomplished without force and without cracking or crunching.” (Luann Overmyer, “Development of Ortho-Bionomy”, www.  Dr. Pauls and one of his teachers began to explore ways to develop and refine Dr. Jones’ technique.  While working with someone whose pain prevented him using the standard technique, Dr. Pauls discovered that subtle  exaggeration with slight pressure actually reduced the release time.

 In 1975 Dr. Pauls named his developed technique the Phased Reflex Techniques which is the cornerstone of all Ortho-Bionomy work.

 He began teaching Ortho-Bionomy in the US in 1976.

Ortho-Bionomy translates:  “ortho”=correct; “bio”=life; and “nomy”=study; or the correct study of life.



Through his exploration of positioning techniques Dr. Pauls observed that an accident appeared to be a misunderstanding between the self and reality.  There was an action or movement or change that occurred within the space of the body but that movement was not acknowledged by the whole system.  The “new” information did not compute and the client’s compensations became incorporated into the body’s understanding.  Dr. Pauls also observed, however, that self-recognition, or innate understanding, expresses itself in the human being as a natural response or reflex.

Dr. Pauls believed that self-correction is an ongoing process.  This self-correction begins with life itself and is a fundamental aspect of the human experience.  Our earliest cellular life learns quickly how to discriminate and eliminate that which it does not need, that which is not useful for its own evolution.  As infants we are born with the natural reflex to turn our cheek in the direction of stimulation in order to nurse and be fed and flourish.  As we develop muscles those muscles contain the innate ability to respond to lengthening and shortening as the language of the reflexes becomes even more sophisticated.

As we continue to grow we develop an awareness of time and space, relative position, and rate of movement.  We are no longer crawling on all fours but are now upright and able to see and sense like never before.  We can anticipate the future as our sense of time changes with this new posture, and we can respond now to what lies ahead.  Our nervous systems have been stressed and hopefully strengthened and we courageously dance with life.  Our body language is expanding and our awareness and ability to respond is evolving.  Once again our bodies supply us with everything we need to assimilate and respond with ever increasing capabilities.  We have just entered the world of our proprioceptor sensory receptors.  Proprioceptor sensory receptors supply our nervous systems with natural feedback.  They are located primarily in the muscles, tendons, and labyrinth of the inner ear and they help us to know where we are in space and where parts are in relation to each other.  In Ortho-Bionomy we use the sensory receptors to reset neuro-muscular reflexes when they have been interrupted, stymied, or distorted, leading to what Dr. Pauls would say was a “misunderstanding”.  Through gentle positioning and light compression the neuro-muscular reflexes are reset, a shift in perception occurs and new awareness takes place.  With awareness comes self-recognition which leads to self-understanding which then creates a motive to change or evolve.  Dr. Pauls said in his writings, “Remember that most manipulative practices are based on forceful approaches.  It has been proven that the body responds better when it is given the correct motive for change.  Change can only come about when the instincts of the body are summoned up in such a way that the body does not resist this change.  Anything beyond this is force, which when applied too much, leads only to rebellion of the self instead of a re-unification of the harmonious whole.”

 “misunderstanding” reflex-proprioceptor/phased reflex technique/OB-self-recognition/awareness-change/understanding-evolution of the self-concept.

 Let’s not forget layers and aspects of natural responses or reflexes.  What about emotional reflexes where we contract in fear or protection or open up in comfort and bonding?  Ortho-Bionomy works with many different layers or aspects of understanding and the dance that takes place in making a connection, a place where an unspoken language can begin between the client and practitioner, we call phases.

 Ortho-Bionomy works with joints, soft tissues, and indicator points (which may overlap with acupuncture, polarity, and other systems of bodywork).  We work with bones and/or energetic fields and/or patterns of movement.


Acknowledgement-Finding a place to start-welcoming in

 Initiate a Conversation-Through exploration

 Find a position of comfort and/or place of contact; fine tune the position, and exaggerate the position or simply remain present in relationship

 Affirm-Gently hold and/or compress

 Be Present-Relax w/ease for approximately 10-30 seconds

 Life Away Slowly

 Recheck-For change or movement

 Integrate-Facilitates re-organization and “new” understanding

 Re-educate-Further integrates and enhances change

 I would like to acknowledge the use of material from several sources.  I have borrowed profusely from written materials by Ursula Hofer and Christina Montes De Oca, both Advanced Instructors of Ortho-Bionomy at the New Mexico Academy of Healing Arts in Santa Fe, NM.  I also borrowed material from the Ortho-Bionomy website,, in particular, an article by Luann Overmyer under the title “Development of Ortho-Bionomy”.  Thank you all for your help!

 Ortho-Bionomy is a registered trademark of the Society of Ortho-Bionomy International, Inc. and is used with permission.

 ©Copyright Elizabeth Beeson October 2004