Biodynamic massage grew out of psychologist and psychotherapist Gerda Boyesen’s Biodynamic Body Psychotherapy. Gerda is the unsung heroine of complementary therapy; much of her theory and practice from the 1950’s-1970’s has been integrated into the mainstream therapies. (link to massage world article)
Though I trained in Body Psychotherapy with Gerda I now only use bodywork and do not practice psychotherapy.
Biodynamic bodywork makes a connection between the emotional and the physical, it invites you to become present in your body and into relationship to yourself.
Biodynamic wellbeing is perceived as a dynamic balance of ebb and flow between expanding and contracting; our natural ability to heal.
It’s an energetic, touch-based modality that includes aura massage and does not generally use oil. I pay attention to how your body responds, through breathing, colour, your tissues, energetic response and of course the peristalsis to guide the touch. You may want to verbalise your experience and bring the subtle quality of feeling into consciousness while you’re receiving the bodywork, or you may prefer to drift in profound relaxation and let your body get on with it. Both are absolutely fine.
Gerda was influenced by Reich’s theory of body armouring having received therapy from one of his pupils, Ola Raknes. Later she learned bodywork from Aadel Bulow-Hansen working with psychotic patients in Oslo. Much of Biodynamic focus is on muscular and tissue armour which is built up from unreleased cycles, essentially from the many times when our needs have not been met. The holding required stays in our system in the muscles and/or soft tissue as tension. Biodynamic touch seeks to melt away the armour from ‘beneath the ego’ and allow it to be dissolved with the peristalsis, or psycho-peristalsis as Gerda called it.
Listening to the tummy
The use of the stethoscope is unique to biodynamic massage. The preistalsis represents the emotional digestion as the physical armour melts from the body. Though there is no research done yet to explore this, listening to the hidden sounds of our internal world gives us a window into the unconscious, secret language of the body. There is some research into how peristalsis is used therapeutically. It’s like listening to the body’s poetry, we can never really understand what it means exactly, but the act of listening takes us to a different and often surprising place.
Because of the emphasis on creating a good therapeutic relationship, in Biodynamic bodywork there is an environment of profound trust and support. Feeling held both emotionally and physically, your body can release and profound shifts can occur. Naturally it varies from person to person, but after a Biodynamic Massage clients may report feeling:
- grounded and peaceful
- put back together
- re-connected with themselves
- able to soften and feel again
- they have space to breathe
- better body awareness and self-image
This video made in 2013, shows what Biodynamic massage looks like and what I looked like with short hair!