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 Ortho Picture


What is Ortho-Bionomy

“Serving the Health of each of us” 

ORTHO-BIONOMY is a gentle system of body therapy which works to restore natural balance, alignment and well-being.  ORTHO-BIONOMY works with the body’s proprioceptive nervous system to release acute and chronic pain and rediscover comfort and ease.  The basic approach of ORTHO-BIONOMY is to move the participant into postures that are comfortable.  By educating the participant to their postural preferences, the body’s natural ability to self-correct is engaged; tense muscles and ligaments relax, stress and emotional tension are released, and natural alignment and balance are restored.  Participants often report a deep sense of inner harmony and self-recognition.  The practitioner also suggests home exercises that individuals can do to further facilitate the neuromuscular re-education process begun in the session. 

ORTHO-BIONOMY was developed by Dr. Arthur Lincoln Pauls, a British trained osteopath, who wanted a way to work with the body which honored the body’s inherent Health.  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 United States in 1976 and it is now taught throughout the world.

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 the “[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.”* 


ORTHO-BIONOMY stimulates the body’s self-correcting and self-balancing reflexes by way of the proprioceptive reflexes located in our joints and muscles.  Proprioceptive reflexes give us a sense of where we are in relation to everything around us and contribute to our ability to perceive ourselves and our surroundings in a realistic, reasonable, and Healthy way.  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 discomfort.  We are not working with symptoms but with pre-existing patterns of HEALTH established by the participant via the body’s reflexes.  “ORTHO-BIONOMY honors the instinctive wisdom of the body, facilitating self-healing to occur as the body remembers its natural ability to move away from pain or tension and toward ease.”**  ORTHO-BIONOMY is often referred to as “the homeopathy of body work” and employs the concept that what cannot be cured from within cannot be cured from without.

*Kathy Kain with Jim Berns, Ortho-Bionomy:  A Practical Manual, North Atlantic Books, 1997

**Barry Kapke, “Ortho-Bionomy:  Teaching the Body to Remember”, Massage and Bodywork, Feb/Mar 2000