Extract – From “Between Psyche and Soma – Introduction to Biodynamic Psychology.”
(Biodynamic Massage) – Gerda Boyesen 1979.
“Little by little I came to understand the mechanism by which an incomplete vegetative cycle – which functions in the same way as Freud’s pleasure-unpleasure cycle – is maintained in that state of non-completion by a very slight contraction of the muscles. At the outset, when the individual is in a situation of conflict, his muscular tension becomes very pronounced. By the time the situation ends, everything has been repressed. The tension cannot be seen, and the person no longer feels it.
All the same, a tiny, invisible contraction – a residual tension – persists in the muscles. It is this minimal residual contraction of the muscles that maintains the repression of feeling and prevents the vegetative discharge from occurring. So whenever emotions are repressed, there is nothing to be seen; the mechanism at work is simply the slight residual tension in the muscles. Only the skilled touch of the masseur can detect these invisible tensions, but they are the key to understanding how repression anchors the emotional energy in the muscles.
I then developed a layer model to describe the structure of the muscular armour. My massage system today is still founded on this theory, which states that it is necessary to dissolve the layers one after another, and so gradually undo the different stages of the startle reflex pattern.”
Biodynamic Massage is the name given to the much loved range of therapeutic and relaxing specialised methods developed by Gerda Boyesen which are effective in the treatment and relief of many physical, nervous and psychological conditions. They include – harmonisation, basic touch, emergency treatment, pulsatory touch, periost massage, energy distribution, emptying, deep-draining (psycho-postural treatment) and work on the aura and bio-field or electro magnetic field of the body.
Biodynamic massage is a complete treatment in itself and some people enjoy the relaxing and pleasurable experience of this approach without ever entering a psychotherapeutic process. The full range of biodynamic massage methods, or a selection, can also be used within a psychotherapy process, according to the needs of the client at any time.
Biodynamic massage can be incorporated safely and beneficially within all existing physical, psychosomatic, psychological, medical and energy based clinical treatments. It brings a practical and efficient additional dimension to all treatment and psychotherapy protocols and can profoundly assist in the relief of psychological, physical and emotional pain.
Biodynamic therapies can help a client to relieve all pressures in a safe and therapeutically organised manner. In the treatment of depression, clients often feel that they need a “lift” from feelings of heaviness; or feeling that there is a weight upon or within the chest.
This feeling can be as a result of the accumulation of energetic nervous fluid in the chest and arms, coupled with an increasing inability to express oneself. This leads to feelings of anxiety and panic as well as feelings of “needing to get out” or “needing to get “it” out” – coupled with the inability to “get up and go” as a result of heaviness and fullness or numbness in the legs.
In the treatment of migraine, “emptying” on the head can relieve the build up of fluid pressure in the head, which causes suffering to many people, often in a regular or cyclical way.
Disturbances in homoeostasis or the balance and pressure of fluids in the body can lead to feelings of internal pressure or being “bloated” or being “full” and “needing to burst”. Where there is water or fluid retention, there can be a corresponding feeling of being unable to cope and a feeling of being tired all the time.
When external pressures build up, and or when emotions and feelings are held back – the alimentary canal – or id-canal – otherwise known as the gastro-intestinal tract or the viscera – (defined as the seat of the emotions) can become immobilised en-bloc, leading to disturbances in emotional literacy and communication, mood changes and also to bowel dysfunctions.
In cases where there has been a prolonged and sustained build-up of external pressures from everyday life, and a corresponding build-up of internal organismic pressure there can be a sudden inability to cope or a tendency to suicidal feelings and a tendency to self-harm which represents a client’s desperate attempt to relieve his or her feelings of this extreme internal pressure and find a way out, any way out. This temporary feeling, very often misunderstood, is a crucial matter to understand.
Application of Biodynamic Massage Methods
Biodynamic massage can be applied at bone, muscle, skin, cell and tissue levels. All treatments aim to restore homeostasis and balance in the client in each and every session.
The aims of each treatment can vary, for example to regulate homeostasis in the body-fluids by “emptying” nervous energetic fluid from the – eg blood – for treatment of hypertension, low and high blood pressure, poor blood circulation (cold hands and feet) gynaecological problems; lymph – for sluggish metabolism, poor sleep, fullness in tissues, skin conditions etc; hormonal secretions – for menopause, adolescence, balance of endocrine system etc, genito-urinary system – for sexual and reproductive health, elimination systems, sexual dysfunction, kidney dysfunction, stress incontinence etc.
We also work with the muscles for capacity and strength or suppleness, with the breath for inspiration and relief and with the joints for flexibility and ease. Where rigidity or tension has become embodied (Reich’s “character or muscle armouring”), special biodynamic massage techniques can be used in order to dissolve the muscle armouring that is constricting the person on all levels. This specialist treatment is known as “deep-draining”.