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Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use, by Jack Willis
The Way to Vibrant Health: A Manual of Bioenergetic Exercises by, Alexander Lowen
Radical Undoing Booklets by Christopher S. Hyatt
Lazy Man's Guide to Relaxation by, Israel Regardie
Core Energetics: Developing the Capacity to Love and Heal, by John C. Pierrakos

Reich's original theories summarized
Relaxation methods summarized

Excellent general resource:
Finding Feeling and Purpose by Michael Samsel

Excellent for appreciating many of the bodywork schools, especially Reich-influenced
Varieties of Body Psychotherapy by Nick Totton

EDIT 12/12/14:
Added a link to an excerpt summarizing Reich's ideas from the preface to one of Reich's books.
EDIT 1/5/15:
Added link to thread on relaxation methods summarized.
EDIT 1/27/15:
Added link to comparison with taichi and hatha yoga. Credit to Bruce Frantzis for the second two columns.
EDIT 2/4/15:
Added link to three Radical Undoing booklets by Hyatt.
EDIT 11/10/15:
Removed FAQ. Removed Hyatt Undoing set. Added link to Samsel's website. Added essay with Reich offshoots

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
3/25/14 12:11 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Hi,
Then, when you have read all of it, come back to this chapter and read for understanding (but not memorization) this and the next chapter and start the breathing work. After a few months just with the breathing work, when you have some degree of mastery of the proper breathing cycle, then start the work in Chapter 11 on the forehead and eyes. You now have all you really need for the next, let’s say, twelve months.


It's both Hyatt's and Command Z's opinion that Willis' pace is overly cautious. That said, I only do the basic breathing exercises, eye/forehead exercises, and some of the neck/shoulder exercises. I plan to continue with the basics until I notice a marked reduction of tension in whatever area, or I hit the 12 months mark.

I'd say pick your pace preference. If you are fairly sure you're dealing with some serious repression, lean towards the Willis pace. If you're the kind of person that (to borrow from Daniel) would take psychedelics in public, then lean towards Hyatt's more flexible pacing (and pick up Energized Meditation for his similar exercises [Warning: If you're unstable or don't care to be, don't read it]).

I've only been at the work for a couple months now, but I'll share my experiences. In general I feel less tense throughout the day, I'm more able and willing to express myself, and I have increased bodily awareness. During the work I've yet to have a clear and dramatic catharsis. But, I have had bizarre emotions and energetic phenomena pop up. I've experienced: unprovoked frustration, the giggles, feeling like I'm about to cry, feeling my throat constricted like I'm fighting back tears, and feeling static-like energy all over my body (especially in the arms, for some reason).

Also, my breathing has gone from paradoxical, heavily using the accessory muscles (esp. in the neck), to almost proper with slightly less use of the accessory muscles. My concentration practice has become much easier now that my neck isn't stiff with tension after 10 minutes of focusing on the breath.

If you have any experiences to share I'm interested to hear them.

Hope this helps.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
3/27/14 10:18 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
I thought to give you an update.

I discovered a remarkable amount of tension in my lower back and pelvis region doing one of Hyatt's exercises. Later that night I tried some of Willis' pelvis exercises and I started to feel my lower back twitching, a pulsing energy around my sacrum bone, and general strange energetic sensations around my tailbone. If the idea of chakras has any merit, then it seems my root or sacral chakra is becoming active

Shortly after reading your reply I fell asleep and dreamed that Dr. Hyatt injected me with an ostensible sedative. It become apparent that the drug was intended to put me into a suggestible state so that he could Undo me manually by removing false beliefs and emotional repression. As my consciousness faded I accepted the Undoing with little reluctance

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
3/29/14 5:54 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
I've been an occasional lurker on this site for a few years now and this seems like an apt place for my first post.

First off - this book and its technique is a real cracker.

I first came across CS Hyatt's Undoing YourSelf with Energized Meditation almost a decade ago now, and the techniques in it (a hodge-podge of some of the stuff in Wills' book) were my first real kick-start into any kind of practice. When I started out, I'd explored a little hatha yoga and basic zen meditation, but I was pretty screwed up - super-high levels of depression and quite high levels of anxiety. I'd noticed a few months of yoga and meditation had helped a little in that arena, but employing the Reichian techniques was a totally different story.

I practised dilligently, and over the course of the next year I oscillated between phases of extreme bliss and extreme depression/guilt/anxiety (whereas before it was a fairly steady state of depression). It felt like the exercises were doing me good overall so I persisted. Eventually this oscillation calmed down, and I noticed that my anxiety had dropped to very very low levels (and still are to this day, to the point where people frequently comment on how 'chilled out' and 'easy going' I am), and my depression had dropped to low levels (still there today). Along with the exercises I was continuing with a regular meditation practice as well which probably helped balance the whole process.

So CS Hyatt's deranged and wild book and reckless throwing forth of extremely powerful techniques had eventually restored a modicum of sanity to my young mind.

I slowed down with that particular practice for a couple of years, continuing with meditation, but spending a couple of years exploring chi gung and other body-based techniques, discovered some more-interesting-than-average meditation instructors (people like Daniel, and Shinzen Young, among others) did a couple of retreats (a 10-day goenka, a 30-day mahasi), but eventually discovered that Jack Willis book and dove back into committed exploration.

A friend and I started going through the Willis book together, and found his articulation of the system to be far more meticulous and precise than Hyatt's. Hyatt still has some unique things to offer, some of his dvds are good (and he's a pretty hillarious character as far as anti-gurus go), but Droll is right in saying that Hyatt's approach is a bit more... unbalanced - but he does have some unique insights. And his book "Secrets of Western Tantra" is an interesting example of combining this system with Chakra-work and Western Occultism, while his "Energized Hypnosis" is another interesting example of combining the system with Hypnosis.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
3/29/14 5:59 PM as a reply to Rob Njosnavelin.
Willis book is the real deal. Its very different from Lowen's stuff (which I almost find to be more useful as a warmup for the heavy-hitting hour-long breathing sessions), and indeed from anything else I've encountered. The effects are utterly incomparable to chi-gung, or yoga, or any other body-based practice I've experimented with. One probably would not want do a solid 10-day retreat of this kind of bodywork, 2-3 hours a week of it really is plenty. And having some kind of meditation practice to support it is a really good idea, and also I find it to have massively beneficial side effects on my meditation practice - such as vastly deepened body-awareness, the ability to sit for long periods of time with much greater ease, among other things.

I still find it to be heavy-duty psychotherapy. I very recently went through some extremely traumatic experiences that years ago might have left me a train wreck for months and months – since then I've done about 4 reichian sessions (and a whole lot of meditation which has also helped), and the whole thing now seems like a well-integrated memory that I've grown immensely from. The reichian stuff is like a wrecking ball – I find it smashes up emotional bundles – right to their core- that might otherwise grow into undesirable character traits.

Hmm, a wrecking ball is a good metaphor. Its certainly not a happy easy shortcut to emotional balance, indeed I find it often makes me feel worse before my subconscious processes and integrates things. Usually this takes a couple of days (there's a very good reason why willis suggests at least 48 hours between sessions).

And the sessions can be frickin hard work. I often feel slightly daunted before embarking on one – almost similar to diving into a cold ocean, you know you're going to feel so much more alive in a very unique way as a result of doing so, but you also know its going to be a bit of a shock to the system. Developing skill at the techniques is challenging too, and not at all a linear progression.

During a session (or the sense and feel (mindfulness) period afterwards), emotional catharses are not entirely uncommon. Unusual “energetic” sensations, tinglings, flows, shards of bliss up the spine etc also happen. Something I find very common is spasming – sometimes in parts of the body, sometimes the whole body. Sometimes very gentle, sometimes they look like an epileptic fit. Sometimes they're neutral in flavour, sometimes almost orgasmic. Sometimes they're spontaneous with no apparent cause other than the practise itself, othertimes they're an aspect of the emotional catharsis.

As far as the pacing of the work goes:
Willis is to slow and Hyatt is too fast, depending on who you are. Willis' pacing makes sense to me for someone who has never done anything like yoga, meditation, dance, etc – for someone who is quite locked up in their own thought prisons.
From my experience I would advise anyone wanting to explore this stuff to first of all get a very very basic degree of mastery with the breathing technique, do the daily preliminary exercises for a while, and then crack straight into the Eyes & Forehead. Do what you feel comfortable with – plus a little bit more. Get used to the highs and lows often experienced after sessions, and work your way up to 2 one-hour breathing sessions (plus a sense & feel of at least 15 minutes after each session) a week. Thats enough for the work to gain its own momentum, but not too much.

Taking my friend through it for the first time, we spent 1 month on the upper half of the face, 1 month on the lower half, 1 month on the neck shoulders torso, and 1 month on the legs. That was a good 4-month tour of the body, giving enough time to explore the whole spectrum of techniques listed in the book – which is probably about the amount of time one needs to decide whether the system is worth keeping in one's psycho-spiritual arsenal, or whether its worth chucking in the bin.

Once one is familiar with the system, one can start to take a more organic, experimental approach – mixing and matching and expanding on the techniques – based on a growing communion with one's subconscious' deeper wisdom & intuitions.
Fun stuff.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
3/29/14 7:21 PM as a reply to Rob Njosnavelin.
First, welcome to the DhO. Wow, what a post! I'm glad you took the time to write it.

I agree wholeheartedly that Energized Meditation is a wild and reckless book. At first I thought it was just a poorly-written RAW rip-off. I've come to realize that whereas RAW writes like a friendly-you'd-never-know-he's-enlightened Zen master, Hyatt writes like a schizophrenic Zen master. Something like that.

I actually just finished skimming through The Language of the Body by Lowen, and I'm onto Bioenergetics next. Do you mind going into more detail about your opinions of Lowen?

As I read your post I realized that neo-Reichian exercises are probably the most powerful techniques the West has to offer in the realm of meditation-like or yoga-like practices. And, noting is probably one of the most powerful techniques the East has to offer. If I had 6 months to change someone as radically as possible, noting and Reichian therapy would be my goto techniques. If Tony Soprano had went to a Reichian therapist the show would have ended around Season 1.

If anyone reading this is interested in the prospect of Reichian therapy but is unconvinced or unsure, I recommend The Lazy Man's Guide to Relaxation by Israel Regardie as a primer. The read is short, easy, and relatively content-dense.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
3/30/14 7:30 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
My pleasure. I find this particular 'yoga' pretty interesting, especially as its relatively unknown, and it really does pack a punch.
Hahaha yep schizophrenic zen master is a good description of Hyatt. Peeking beyond his wild ramblings there are glimpses that he was an advocate of hardcore dharma study and practise, along with the western occult stuff – it would have been good if someone shrewd, knowledgeable and penetrating had given Hyatt a serious interview that pushed him out of his mad bad doctor role – some of the experiments he ran with Regardie with the stuff sounded pretty interesting.

As for Lowen – I've only read Bioenergetics and his book containing various exercises. I enjoyed reading his stuff, and I still use his 'bow' and 'grounding' exercises on a daily basis. The exercises he presents seem to make good warm-ups for the full-blown hour-long reichian breathing sessions. I really can't comment beyond that as I don't have any experience beyond the basic exercises and theories presented in his books.

This particular work is pretty open and experimental really – its not an ancient established system of bodywork with hundreds of thousands of practitioners worldwide like yoga, including myriads of experts. Its a bit mysterious – I think Reich, Lowen, Willis, Hyatt all present some useful theories and frames regarding it but I don't think they or anyone really understands it in its entirity. I really like that – it means that everyone who comes to practise it is a little bit of an investigator and explorer rather than a student going from A to B. So I'd be very curious to hear of any experiences with it – short or long-term.

I'll also plug that Regardie book you mentioned Droll – its a nice primer indeed. Regardie was Aleister Crowley's secretary, and one of the senior movers and shakers of the Western Traditions of the last century. I recall reading an interview with him where he recommended that anyone wanting to get into serious Western Magickal practice should go through about 200 hours of psychotherapy beforehand – most preferably Reichian, of course.

Ashwin – my psychological state was so dire 10 years ago that it really provided the fuel to keep going with the Reichian work (and with meditation). I realised I had a serious need for some deep level change. I vividly recall the crystal clear realisation that either I could keep going round and round on the same misery circuits while life slid on by, or I could attempt the practice, and stick at it and see what happened. Hmmm good decision...

I'm happy to be a sounding board for anything related to this stuff if anyone wants feedback or suggestions of exercises or anything at any point in time.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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3/30/14 4:43 PM as a reply to Rob Njosnavelin.
Its all very interesting, thanks. From my reading of it, the "weird stuff" seems to be a physiological effect of hyperventilation (p. 58 home book). My guess is that a lot of A&P and kunadlini type experiences might be related to this.

There seems to be a whole world of these psychosomatic type approaches, but in summarising them, it seems to be primarily about training to release bodily tension, particularly associated with poor habits and tension with breathing and the belly/diaphragm. Is that a fair summary?

In terms of "bang for your buck" - or if you have to choose one exercise for a desert island - it would seem that practicising the basic deep breathing technique described in "Technique for home use" (back on floor, knees up, belly then chest, ah on exhale, no gap between inhale and exhale) would be one to go for?

EDIT:

I found this website which discusses principles behind Reichian and Lowen bodywork (this link about breathing, but there is lots of good material on the site if you are interested in how this all might work)

http://reichandlowentherapy.org/Content/Practices/breathing.html

A relevant quote:

"Second, hyperventilation allows the more ready perception and expression of emotion. For anyone relatively distanced from his or her emotions, this can be very informative. There is also a cathartic release (a release is not the same as a discharge) and there will be a sense of calm and well-being afterwards...Acute hyperventilation has been used traditionally in religious and other movements to create an 'oceanic' less earth-bound feeling. While this may have some utility in freeing work, the insights from these moments certainly are not a reliable guide to growth or living! "

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
3/30/14 4:57 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Willis goes out of his way to pitch Reichian exercises as psychotherapy:
It is to be appreciated that Reichian therapy is psychotherapy. It is not mysticism, it is not meditation, it is not occult. It is not chakras or auras or meridians. It is psychotherapy. The major difference in Reichian therapy is that it approaches the psychotherapeutic process by working on the body.

Clearly he has an agenda in attributing the weird phenomena to hyperventilation. This makes more sense when you consider Willis' falling out with Hyatt, who did associate Reichian therapy with mysticism, meditation and, the occult.

In my opinion, more than just hyperventilation is at work here. Sit around purposefully hyperventilating for a couple weeks, take note of results. Then, start the Reichian exercises and tell me if you still think it's just hyperventilation.

Yes, your understanding is correct. As I understand it, the idea is that every thought or emotion has a corresponding effect on the body (part of the primary insight in the Cause and Effect stage). In working with the body you naturally end up dredging up your 'stuff'. It also increases bodily awareness in general and separates muscle groups that are unnecessarily fused together. Read the Regardie book in my last post for more info (it's really an enjoyable read; and, Regardie taught Willis).

And, yes. Breathing exercises + eye/forehead are the best bang for the buck. It seems you tend to intellectualize, so it's safe to say you have a lot of tension in the eye/forehead region. Check Chapter 11 for the eye/forehead exercises.

COUNTEREDIT:
Interesting, hyperventilation is definitely part of it
Acute hyperventilation is not well suited to self-help or homework because the likelihood of dissociating and losing grounding and contact is high. While Wilhelm Reich used this practice, Alexander Lowen largely dropped it, using the bioenergetic stool instead to increase depth and excursion at normal rates of breaths per minute.

But not all of it

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
3/30/14 5:02 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Droll Dedekind:
Willis goes out of his way to pitch Reichian exercises as psychotherapy:
It is to be appreciated that Reichian therapy is psychotherapy. It is not mysticism, it is not meditation, it is not occult. It is not chakras or auras or meridians. It is psychotherapy. The major difference in Reichian therapy is that it approaches the psychotherapeutic process by working on the body.

Clearly he has an agenda in attributing the weird phenomena to hyperventilation. This makes more sense when you consider Willis' falling out with Hyatt, who did associate Reichian therapy with mysticism, meditation and, the occult.

In my opinion, more than just hyperventilation is at work here. Sit around purposefully hyperventilating for a couple weeks, take note of results. Then, start the Reichian exercises and tell me if you still think it's just hyperventilation.

Yes, your understanding is correct. As I understand it, the idea is that every thought or emotion has a corresponding effect on the body (part of the primary insight in the Cause and Effect stage). In working with the body you naturally end up dredging up your 'stuff'. It also increases bodily awareness in general and separates muscle groups that are unnecessarily fused together. Read the Regardie book in my last post for more info (it's really an enjoyable read; and, Regardie taught Willis).

And, yes. Breathing exercises + eye/forehead are the best bang for the buck. It seems you tend to intellectualize, so it's safe to say you have a lot of tension in the eye/forehead region. Check Chapter 11 for the eye/forehead exercises.


I had quick skim of the Regardie book earlier, but maybe will have a more serious look.

Yep, it’s a safe bet! Also shoulders and neck, and jaw, pretty much all over really! I think intellectualisers (like me) probably would benefit a lot of from bodywork (which is why I am interested), though often these sorts might be the sort of people to see it as woo. The way I see it as is that a lifetime of overthinking leads to a bodily disconnection, and all this thinking creates tension in the body, and then the tension in body perpetuates negative thinking, which triggers stress in the body, and so on. But the emotional expression angle is new to me, so I am going to read more about that. From my understanding of the link I added in the above post, the hyperventilation induces emotional expression, which is an important ultimate goal of Reichian therapy, and that is the driver for the change (rather than the hyperventilation itself) but I think the attitude and context to the emotional expression is also crucial - i.e. receptivity to it and seeing it an therapeutic context.

Here is another interesting quote from that website on this:

Muscles can be held rigidly in check and this has the effect of suppressing emotion, selectively at first but globally as muscle tension forms into rigid patterns--muscular armor. The same mechanism that stops emotion, muscle tension, also stops pleasure. A tense person may be irritable but this is a problem with arousal, not true emotion. Emotions like grief or sadness are associated with the subjective experience of suffering but the greatest suffering of our time comes from emotionlessness and the accompanying pleasurelessness.
http://reichandlowentherapy.org/Content/Energy_and_Movement/emotion_mood.html
.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
3/30/14 5:33 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
If I had to match you to a character type from Lowen's Language of the Body (a guess of course) it'd have to be schizoid (I also place myself here).

Where the schizophrenic in his break with reality will suffer from depersonalization, the schizoid character maintains the mind-body unity by a tenuous thread. He uses his body as I use my automobile. He has no feeling that he is his body, but rather that the body is the abode of his thinking and feeling self. This is not infantile for it in no way reflects the infant's identification with bodily pleasure. The body of an individual his is most immediate reality as it is also the bridge that connects his inner reality with the material reality of the outer world. Here, then, we have the key to the therapeutic treatment of the schizoid personality. First, to bring about some identification with or to increase an identity with kinesthetic body sensation. Second, to increase the depth and range of expressive movements. Third, to develop the body relationship to objects: food, love object, work objects, clothes, etc. The effect of this approach is to strengthen and develop the ego which, as Freud reminds us, "is first and foremost a body ego."


He then goes on to discuss the common physical characteristics of the schizoid type: head held at a slight angle, strong isolated tensions in neck (but no generalized rigidity), deep tension at the base of the skull, lack of expression in eyes, use of arms seems mechanical, deep shoulder tensions (based on the immobility of the scapula), block in the small of the back at the junction of pelvis and spine (corresponds to tension in base of skull, somehow...), little freedom at hip joint (causes immobility of pelvis), in breathing an expansion of the chest cavity corresponds to a contraction of the abdomen cavity, and a general lack of unity in the body (body feels split into sections).

Anyway, as to Reichian as "woo". You won't have much luck finding scientific evidence for the theory or effectiveness of Reichian therapy, largely because the US gov't banned research into the area. As with meditation, the proof is in the pudding, consider it an experiment, etc etc

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
3/30/14 11:13 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
In terms of "bang for your buck" - or if you have to choose one exercise for a desert island - it would seem that practicising the basic deep breathing technique described in "Technique for home use" (back on floor, knees up, belly then chest, ah on exhale, no gap between inhale and exhale) would be one to go for?


Yeah probably the basic breathing, although once that was mastered one may as well develop it into the "roll the pelvis" exercise - the basic breathing is fundamental, and the basis for nearly everything else in the book but I get much more bang for buck out of the other exercises.

A friend of mine recently emailed me a similar question, suggesting he was considering 'taste testing' the system, and asked something about what 20% of exercises from the book could give you 80% of the results.

Here's my paraphrased response in case its of use to anyone who might have a similar line of thinking:


Maybe not the most best way to approach this complex and arduous system, but that if I had to pick 20% that I thought were indispensible to this system, a 'greatest hits' if you will I'd go with:

*Making faces in a mirror (move face slowly) for 5 mins+ (can be done anytime, especially awesome after sleep, long periods on computer or work, breaks up mask-like tendencies.)

*"Proper" Breathing - as meticulously described in chapter 4, 6 & 7 (and others) of Willis' book.

*Eyes Open Close (also note the "tonic eyes open" & "tonic eyes closed" exercises which this is a combo of)

*Eyes in Directions (&/or Roll the Eyes)

*Croak Hold Flick

*Roll the Pelvis (Hyatt also has an easier version of this exercise, both versions are great)

*Legs Open Close

You could easily create an effective hour session out of those exercises alone. But I haven't covered jaw-tongue-neck-throat-shoulders, so maybe you'd want to stick something in from those areas. Really depends on what areas need the most work, what emotions are most significant to you, what you want to achieve etc.

An advanced special exercise that is also worthy of the 'top 20% category'
*Mussolini Jaw

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
3/30/14 11:42 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Droll Dedekind:
Willis goes out of his way to pitch Reichian exercises as psychotherapy:
It is to be appreciated that Reichian therapy is psychotherapy. It is not mysticism, it is not meditation, it is not occult. It is not chakras or auras or meridians. It is psychotherapy. The major difference in Reichian therapy is that it approaches the psychotherapeutic process by working on the body.

Clearly he has an agenda in attributing the weird phenomena to hyperventilation. This makes more sense when you consider Willis' falling out with Hyatt, who did associate Reichian therapy with mysticism, meditation and, the occult.

In my opinion, more than just hyperventilation is at work here. Sit around purposefully hyperventilating for a couple weeks, take note of results. Then, start the Reichian exercises and tell me if you still think it's just hyperventilation.


Hahaha yeah I agree with you there.

Re Willis - I do think that its possible that he wrote this deliberately to preserve the intergrity of his book and his 'lineage' - keeping it in the paradigm of scientific materialism and out of mysticism has several advantages when you think about it. I wouldn't be surprised that if you took Willis aside off the record he'd have been quite capable of talking in depth about magick and mysticism and undoubtedly had a plethora of experiences related that that side of things, many probably stemming from his own Reichian exercises (he was Israel Regardie's apprentice after all - and Regardie supposedly occasionally taught things like the Middle Pillar Ritual to some of his therapy clients!!).
Using Hyperventilation as an explanation for the results of this system is a bit like saying meditation works by affecting the autonomic nervous system... yknow it like um, reduces stress levels and stuff... *ahem*
Sure there are physically measurable and quantifiable aspects, but clearly there's a who range of very potent subjective experiences and changes that can ALSO result from doing it....

Having said that, I always find it fun to muse about the phsyiological correlates of things like meditation, thanks for that link on breathing sawfoot, looks like a worthwhile read...

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
3/31/14 4:55 AM as a reply to Rob Njosnavelin.
My perspective on this is to see that you could consider magick, meditation, mysticism as all sub-types of practices of "therapy" - deliberate practices designed to improve or alter self-expression and functioning. And the potent subjective experiences are expressions of activity in your nervous system and brain - just different levels of explanation, each useful and with explanatory power.

From perusing that (amazing and vast) website I linked to am getting an insight into what an original thinker Reich (and Lowen) was. I get the feeling that their perspective might become increasingly mainstream in years to come as explanations for the kinds of phenomena they worked with become better understand (e.g. operations of the vagal system), and as modern society wakes up more to the fact its pretty fucked.

To my mind it provides a great way to think about the practices engaged in here on DhO. "Awakening" is a meant to be psycho-energetic process, and the Riechian therapy perspective gives a great insight on the energetic aspect of the process.

I will try some of the mouth and eye things as well, and I noted the hip roll looked important too. It is one of those things that I feel is probably good for me, like eating well and exercising, but I don't always get round to doing...

edit:
a nice video of some full body exercises, including Lowen's Bow, mentioned above.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zD-3j2g9w9U

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
3/31/14 6:14 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
I would have to classify magick and mysticism slightly apart from pure meditation. It's all in your head, you just have no idea how big your head is. I lean towards that school.

Also, check out
http://radicalundoing.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/radicalundoing

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
3/31/14 10:19 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_movement_desensitization_and_reprocessing

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy developed by Francine Shapiro that emphasizes disturbing memories as the cause of psychopathology [1][2] and alleviates the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). EMDR is used for individuals who have experienced severe trauma that remains unresolved ...

During the processing phases of EMDR, the client focuses on the disturbing memory in multiple brief sets of about 15–30 seconds. Simultaneously, the client focuses on the dual attention stimulus, which consist on focusing on the trauma while the clinician initiates lateral eye movement.[12] Following each set, the client is asked what associative information was elicited during the procedure.This new material usually becomes the focus of the next set. This process of personal association is repeated many times during the session.[13]
...

At this phase the goal of the therapist is to identify any uncomfortable sensations that could be lingering in the body. While thinking about the originally disturbing event, the client is asked to scan over his or her body entirely, searching for tension or other physical discomfort. Any negative sensations are targeted and then diminished, using the same bilateral stimulation technique from phases IV and V. The EMDR network has asserted that positive cognitions should be incorporated physically as well as intellectually. Phase VI is considered complete when the client is able to think and speak about the event without feeling any physical or emotional discomfort.


Watching an anime called Ghost Hound, and the main character is receiving this sort of therapy. Interesting synchronicity. Oh, that Reichian is woo-gobbedlygook-New-Age stuff, right?

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
4/1/14 2:33 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Droll Dedekind:


Watching an anime called Ghost Hound, and the main character is receiving this sort of therapy. Interesting synchronicity. Oh, that Reichian is woo-gobbedlygook-New-Age stuff, right?


That command z stuff looks (from initial appearances) like a way of monetiszing Reichian therapy in the internet age. I understand people have to make a buck, but it leaves me cold.

My point about mentioning woo, is that if you look into Reichian therapy initially (as I did) there is a lot of "woo" (at least to me - Reich did seem to go pretty nuts later on life), and it puts a lot of people off, and has hampered its acceptance into the mainstream. But then I went onto say that there seems to be a lot value there.

Tried doing some Lowen stool type breathing exercises (with a foam roller on a platform), and man, that was quite intense. I am starting to understand why I might want to take this slowly.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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4/1/14 9:59 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Yeah, they're trying to make a buck but they do seem to know their stuff, and they offer free info
http://radicalundoing.com/podcast-2/

The 'woo' line was more a jab at the entire psychotherapeutic field. They demonized Reich in his time, and either discredit or ignore him in our time. With supreme irony, one of his basic techniques has been rediscovered and made into an entire therapy 60 years later. The founder of EMDR ostensibly hasn't even credited Reich
Without giving any nod to Reich's work with eye movements and their relation to both repressed emotion and overall psychological health, EMDR proponents say that their modality is solely based on Shapiro's observation that eye movement and reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts.
...
Though it has been scientifically researched, there is no definitive explanation as to how EMDR works. Empirical support and anecdotal evidence is overwhelming, especially in treating personality disorders, anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders, post traumatic stress disorders, and general emotional dysregulation in both children and adults.


In any case, the research done on EMDR might give some insight into Reichian techniques.

Also, I'm glad to see you're witnessing some results. What kind of intensity did you experience?

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
4/1/14 12:36 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Droll Dedekind:
Yeah, they're trying to make a buck but they do seem to know their stuff, and they offer free info
http://radicalundoing.com/podcast-2/

The 'woo' line was more a jab at the entire psychotherapeutic field. They demonized Reich in his time, and either discredit or ignore him in our time. With supreme irony, one of his basic techniques has been rediscovered and made into an entire therapy 60 years later. The founder of EMDR ostensibly hasn't even credited Reich
Without giving any nod to Reich's work with eye movements and their relation to both repressed emotion and overall psychological health, EMDR proponents say that their modality is solely based on Shapiro's observation that eye movement and reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts.
...
Though it has been scientifically researched, there is no definitive explanation as to how EMDR works. Empirical support and anecdotal evidence is overwhelming, especially in treating personality disorders, anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders, post traumatic stress disorders, and general emotional dysregulation in both children and adults.


In any case, the research done on EMDR might give some insight into Reichian techniques.

Also, I'm glad to see you're witnessing some results. What kind of intensity did you experience?


I don't know much about EMDR but from what I do know a lot of people would consider it to be towards the woo end of things, so I am not sure how much help it would be, but that website I linked to has given me a fair bit of insight.

I didn't see the podcasts on radical undoing, having listened to part of one I take it back a bit - they seem passionate and sincere - I am more just objecting to certain internet sales techniques (of which a "radical cure/undoing" is one...)

Not results exactly, more effects. The intensity was a reminder of what I call my A&P, and it brought back some negative emotions, primarily fear, loss of control. A couple of questions:

1. in people's experience, is there an association with bodywork, "charging", "unblocking" and so forth with ease of attaining jhanic states?

2. When I do bodywork, I actually tend to find myself more stressed - I become much more conscious of malfunctional postures and patterns of holding tension (and their negative correlates), which are normally masked by lack of awareness, and become a bit obsessed with them (and the need to do stretching and exercises). Presumably this can be overcome long term as the awareness allows changing of bad habits, but I haven't really heard about the short term negative physical consequences in what I have read. Is that common to other people's experience?

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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4/1/14 3:37 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
1) I don't have any jhanas myself, but I find that my concentration practice goes more smoothly because I can breathe more naturally and fully without my body tensing (outside of my awareness).

2) Yes, I've become stressed or frustrated at persistent tensions or my inability to do an exercise properly. It helps to remember that the process is aimed at eventually helping one let go of the need to control. During whatever exercise, I make an effort (or noneffort) to let my body take control of the movement while I practice choiceless awareness.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
4/12/14 4:47 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
My perspective on this is to see that you could consider magick, meditation, mysticism as all sub-types of practices of "therapy" - deliberate practices designed to improve or alter self-expression and functioning. And the potent subjective experiences are expressions of activity in your nervous system and brain - just different levels of explanation, each useful and with explanatory power.


Fair comment, I guess the difference in my mind is that "therapy" is usually associated with simply healing/resolving/integrating psychological ailments, whereas magick, meditation, mysticism are often associated with developing a whole spectrum of "extraordinary" types of consciousness... definitely some overlap there though.

sawfoot _:

a nice video of some full body exercises, including Lowen's Bow, mentioned above.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zD-3j2g9w9U


ahaha Elliot Hulse - that guy is like the Morpheus (from the Matrix) of the body-building world. Hillarious character. Considering how many youtube hits he gets, he must surely be the most famous flagbearer of this stuff alive today. Good on him.

edit:
mmm I know what you mean on the Radical Undoing guys sawfoot. I find their marketing style and excessive fees to be rather nauseating. Bit uncomfortable with branding the work with a woohoo self-improvement edge... in the same way I'd be uncomfortable with someone branding insight practices in that light (but I would probably be ok with someone branding yoga or simple shamatha meditation like that) - its more of a practice of "self"-destruction and deconstruction, than a super-upgrade your life style thing. Maybe I'm just an old fuddy-duddy who's being pedantic. each to their own. Target markets right.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
4/12/14 4:48 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:

I didn't see the podcasts on radical undoing, having listened to part of one I take it back a bit - they seem passionate and sincere - I am more just objecting to certain internet sales techniques (of which a "radical cure/undoing" is one...)


yeah this is it - they are passionate and sincere, and they must have a pretty good knowledge of the stuff, but I personally find that whenever I encounter those types of sales techniques I am immediately skeptical and put-off.
Skype sessions are ok, but no where near as effective as having a helper physically present - which would be the way to go if one had that kind of money to spend on a few reichian sessions IMHO.

sawfoot _:

Not results exactly, more effects. The intensity was a reminder of what I call my A&P, and it brought back some negative emotions, primarily fear, loss of control. A couple of questions:

1. in people's experience, is there an association with bodywork, "charging", "unblocking" and so forth with ease of attaining jhanic states?

2. When I do bodywork, I actually tend to find myself more stressed - I become much more conscious of malfunctional postures and patterns of holding tension (and their negative correlates), which are normally masked by lack of awareness, and become a bit obsessed with them (and the need to do stretching and exercises). Presumably this can be overcome long term as the awareness allows changing of bad habits, but I haven't really heard about the short term negative physical consequences in what I have read. Is that common to other people's experience?


1. Jhanas are the neglected area of my sitting practice and I don't have consistent enough experience or exploration of them to comment, but in the long-run I think the bodywork makes longer sits easier, and definitely instills a "DEEP" level of relaxation level in ones (whereas something like a progressive relaxation exercises instills a "surface" level of relaxation) - so that could definitely facilitate for sure.

2. yep.
I haven't had any negative physical side-effects (although I often need to piss lots during and after a session) - just tensions and emotional bundles coming to the surface - which I treat accordingly as grist for the mill of sensory clarity and equanimity training.
And indeed - consistent practice over a period of time does eventually lead to a diminishing of pondscum of the bodymind. But more than any other stuff I've practised, this stuff works on long-term slow undoing effects, rather than immediate resolution. I've had times of feeling like utter shit afterwards and been convinced that the bodywork was bad news - then a couple of sessions/weeks later discover that my awareness and deep deep global-relaxation levels are stronger than they've ever been in the past, and that I was just temporarily hypnotised by the pondscum that had been churned up.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
4/1/14 6:20 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Droll Dedekind:

2) Yes, I've become stressed or frustrated at persistent tensions or my inability to do an exercise properly. It helps to remember that the process is aimed at eventually helping one let go of the need to control. During whatever exercise, I make an effort (or noneffort) to let my body take control of the movement while I practice choiceless awareness.


yeah totally.
I recently went through a couple of months of quite heavily traumatic events, during which I completely let my practice slide (only to be replaced with shoddy health patterns).
Coming back to it it felt like starting again for the first time - even the most basic exercises became incredibly difficult to do. It takes a good amount of persistence, and a certain degree of clearing of blocks/pondscum to really be able to glide through the exercises smoothly.

Seriously, if you ever can convince a friend to do helper sessions with you (also useful to be a helper to their sessions), especially if they can be physically present, that can be really helpful for accelearting 'proper' performance of the exercises. As well as carefully observing your breathing, and ensuring that say - your eyes are rolling smoothly and fully in something like roll the eyes, they can give simple stimulation like a light tapping on the forehead, a soft jab in the diaphragm area to open up breathing, testing accessory muscles and the like (all stuff that one should do on solo sessions anyway, but easier with an observer who can spot what needs work). Once one has ploughed through the bulk of crap that comes up, then a helper becomes much less necessary, but in those early, or rusty, or difficult stages a helper is really useful.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
4/2/14 4:09 AM as a reply to Rob Njosnavelin.
When I first read that bit about the pissing - I thought it was during the actually practice! lol. I think that is just parasympathetic over activation.

Having listening to more podcasts and reading the first in the email newsletters, I take it back about taking it back (and agree with what you say). This guy is a former anarchist punk who has learned to use or the tricks, marketing tools and bait-and-switch techniques of the "get rich quick/transform your life" internet scam artists. Honestly believing that it works only buys them so much good will. $250 dollars per hour for talking to someone on skype? For something you think it is so effective if could transform the world? I think somewhere down the road they made a wrong turn.

The thing about these kinds of techniques, is that I am not entirely convinced that the results would be much different from some serious yoga or tai chi or whatever. So if you do them, and you feel good afterwards, you think, yay! its working! If you do them and feel shit afterwards, you think yay! Its working! I am releasing and unblocking all my negative toxins/emotional stress/painful memories. And if you feel good a week later, you think yay! its working! A lot of the "marketing" is instilling the belief that it will work, that it will be life changing, and that belief is very important to its effectiveness, as is your commitment to the "practice", but can only take you so far, unless you buy into it completely and turn it into your "religion", as the command-z guys have presumably done.

Still, while I remain skeptical about the discharging "emotional memories" side of things, I am convinced of the reciprocal connection (and negative feedback loop) between stress in the body and stress in the mind, and so I am going to make a concerted effort to do the face and neck things at least, and work on my deep breathing with some of the techniques in these traditions.

rob
Fair comment, I guess the difference in my mind is that "therapy" is usually associated with simply healing/resolving/integrating psychological ailments, whereas magick, meditation, mysticism are often associated with developing a whole spectrum of "extraordinary" types of consciousness... definitely some overlap there though.


Sure, so I would counter that the purpose of people developing these extraordinary states of consciousness is as tools for healing/resolving/integrating psychological ailments. Even in the case of recreational uses of these states.

And what they ultimately seem to point to (though I don't know if this is true for magick) to use the extraordinary to get you more in touch with the ordinary. So for example. in the Command Z approach (and its forebears) really the goal is to experience your ordinary reality, the experience of your body in the hear and now (where you could find your "true self", the "real you" or whatever).

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
4/2/14 11:09 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:
The thing about these kinds of techniques, is that I am not entirely convinced that the results would be much different from some serious yoga or tai chi or whatever. So if you do them, and you feel good afterwards, you think, yay! its working! If you do them and feel shit afterwards, you think yay! Its working! I am releasing and unblocking all my negative toxins/emotional stress/painful memories. And if you feel good a week later, you think yay! its working! A lot of the "marketing" is instilling the belief that it will work, that it will be life changing, and that belief is very important to its effectiveness, as is your commitment to the "practice", but can only take you so far, unless you buy into it completely and turn it into your "religion", as the command-z guys have presumably done.


On one of their podcasts they mention that the extraordinary part about the work is that it will work whether you believe it will or not. You can judge that for yourself. Also, one of them was talking about how the work became like a religion to them but they recently realized that it's just another belief/trap/attachment to 'undo'.

They seem like alright dudes, but their money grubbing seems off-putting to me

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
4/3/14 1:43 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Droll Dedekind:
Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use, by Jack Willis

I find that Reichian therapy is a wonderful adjunct to meditation. Many of us unknowingly harbor repressed memories that may be creating tension in the body, and impeding our practice (more info here http://www.energeticsinstitute.com.au/page/reichs_segmental_armouring_theory.htmlhttp://www.energeticsinstitute.com.au/page/reichs_segmental_armouring_theory.html ). The breathing exercises alone have removed an astounding amount of tension in my body. Fans of Christopher Hyatt's Undoing Yourself with Energized Meditation and Other Devices will be interested to learn that Hyatt's book was ghost written by Jack Willis. (More info on that here http://duncantrussell.com/forum/discussion/comment/193525 )

If you're interested in psychotherapy, but (like me) you don't have money for talk therapy, I highly recommend the above pdf. If you (like me), feel you carry unnecessary tensions in your body (or, repressed memories), I highly recommend the above pdf. Finally, if you're (like me) a struggling Dark Night Yogi, I can't recommend the above pdf enough.

The exercises are simple, but powerful. Here are some testimonies

http://www.reddit.com/r/occult/comments/1wlt8n/undoing_yourself_with_energized_meditation_and/
[url=http://www.amazon.com/Reichian-Therapy-The-Technique-Home/product-reviews/1442137800[]http://www.amazon.com/Reichian-Therapy-The-Technique-Home/product-reviews/1442137800


I have only been doing these for a few days. But they are already quite effective.

I didn't even know this sort of psychotherapy existed.

Reminds me of mahamudra. Very cool.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
4/3/14 8:42 AM as a reply to (D Z) Dhru Val.
Glad to hear it! Keep us updated on your results. I'm sure we'd all be interested to read it emoticon

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
4/3/14 10:38 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
Wow, just saw that video, nice find! His whole channel is great. He mixes traditional fitness with bioenergetics perfectly. And, his mentor is

Robert Glazer, PhD, CBT is a licensed Clinical Psychologist and Director of the Florida Society for Bioenergetic Analysis. His training includes 7 years of study with Alexander Lowen and 38 years in practice as a Bioenergetic Therapist. HIs expertise is in the integration of strong Alexander Lowen style bodywork, traditional Chinese medicine theory, and precise character analytic processing. He has conducted numerous workshops in the U.S., South America, and Europe.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
4/8/14 5:23 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Hi, I'm new here, and this is my first post! I signed up particularly because the book you linked seems legit, and if some of the testimonials I've read are true, its pretty impressive stuff. I have some questions, though I understand that this is relatively new territory for all of us. I've just started the exercises but I was wondering a few things.

The author repeatedly emphasises that it is easy to go too fast, and undo too much too quickly. For example, there are many parts where he says things like - 'To put it bluntly, you are not a super hero; and if you continue to demand that you be one and thus overdo these exercises or jump to advanced work before you are done with the earlier work, well, welcome to chaos. That’s what you will get: chaos in your life. ALWAYS TOO SLOWLY.' I'm wondering, we are not your typical selection of individuals. So perhaps we need not follow his highly cautious syllabus too closely?

Many of us here have gotten quite some ways along the path, and are much more emotionally and mentally balanced than those who might be unearthing shadows which they do not have the capacity to integrate. I wonder if the 'chaos' and 'damage' he describes is something akin to a gradation of the well known 'dark night of the soul' which often occurs at a particular point in practice. I am reminded of a passage from Nietzsche's Zarathustra - 'One must be a sea, to receive a polluted stream without becoming impure.' I'm not saying I'm oceanic or anything, but I'm highly emotionally stable. Surely I could push the boat out and fare well on the waves. I suppose I will find out in the course of my practice.

If these exercises are as effective as some say they are, I will definitely be incorporating them into my 'psycho-spiritual arsenal', as someone here brilliantly put it. An aside is that I'm also interested in what this chaos could be... could it perhaps be similar the Freudian unconscious or Jung's conception of the shadow as the sum of repressed memories? What happens when these are released onto the psyche? It is partially destroyed and must reform itself in the light of new evidence. For those with typically inflexible self-conceptions this is surely dangerous, like those people who take psychedelics but try to hang on to their ego while the energies of the universe rip it from their clutches. Here this can perhaps create some kind of splintering, perhaps a retraumatization of the event. But if we are willing and able to let go, to let this process unfold, which is itself much of meditation practice, or if we are not very invested in the self-construct our minds happen to harbour at this time, if we are willing to die in order to be reborn, what of this chaos... Well, these are simply speculations. I will of course push the envelope and pay close attention to my bodies reactions. I'll let you guys know if I have a mental breakdown or anything.

I have a hunch there is going to be a profound synergy between Reichian therapy and meditative practice in general. The general theory, as far as I gather, is that muscular armoring is often co-occurent with a kind of emotional repression, which is to say, it is a blind-spot in the field of our awareness, a vortex in the river of mind, a diversion of mental energies into unproductive and even counter-productive flows. If the aim of spiritual practice is the gradual progression of awareness, the unity of consciousness or as I like to see it, the absolute integration of body and mind, then meditation is the means by which we allow unity to occur (which it does naturally, given space), while we simultaneously clear this space of blockages and counterproductive energies, something which the gentle force of energetic tendency towards unity may not be able to do because the self-construct is too strong and is thus the primary attractor around which order crystallizes within the field of our minds. Thus instead of trying the erode the construct slowly, like the tidal forces which grind rocks to sand over millennia, we can instead attack the rocks directly, with some kind of explosive device. In this way what is coarse and obstructive can become kinetically fluid much faster. Perhaps there are damages beyond simply the loss of rocks... perhaps we might catch shrapnel in our third eye's! Anyway, I'm intrigued what you guys think about this. And also, thanks so much for bringing this to our attention Droll! You da man ;)

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
4/9/14 3:31 PM as a reply to Peter Lynch.
Peter Lynch:

I have a hunch there is going to be a profound synergy between Reichian therapy and meditative practice in general. The general theory, as far as I gather, is that muscular armoring is often co-occurent with a kind of emotional repression, which is to say, it is a blind-spot in the field of our awareness, a vortex in the river of mind, a diversion of mental energies into unproductive and even counter-productive flows. If the aim of spiritual practice is the gradual progression of awareness, the unity of consciousness or as I like to see it, the absolute integration of body and mind, then meditation is the means by which we allow unity to occur (which it does naturally, given space), while we simultaneously clear this space of blockages and counterproductive energies, something which the gentle force of energetic tendency towards unity may not be able to do because the self-construct is too strong and is thus the primary attractor around which order crystallizes within the field of our minds. Thus instead of trying the erode the construct slowly, like the tidal forces which grind rocks to sand over millennia, we can instead attack the rocks directly, with some kind of explosive device. In this way what is coarse and obstructive can become kinetically fluid much faster. Perhaps there are damages beyond simply the loss of rocks... perhaps we might catch shrapnel in our third eye's! Anyway, I'm intrigued what you guys think about this. And also, thanks so much for bringing this to our attention Droll! You da man ;)


Welcome to the party. Your thoughts on neo-Reichian exercises mirror my own exactly (all the way to the last sentence).

I'd advise anyone to tread the Reichian Middle Way between Willis/Hyatt. In this cynical interview Hyatt gives his opinion on the exercises and the Willis relationship at 1:47:00. 'If people kill themselves with it, I don't give a shit' Extreme cynicism or testimony to the power of the exercises? Both? You decide

Going to add some Hyatt videos to the OP

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
4/9/14 6:34 PM as a reply to sawfoot _.
sawfoot _:

The thing about these kinds of techniques, is that I am not entirely convinced that the results would be much different from some serious yoga or tai chi or whatever. So if you do them, and you feel good afterwards, you think, yay! its working! If you do them and feel shit afterwards, you think yay! Its working! I am releasing and unblocking all my negative toxins/emotional stress/painful memories. And if you feel good a week later, you think yay! its working! A lot of the "marketing" is instilling the belief that it will work, that it will be life changing, and that belief is very important to its effectiveness, as is your commitment to the "practice", but can only take you so far, unless you buy into it completely and turn it into your "religion", as the command-z guys have presumably done.


Hahaha - this radically applies to ALL techniques really - tai chi, yoga, all forms of meditation etc included. Its easy to imagine someone stumbly across the DhO and go "well look at all these folks who have hypnotised themselves into thinking they're on this stage of the path or attained this state etc etc because MCTB & other sources instilled the belief that spending silly amounts of time examining this facet of experience would lead to stage/state X" - who knows?

Its been fascinating for me to watch myself subtly buy into the hype of various techniques over the years - thinking 'wow as a result of doing this my moods have changed signficantly' or 'as a result of doing this my perception is considerably more vivid and detailed'...
And these may very well be accurate evaluations - the faith that they are is the reason I still dedicate significant amounts of time to meditation, breathing exercises, etc, as well as the fact that I find them inherently fascinating and enjoyable.
Experience dictates to me that they produce a number of vastly different effects (and several similar) from tai chi and yoga - even when one whole-heartedly believes that they produce only pretty similar effects.

But yes these are exercises not to be wrapped up in hype and 'yeah wow these are really good' - instead they're an unknown number. The best approach is experiment experiment experiment, observe, and setting any hype or needs-system-excitement aside - evaluate in as balanced a way as possible, with an earnest spirit of skepticism.
If I were an evangelist for this stuff the motivation would come from a place of extreme curiosity - if you play with this stuff over a period of time - what changes/shifts - (both pleasant/unpleasant, useless/useful) - do you encounter?

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
4/9/14 7:01 PM as a reply to Peter Lynch.
Peter Lynch:

The author repeatedly emphasises that it is easy to go too fast, and undo too much too quickly. For example, there are many parts where he says things like - 'To put it bluntly, you are not a super hero; and if you continue to demand that you be one and thus overdo these exercises or jump to advanced work before you are done with the earlier work, well, welcome to chaos. That’s what you will get: chaos in your life. ALWAYS TOO SLOWLY.' I'm wondering, we are not your typical selection of individuals. So perhaps we need not follow his highly cautious syllabus too closely?

Many of us here have gotten quite some ways along the path, and are much more emotionally and mentally balanced than those who might be unearthing shadows which they do not have the capacity to integrate. I wonder if the 'chaos' and 'damage' he describes is something akin to a gradation of the well known 'dark night of the soul' which often occurs at a particular point in practice. I am reminded of a passage from Nietzsche's Zarathustra - 'One must be a sea, to receive a polluted stream without becoming impure.' I'm not saying I'm oceanic or anything, but I'm highly emotionally stable. Surely I could push the boat out and fare well on the waves. I suppose I will find out in the course of my practice.

If these exercises are as effective as some say they are, I will definitely be incorporating them into my 'psycho-spiritual arsenal', as someone here brilliantly put it. An aside is that I'm also interested in what this chaos could be... could it perhaps be similar the Freudian unconscious or Jung's conception of the shadow as the sum of repressed memories? What happens when these are released onto the psyche? It is partially destroyed and must reform itself in the light of new evidence. For those with typically inflexible self-conceptions this is surely dangerous, like those people who take psychedelics but try to hang on to their ego while the energies of the universe rip it from their clutches. Here this can perhaps create some kind of splintering, perhaps a retraumatization of the event. But if we are willing and able to let go, to let this process unfold, which is itself much of meditation practice, or if we are not very invested in the self-construct our minds happen to harbour at this time, if we are willing to die in order to be reborn, what of this chaos... Well, these are simply speculations. I will of course push the envelope and pay close attention to my bodies reactions. I'll let you guys know if I have a mental breakdown or anything.


Haha awesome, please do!! After fairly religiously adhering to the "ALWAYS TOO SLOWLY" mantra for a decade (never done more than 3 sessions in a week, longest session ever done was about 4 hours), I've also been questioning this and considering doing a couple of hours a day just to see what comes out.
Willis' book is clearly written for would-be therapy patients.
Willis, Hyatt and Regardie were all therapists, undoubtedly with an acute awareness of the collective emotional-instability prevalent in this culture. Maybe they're giving that advice because of some 'point of diminishing returns' on doing the exercises, or maybe its not advice they'd adhere to themselves, or recommend to anyone who does happen to have a strong foundation of emotional stability.
Only one way to find out.

Somewhere along the line Hyatt casually mentioned his and Regardie's experiments combining these exercises, hypnosis, and certain psychoactive fungi. Was Jack Willis there shaking his head going 'tut tut tut be careful boys, chaos might come knocking...'?
Probably if one is wanting to push the envelope out of an unknown (and perfectly valid) need for emotional transformation then ALWAYS TOO SLOWLY is certainly worth paying attention to. But otherwise.... only one way to find out.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
7/6/14 3:16 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
In response to Fabrice,

My best guess is that you've previously crossed the A&P, and you're cycling around ReOb or you've fallen back and are sitting in Cause and  Effect. As Daniel has pointed out in other contexts: if you're hanging  out on hardcore meditation forums, meditating for an hour+ a day, and in this case, investigating the body-based exercises invented by an obscure/defamed Austrian psychologist and scientist the chances of you  not having hit the A&P is very low.

As this is a meditation  forum I'll preface with this: finding your way to Equanimty, figuring  out how to stay there, and then landing stream-entry and taking it from there is your best bet in relieving your symptoms. You can find the relevant information on that process elsewhere, but I can summarize my recommendation. Power the mindfulness all day, learn how to surrender at the peak of ReOb, experiment with tweaking the effort/do-nothing in low EQ, stay viligant, stick honestly to the bare/basic/direct/simple/immediate sensations, and practice well. It's also important to make strong resolutions regularly. Have you mastered noting? If not, do that asap.

That said, I find Reichian exercises highly complementary to vipassana. Here's a simple argument to explain the synergy. Vipassana can be defined informally as a gradual process of expanding awareness (defined loosely) to include previously unclear/unconscious mental processes and physical sensations. Mental and physical phenomena are intimately interconnected, and at a certain level, useless to separate conceptually or pragmatically. This insight shows itself early on in Cause and Effect and more clearly later when formations are experienced in Equanimity. Following common sense and the metaphor of chakras, certain parts of the body have certain mental or emotional correlates. When we're  emotionally hurt we have a 'broken heart', when someone's flighty they  don't have 'both feet on the ground', when we're nervous we get  'butterflies in the stomach', and so on. The metaphor of chakras obviously extends this common sense considerably. In any case, if we tentatively accept the body correlation hypothesis then it stands to reason that certain neuroses will have predictable physical markers. As it turns out, Reich and Lowen demonstrate just that in the books I mention later in this post. Neuroticism manifest as tensions and deadzones of energy in predictable places in the body. Reich also predicted that through simple physical exercises you could gradually elicit repressed emotions, recover repressed memories, and bring increased awareness to the physical tension and associated neuroses. The most difficult patterns of sensations to include within awareness are slippery neurotic processes that, through reinforcement since the childhood events that triggered them, constitute a significant portion of our character. Reichian exercises, in my experience, help tremendously to bring awareness to these processes that are difficult to be honest about and hence difficult to see clearly. It should be mentioned, Reich intended for the exercises to allow people to surrender to more complete orgasms. These theories are fascinating and controversial, but not necessary for an interested dabbler nor directly relevant or contradictory to the meditation connection I'm making.

Here's a relevant passage from MCTB
All that said, there is some debate about what factors or progress allows some people to just notice the Three Characteristics of the sensations that make up their world in the face of their stuff as opposed to those who just flounder in their stuff. Some would argue that you have to havedone enough psychological work and deal with enough of your issues to get to the place were you can move on to the next stage. I must reluctantly admit that there is probably some truth to this. However, I didn’t consider myself particularly psychologically advanced when I started insight practices, as I had all kinds of stuff to deal with and still do, and yet somehow, perhaps through good instruction, perhaps through some other factors I have yet to identify, I was able to practice well despite it all and make the shift from being lost in content to noticing how things actually are.
I would argue that Reichian exercises (along with the awareness-expanding and energetic effects) provide an ideal method for precipitating psychological growth without a high risk of getting lost in content.

Although working with our 'stuff' and the practice of vipassana techniques should be clearly differentiated, it seems that working with our 'stuff' is necessary for progress at certain sticking points, and largely unavoidable in the long-run. I would also argue that Reichian exercises can be particularly useful during the DN. There have been times in the DN when my concentration is virtually gone, my body is stiff, and psychologizing is dangerously sticky. This isn't unusual, so I hear. emoticon I've found that a Reichian session can really break up some of those irritating repetitive thought processes. Of course, physical exertion, dancing, walks in nature, and (attempting) socialization all help with this too. But, Reichian work will really target those patterns of mind, whereas the former are moreso skillful distractions.

I've mused  about combining the systems of Reichian and vipassana after I reach some degree of mastery in both. The idea isn't completely new. As you mention, 'sense and feel sessions' are essentially vipassana lite. And, Ron Kurtz gave it a go with Hakomi:
Integrating scientific, psychological, and spiritual sources, Hakomi has evolved into a complex and elegant form of psychotherapy that is highly effective with a wide range of populations. The method draws from general systems theory and modern body-centered therapies including Gestalt, Psychomotor, Feldenkrais, Focusing, Ericksonian Hypnosis, Neurolinguistic Programming, and the work of Wilhelm Reich and AlexanderLowen. Core concepts of gentleness, nonviolence, compassion, and mindfulness evolved from Buddhism and Taoism.
I haven't researched Hakomi thoroughly, but I suspect it too is highly potent. Though, the mindfulness component sounds too light for me. 'evolved from Buddhism and Taoism' reads (to me) as 'misinterpreted and watered down from Buddhism and Taoism'. At least they mention the Reich influence, unlike EMDR and most other modern body-based approaches.

If you're interested in exploring character types from a body-based bioenergetic perspective check out Character Analysis by Wilhelm Reich, and Language of the Body by Alexander Lowen. If you match the rigid profile given on that website, check out the chapters in the above aboutthe compulsive and phallic-narcissistic type. I should warn you, both books are technical and dry. Lowen is slightly less dry. Both books are available online if you know where to look (message me if you need).

As far as other resources go, check the prettier version of this thread. I'm gonna make this post in the other thread too; if you respond please do it there emoticon Also relevant are the books of Wilhelm Reich, Alexander Lowen, Peter A. Levine, John C. Pierrakos, Christopher Hyatt (Undoing Yourself and Secrets of Western Tantra), Nick Totton, and Ron Kurtz. Myron Sharaf's biography of Reich is also of interest. Robert Anton Wilson wrote a play called Wilhem Reich in Hell. Here's a noteworthy quote from the preface
When I am in my Reichian or neo-Reichian reality-tunnel, it seems overwhelmingly obvious to me that I live among a species that is desperately sick and desperately afraid of the changes it must undergo to be cured.
When I am in my Buddhist reality-tunnel, the medical metaphor of sickeness in Reich's system seems as over-simplified as the Christian metaphor of sin, and I merely see that the human race at this stage of its evolution has the habits inevitable at this stage of evolution. What is, is, and our evaluations of it are simply -- our evaluations of it.
RAW and Hyatt were friends, and both were familiar with at least Zen Buddhism (probably from Alan Watts, originally. RAW knew him personally). Hyatt went so far as to call himself a Buddhist for most of his adult life.

This turned out to be a long post; I've been reading Reich the past few days and haven't updated this thread in awhile. I've also experienced new results from the exercises, if anyone's interested in reading those. Good luck with stream-entry and Reichian!

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
7/11/14 3:08 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Hello!

Recently I started to read Jack Willis' book, "Reichian Therapy, The Techniques for Home Use"(3rd edition), and yesterday I started the first part - "THE EYES, STEP 1"- of the first daily exercise (the"The Eyes"practice) - which you saw your face on a mirror, seeing it like you were looking to some else's face - and all was okay, but later when I saw myself on a mirror, I got scarred and felt strange. Then I had fear to lost my association with me and my on face. And I think that exercise could, maybe with the add of the practice of it daily, by autossugestion, lead to a kind of "despersonalization", by associating our own's face - to see like it is not our face, but - some else's face. It is a hypothesis, with little experience.

I would like to know if someone here did that exercise and how it was?

Today I did again the "THE EYES, STEP 1", followed with that second parte, "QUESTION 1", and it was almost okay. After re-reading the exercises instruction, I undestood that the attitude towards at those two steps of "The Eyes" practice, are as someone was looking at yourelf in objective and neutral (if anyone could do that) way.

EDIT: The instrutions's exercise are in page 37-43 of the book - not of the pdf reader.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
7/11/14 5:52 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Seems like you're having solid insights into suffering. Though, not sure I understand what you mean about equanimity. I think of equanimity as a mode of attention in which no sensation or sense door is given priority. The mind doesn't try to cling to or push away from any sensation. At least, I'm describing ideal equanimity.

Also, an hour a day of Reichian is intense stuff. The worst that can happen is psychosis, though it's rare. Perhaps on the more mild side you could uncover something that will leave you anxious throughout the day. I think it's just more productive to limit yourself to 2-3 sessions a week for the same reason that you wouldn't want to be lifting weights all day. You need a few dream cycles for your body to reach a new equilibrium.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
7/12/14 5:13 PM as a reply to Rob Njosnavelin.
In my vision magick, meditation and mysticism are more about "states training" and "therapy" more about Shadow work - in a perspective near Ken Wilber's ideias.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
8/27/14 7:53 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
I'm really interested in this but what I find lacking from the book are any programs designed around personality/tension patterns.  It would be nice if it had perscriptive advice to suggest certain exercises for certain problems.  

Fabrice - how did you choose the exercises you are using?  Do you identify where you think there my be tension and then look for exercises on them?  I think we may have similar patterns as I am also looking at working on my throat, jaw, shoulders and lower back (around sacrum).  How has your progress been over the last move?

Droll - if you could design a program around the exercises that a beginner could work on every few days what would it look like?

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
8/27/14 1:38 PM as a reply to G Mojo.
Alexander Lowen's book The Way to Vibrant Health has about a hundred exercises, many of which target specific areas of the body. He also has specific grounding, breathing, sexual, and self-expressive exercises. The book has exercises "designed to relieve specific problems". I just recently found the book at my uni's library... here are the two exercises Lowen gives to people who don't have time for anything else.
Do the following preferably in the morning, but any time is fine. Don't do them on a full stomach.

The bow/arch
Stand with feet about 18" apart, toes slightly turned inward.
Now place both fists with knuckles facing upward into the small of your back.
Bend both knees as much as you can without lifting the heels off the floor.
Arch backward over your fists, but make sure that you weight remains forward on the balls of your feet.
Breathe deeply into your belly.
  • Do you feel any strain in your lower back? If you do, it indicates that there is considerable tension in this area of your body.
  • Do you feel any pain or tension in the front of the thighs or above the knees? If your legs are relaxed, you should feel no strain except in the ankles and feet where the weight of the body is supported.
  • Are your legs beginning to vibrate?
  • Are you able to maintain a perfect arch? Is your ass pulled back or is it pushed forward? In either case, you have broken the bow and your energy will not flow fully into your feet.
Basic vibratory and grounding exercises
Stand with feet about 10" apart, toes slightly turned in so as to stretch some of the muscles of the buttocks. Bend forward and touch the floor with the fingers of both hands. The knees should be slightly bent. No weight should be on the hands; all the body weight is in the feet. Let the head drop as much as possible.
Breathe through your mouth easily and deeply. Make sure to keep breathing.
Let the weight of your body go forward so that it is on the balls of the feet. The heels can be slightly raised.
Straighten the knees slowly until the hamstring muscles at the back of the legs are stretched. However, the knees should not be fully straightened or locked.
Hold the postition for about one minute

Let yourself come up to a standing position with your knees slightly bent. Relax, letting the belly out and breathing easily.
  • Are your legs vibrating?
  • How do you sense your feet in relation to the floor? Do you feel more connected to the floor or more grounded, as we say?
  • Are you more aware of your legs and feet? Do they feel more 'there' for you?
If you're not an ideal psychological creature then find out which personality matches you closest from here. Check Lowen's Language of the Body for more details on the physical peculiarities for each type. Check out Stephen M. Johnson's Character Styles for a balanced look at each type. Johnson has a multi-paradigm approach including -- affective, behavioral-social, cognitive, and physical. Willis limits himself by insisting on the cognitive aspect.

I've got more stories about my own bioenergetics that I may post up later... The OP also could do with an update. If anyone needs specific exercises from Lowen's Way to Vibrant Health I'll be happy to post them.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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8/27/14 8:36 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Both users have to be online I think. I'll keep the tab open.

I have the pdf for Character Styles, not Way to Vibrant Health. Once I figure out what's wrong with my scanner Way to Vibrant Health will appear online.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
8/27/14 9:38 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Fabrice:
How do you PM in here?
Top of the page has the word - messages...click on that. Finding someone's name to add can be a pain....and it is all slow..so be patient
~D

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
8/29/14 6:12 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Hi I'm new here, good to find a discussion on Reichian Therapy. I've been a long time seeker when it comes to personal development and I somehow stumbled across Reichian Therapy of which I have been practising only for a couple of weeks now. I have both Hyatt's and Willis's books although I'm leaning more towards Willis more structured approach as I like focusing on working on each part of the body stage by stage. Anyways, at first I was a bit sceptical if any of the exercises were having any effect, sure I felt nice and relaxed after the deep breathing but didn't really notice any other sensations of note apart from some mild tingling, well, that was until today. 

I was lying down working on my forehead, 10 minutes with it furrowed upwards with eyes open, then 10 minutes with it scrunched up, eyes closed, all the while rhythmic breathing with belly and chest. Towards the end of the second set of 10 minutes, for some reason my breathing increased and almost became involuntary, then a huge wave of energy erupted throughout my entire body. It felt like a cross between paralysis and being electrocuted but in a pleasant albeit still shocking way. This lasted for about 5-10 minutes, it left me feeling exhausted and slightly dazed but at the time a satisfying feeling of elation emergered. 

I have felt "kundalini" energy before during meditation but nothing of this magnitude, I couldn't even flex my fingers when it was in full flow. Safe to safe I'm totally convinced of the power of these exercises, I've already noticed a lowering of anxiety and increasing feelings of relaxation in social situations. It's also made me realise just how much of an effect social conditioning has had on me in terms of repressing feelings and emotions. It feels like breaking free from a prison that I've wanted to escape from for years but its only now that I've been given the tools to do so!

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
9/1/14 8:42 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Try the exercises where you have to hang your head off the bed and breathe. Or, build a bioenergetic stool and do the same.

And, to introject means to adopt/absorb/copy a behavior, belief, or attitude without subjecting it to critical examination. In theory, as infants, schizoids introject a cold or hateful attitude from their mothering figure.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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9/4/14 9:07 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
This stuff sounds promising. I'm halfway through the book and started working on the breathing techniques a few days ago. I'll update if I start seeing anything~

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9/28/14 3:02 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Hi Droll,

Thanks so much for the info on Reich and other psychology guys you've been posting, I've started the regimen found in the book you posted. Thus far it's been very helpful in relieving the tension around my pelvis, sexual tension in the past presented two options for me:

1) Relax it.
2) Ignore/suppress it.

Neither of them worked, relaxing it seemed to just not do anything, and a few hours later I would "rubber-band' back into being in a state of hyper-vigilance, suppressing it seemed to just... be suppressing it.

But doing this work seems to relieve the tension, not really relieve, but it's hard to describe. I can see how my "Buddhist" practice from the past was a distortion of effort and striving, it was way too tight, perhaps even paranoid, it was probably just neurosis to be honest.

Thanks man!

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9/28/14 8:32 PM as a reply to Nik.
@faB
Thanks for posting your experience. I've gone through very similar things but haven't gotten around to posting updates. As to whether to do it before bed, I've never tried any of the breathing sessions immediately before bed so I dunno.

@James
I'm just glad people are getting some use out of this.

I want to emphasize that thinking about any of these execises as a mechnical process misses the point. While doing these exercises one should relax as much as possible and really feel the body and the emotions. With this attitude one can trust that the body will naturally remove the blocks by shaking, yawning, crying, jerking, yelling, etc. Of course, this process is gradual. Take it easy, make haste slowly, and don't freak out if you're sometimes unstable. Meet it with courage and it will pass.

Also, Buddhist practices aren't inherently tight and suppressive, but it does seem to me that many meditators practice this way. It's not necessary to practice this way.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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9/28/14 9:24 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Just updated the OP to make it more readily apparent what all this is, and to add some links

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11/6/14 10:32 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Hey guys, there's a Kickstarter campaign to fund a documentary on Wilhelm Reich. There's a lot of misinformation out there about Reich, but this documentary looks genuinely well-researched. If you have the cash and need a cause..

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/25874147/wilhelm-reich-documentary-film-project
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/25874147/wilhelm-reich-documentary-film-project

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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3/9/17 8:08 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
I have read the first 50 pages or so of Jack Willis' book, and briefly looked over the other books.
I was quite intrigued by those new ideas. However, from Willis' book I got the following impression:
-change takes time. you have to do the exercises for months to notice anything
-you don't have a say in what actually changes
-you have to be careful. It you do it wrong, you're gonna screw up yourself in bad ways. Maybe you even screw up yourself if you're doing it right in which case Willis' advice is to simply stop the exercises completely.

However, there are methods which change your character and body but without those disadvantages: (Eugene Gendlin's) Focusing, Feldenkrais' method, the Brahmaviharas...

So why would you still choose the former over the latter?

I haven't actually tried Willis' exercises yet because I already have quite an intensive practice and am somewhat wary that I will freak out if I try them emoticon
My impression is that their only advantage may be that they take little time, but I may well have overlooked something.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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11/11/14 4:51 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
 Hey, great questions. I'm no expert on any of these topics, but here goes.
-change takes time. you have to do the exercises for months to notice anything
-you don't have a say in what actually changes
-you have to be careful. It you do it wrong, you're gonna screw up yourself in bad ways. Maybe you even screw up yourself if you're doing it right in which case Willis' advice is to simply stop the exercises completely.
Yes. Short-term benefits happen, but the real benefits are in the long-term (like in meditation, weightlifting, ...)

It's true that you don't have a specific say in what changes. But, the general changes are predictable. Here are some from the OP
Relaxation, increased self-possession, increased self-expression, deeper breathing, grounding, increased feeling of emotional and bodily wholeness, increased sexual pleasure, remove 'energetic blocks', bring up and work with 'stuff'
From my point-of-view, any changes that happen as a result of becoming more intimate with one's emotions, body, and sexuality seem desirable. Similarly, any changes that happen from meditation, i.e. as a result of becoming more intimate with one's entire sensate experience (including 'mind') seem desirable.

It seems to me that Jack Willis is overly cautious; if you do a couple sessions a week your chances of flipping out are probably about equal to moderately hardcore meditation practice. I've spotted several flaws in Willis' explanations. I recommend using his techniques (that he got from Regardie), and taking everything else with a grain of salt.

Neo-Reichian techniques are so powerful (hence, dangerous) because they combine deep breathing with the direct targeting of 'character armor'.

He stated “Armoring is the condition that results when energy is bound by muscular contraction and does not flow through the body”(Reich:1936) . He saw that there existed character armouring which he defined as “the sum total of typical character attitudes, which an individual develops as a blocking against their emotional excitations, resulting in rigidity in the body, and lack of emotional contact”.  He defined muscular armouring as “the sum total of muscular(chronic muscular spasms) which an individual develops as a block against the breakthrough of emotions and organ sensations, particularly anxiety, rage and sexual excitation” (Reich:1936).

The overall effect of muscular armouring with character armouring created the individual.  Alexander Lowen, who was an associate of Reich, best summed up this overall effect as “The character of the individual as it is manifested in his typical pattern of behaviour is also portrayed on the somatic level by the form and movement of the body.  The body expression is the somatic view of the typical emotional expression which is seen on the psychic level as character. Defences show up in both dimensions, in the body as muscular armoring. ” (Lowen:1976).

I don't discount cognitive-behavioral approaches. But, it seems to me that removing chronic muscular tensions and expressing emotions in a controlled setting is more practical, more doable, and less abstract compared to revamping the thinking process. My current ideal is to do the former, and then just collect data on the cognitive-behavioral front and eventually apply CBT techniques as needed.

Hope this was helpful.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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11/12/14 5:28 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Regardie, Willis, and Lowen books for practical exercises. Hyatt practiced hypnosis and the Left Hand Path. Undoing Yourself is intended to shock you and break your set; read it as if you were trying to feed the info to your subconscious. The 'true' method is the one that has a history of results, that resonates with you, and that you stick with.

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3/8/17 11:20 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
faB:

I deleted most of my posts in the thread since they add nothing factual to the discussion and no one cares for my rants.


Actually,  I read your post before you deleted it and liked it. Yeah, I like rants. I feel they often convey precise information about one's intention, background and general ideas. Oh, and they make me laugh.

Has anyone tried to mix these exercises with Focusing? The more I think about this, the more I suspect that the Reichian body exercises may accelerate or facilitate the Focusing process.

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11/28/14 2:02 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Assuming you don't already have a debilitating psychological condition and could afford to be in an unstable transitory period I don't see a problem with autopsychotherapy. Be forewarned that I'm no healthcare professional and that it's curiously difficult to see a reality-tunnel for what it is until you're already out of the reality-tunnel. One may acclimate to a lens and not even notice they're looking through it until it's been replaced (inevitably) by another lens. Etc.

For your second question, I have no idea really. In my experience the formula of inducing deep relaxation, exciting the nervous system (through deep breathing in this case), and then eliciting a particular emotion for release could work with almost any emotion.


I'm reading Taboo: Sex, Religion, & Magick by Hyatt and Lon Milo Duquette. The title tells it all; it really hits on every major taboo I can think of. Found an interesting quote that more appropriately belongs in the Powers section, but it's relevant to the practices of this thread so here goes
It was not until the late 1970's that a plan was formulated combining bio-energetic techniques, which Regardie developed from Wilhelm Reich, the esoteric teachings of Secret Orders and Tantric practices. We believed that this "mixture" of ancient and modern wisdom would lead to the creation of the Magickal Child and Enlightenment.

...

A ROMANCE BEYOND THE ROMANTIC

The goal of "Orgastic Thunder" was made possible by techniques handed down over the centuries, as well as those developed in Secrets of Western Tantra (New Falcon Publications, 1989) and elsewhere.
Orgastic Thunder is not normal orgasm. It is an ecstasy which points its finger at Samadhi. It is a prolonged moment where the ego has wandered far away from its home.
The requirements to accomplish this are simple enough. First, the removal of the effects of repressive sexuality utilizing devotional practices. Second, the practice of certain meditations and rituals prior to and during sexual intercourse. The results are Orgastic Thunder and the creation of a Magickal vessel. The nature of the Magickal vessel can either take physical form or can remain as "spiritual energy" which can be utilized for healing, obtaining knowledge from higher sources, or as a bio-spiritual vehicle for the containment of the "parents" soul during times of danger or death.
As this process continues pre-genital intercourse is practiced which speeds up the process of de-armoring. Once the fundamental "ripples" of Kundalini begin to move, the couple begins to practice Tantric Intercourse using various symbols as they move through the Chakras.
When they have reached a certain stage of awareness they begin to circulate the energy and release it into the Sahasrara Chakra during Orgasm.
...Farout. Sounds dangerous.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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11/28/14 8:31 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
This is good stuff!

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12/1/14 6:45 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
In keeping with the marriage of Reichian and Buddhist themes:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RTCNuZSCsU

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12/1/14 6:53 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Reichian therapy, IMHO, is one of the coolest things I've found around this forum. The ideas (especially the ones posted at www.reichandlowentherapy.org) are very intuitive and make a lot of sense to me, so I find them helpful.

I'm glad you posted this stuff Droll.

Thanks,

James

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12/1/14 7:11 PM as a reply to J J.
Change A, I feel ya.

JJ, no problem. I like sharing beneficial practices that don't get enough attention. Check out that Buddhist Geeks video I linked above.


Also, that Wilhelm Reich Documentary Kickstarter that I linked here earlier somehow got funded emoticon. I have no idea how, but it did. I'm looking forward to it.

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12/2/14 9:42 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Hi community!

I have been experimenting with the introductory reichian breathing techniques.

My diaphragm is working great, however I am experiencing great amounts of tension and pain in my anterior neck muscles (SCM) once my breath rises out of the belly. 

How can I relieve this tension in my neck? 

Should I just "breathe through it"? because it is very uncomortable to try to breathe through the painful constriction. 

I also suspect that I am barrel chest type and would like to identify whether i'm stuck in fixed inhalation? 

After I vacuum my belly, things start getting very difficult and I can't feel a healthy chest breath. This is when my neck starts to hurt a great deal as the inhalation breaches upwards.

Thank you for this great thread in which I am looking forward to sharing my further experiences.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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12/3/14 8:57 PM as a reply to Ryan.
Check to see if reciting OM works. Try to recite it in different ways.

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12/11/14 7:44 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Hi,
I've been taking techniques from Hyatt and Willis for a while now and I'm happy with the effectiveness of their methods.  Alongside this I hold a few other sources of information in high regard. 

The NEW techniques described by Robert Bruce
The breathing method and dissolving methods by Bruce Kumar Frantzis
The techniques for influencing brainwaves by Anna Wise

Although all very different those with a keen eye will see the similarities.

Hope this helps.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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12/21/14 5:40 PM as a reply to Daniel Wimble.
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/5639162
Good timing.

The blog post makes some dubious statements. Like, "These exercises should absolutely be considered for use in all those contexts where people currently employ Lowen’s exercises (though not his whole framework of Bioenergetic Analysis, which he himself acknowledged did not have the clinical success he hoped for)". Gonna need a source for this. And, I have no idea what the author means by the curious phrase "anatomically informed".

Also, regardless of how you conceptualize bodywork, it works. IMO, the sexual theories of Reich and the "post-freezing response" are both applicable and have the common goal of restoring natural biological function. Lowen and Reich would probably interpret the 'freezing response' as a freezing of aggression, which is consistent with the fight-or-flight origin expressed by Levine.

BTW, I use the Willis book least these days. I mainly use it to target specific areas of the body. The Lowen exercises and Regardie relaxation routine are my main work these days. I strongly recommend the Lowen and Regardie book. At least, try the bow exercise. Have fun.

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3/9/17 8:09 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
I now took the time to completely read the Willis' book. Somehow I'm willing to give this a real try after my upcoming New Year's retreat, although I'm still skeptical about much of the content.
For example:
-Willis' digressions about the state of society seem rather ridiculous.
-I don't buy into the 'anger is the repressed emotion'-thing, which serves as a justification for the exercises which make you feel anger. Also I discover enough anger by sitting through a few Vipassana retreats, I don't think I need any more of that.
-Many of the exercises, especially the breathing thing, seem overly complicated, and hard to learn. My impression is that the Feldenkrais' method offers much better ways of learning the level of body control that Willis says is necessary. Also I'm quite bored with the 'you have to learn to breathe in the right way'-attitude. From the book I'm in no way convinced that anything about this kind of breathing is actually 'the right way'^TM.

Here is an excerpt which I guess sums up the idea of body-work quite well (ignoring hyperventilation). I wonder why it's not the first sentence in the book, but instead hidden on page 188:
The purpose of pressure is to make the muscle sore. The reason for this is
straight physiology and neurology. The body responds to
soreness in a muscle by not tensing it as much. For a day or two
until the soreness passes, the muscle does not hold its normal
level of tension. The subconscious responds to this change of
body state and attempts to adjust to the change during the dream
cycle. The gradual change in character follows.

Here's also an actual question: I'm quite puzzled about the Exercise in Chapter 21, the passive session. Isn't that just body scanning mixed with noting? Or is there a real difference? Why would it be dangerous to do that more than 2 times a week? Willis also says that meditation with focus on body sensations is in effect a passive session and must not be done if one also does the Reichian therapy exercises he presents. Come on, this is becoming ridiculous emoticon

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12/29/14 8:25 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
bernd, I-d just pick what appeals to me and leave the other stuff. This body therapy is a great gate towards change, but by no means thoroughly researched. The guys seem to include all kinds of unfounded and unproven theories. I mean just see what ridiculous and even dangerous stuff e.g. Freud had in his work. At times he treated his female patients' ovaries with Röntgen beams emoticon Still, his core idea was great, and changed the treatment of psychological disorders forever. I consider the field of body therapy to be at a stage similar to that of psychotherapy in the 20ies, 30ies in the 20th century. If I was a young scientist, I-d make that field my subject, and do serious research on it. As I-m a middle aged nobody, I just check the diff approaches, pick what works with me, and skip the rest.

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12/29/14 10:10 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
Pretty much what JoJo said.

Willis's cognitive dissonance has been discussed in this thread previously. Without going into it, IMO, use the exercises (they were developed by Regardie), heed the warnings at your discretion, and take everything else with a grain of salt or ignore it altogether.

Conscious, modulated anger is better than unconscious, unmodulated anger. Willis mentions that the exercises are about letting go of control not controlling more. After removing enough tension and a little practice you'll be able to breathe close to his recommendation without controlling.

Again, I'd really really recommend you take an hour or two to read the Regardie book and try out his simple relaxation routine. And, Lowen's exercise book is more straightforward and pragmatic than Willis's.

The passive session is powerful only if you've just finished a session of the exercises. I've found this to be true for me but not quite overwhelming.

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12/31/14 5:23 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Came across a passage in one of Stephen M. Johnson's books that I want to share. I feel this perspective is consistently overlooked
Like many therapists of my generation, I prematurely gave psychoanalytic psychotherapy short shrift and moved on to almost everything else before returning to find the great wisdom of that basic theoretical structure. My early frustrations and disappointments with psychoanalytic thought and practice were not unwarranted. Large portions of analytic writing are unnecessarily obscure, dominated by an imprecise and often archaic jargon, and full of unsubstantiated dogma.

In contrast, a number of the newer therapies, including but not limited to transformational psychology, behavior modification, rational-emotive therapy, neurolinguistic programming, Gestalt therapy, hypnosis, family and strategic therapies, are far more accessible, sensible, and productive of therapeutic results in a reasonable length of time. Yet, the theory of each of these newer approaches is incomplete and unsatisfying and the result of the work done by each is often limited, one-sided, and even short-lived. None really provides a holistic view of what human pathology is all about. They provide no owner’s manual for mental, emotional, and behavioral health and well-being. So, for the most part, each offers only a narrow view of a life process of awe-inspiring complexity and beauty.

Those who have taught me psychoanalysis in more human and comprehensible ways have helped me to see the core human issues with which we all must deal and to appreciate the ecstasy that’s possible when those issues are no longer at issue. The ego psychologists and particularly those working in object relations theory have provided a very useful sequential outline of these core issues. Though evolving from a somewhat different orientation, those who have delineated characterological theory have developed a typology involving archetypal expressions of roughly the same core issues. The understanding of these issues which persist throughout and rule adult life offers great potential for a very deep appreciation of the tragedy, irony, and pathos of existence. At the same time, this knowledge sows the seeds for appreciating how life can be full, relaxed and joyous.

Contemporary psychoanalytic thought also highlights the central role of feeling and emotion in understanding human pathology and health. Our primitive sensory system is absolutely central in the development of human problems. People do, in the layman’s words, “have emotional problems.” Though they are not the only type of mental health problem, one cannot hope to begin to understand the human condition without understanding feelings and emotionality.

Analytic developmental psychology provides its richest gift by giving us an understanding of the origins of the core human issues. These issues come from the interaction of the young child’s basic needs with his environment’s ability to adequately fulfill them. The tragic disappointments which often come out of that interaction provide the crucible in which the issue is formed. When the child’s basic needs are not met, rage, terror, and grief are the ultimate affective responses to that reality. Because the child cannot live in such a state of chronic negative emotion, a defensive structure will be created to ward off these incapacitating feelings. The particular defenses used will be a function of the severity of the trauma, the developmental level of the child, and his genetic strength or weakness. The child of five, for example, has many cognitive, behavioral and affective resources which the infant of six months does not. That difference will largely determine the defenses he chooses to avoid the affect and cope with the environment. Similarly, the development of the ego, of the self, and of the living sense will be retarded at the point at which these defenses are chosen and cemented into the character. This is the very valuable concept of developmental arrest, which will be outlined much further in this text. This is the essential analytic perspective which I find gives an understanding of life and human pathology missing almost everywhere else.

If one reads between the lines or is taught by more evolved analytic therapists, one can derive a model of positive mental health from this theory. Yet, the psychoanalytic and particularly characterological labels for characteristic adaptations are singularly negative and pathological; there is relatively little emphasis on where the absence of pathology will lead. There is little attention paid to what we really could be, and none to what this melodrama of life is all about. In traditional characterological terms, one has the choice of being one of the following or something equally horrible: oral, schizoid, masochistic, psychopathic, narcissistic, rigid, hysterical, obsessive-compulsive, etc. While, of course, we need to label psychopathology to communicate and think about it in a systematic way, these labels are, unfortunately, often powerful negative suggestions that convey judgmental attitudes and further separation between those whom one considers healthy and those whom one considers sick. By now, we have enough research on the effects of negative labeling to be very concerned about the effect on ourselves and others of using these pejorative words. While I feel I must use them here because it seems necessary to relate this book of integration to the larger field to which it owes so much, I do so reluctantly. I will attempt to develop a more sympathetic and communicative orientation to the labeling process. As a beginning, I will focus labeling on the etiological traumas which caused the core issues. I hope this will stimulate more sympathy for our own and others’ problems than do the labels based on the typical consequences of these etiological factors. Orality, for example, is developed as a response to neglect, abandonment, and the demand, either implicit or explicit, that the infant grow up too soon. To see a person as one dealing with the consequences of that history will do more, I think, to stimulate a healing response in another than will a focus on the often-demanding, whining, sucking, and placating behavior associated with one possible adaptation to such a history.

Finally, we all need to pay more attention to what is possible for people. Do even the classically trained analysts have a deep understanding of what a genital character with firm object constancy acts like? And even if they do, does this explain all of the richness and complexity and beauty that is possible for people? Perhaps if we pay more attention to where we are going we might have a better chance of getting there.

Many of the newer approaches to psychological healing have even less to say about this than do the psychoanalytic schools. The behaviorists and the cognitive therapists have, it seems, almost nothing to say about it. Primarily, one must turn to the “third force”—the humanists and the experiential therapists —to find someone giving attention to this question. Many therapists, especially those trained in the scientific, hard-nosed tradition, find a great deal of writing in this area to be so much cotton candy—nonspecific, unsubstantiated, and romantic. I have had this experience on many occasions and have sought to find another way. I believe that object relations theory and character analysis can help with this, in that they give us a greater appreciation of what our innate human needs are. Thus, they suggest more specifically what the person whose needs have been and are being met will look like. In addition, the joys of the schizoid’s evolution will differ from the joys of the rigid’s growth in ways that can be concretely described. Explication at this level will be largely the focus of my discussion of that issue. In this way, I hope to escape glowing descriptions of human nirvana while still attending to the objective of positive human health.
...

The Reichian and bioenergetic schools have become the most active in pursuing characterological notions, and I believe they provide the richest contemporary exposition of this focus. Both because of the unusual ideas embraced by Reich in his later life, and the unusual techniques of Reichian and bioenergetic therapy, the valuable contributions of these characterological views have often been written off or ignored in more “traditional” or “respectable” circles. I think this is extremely unfortunate because in all my explorations and meanderings through everything from classical analysis to “radical” transformational movements, I have found nothing of more value.


One can dismiss all of Reichian and bioenergetic technique and still learn from the rich theoretical structure, which offers an understanding of the underlying human conflicts in their typical characterological resolution. Where object relations theory offers much in understanding the natural ego evolution of the human being, contemporary characterological theory offers an equally powerful understanding of the evolution of basic human needs and the core affective consequences involved when those needs are frustrated or unmet. By combining these insights concerning cognitive development and affective experience, a more holistic and structural understanding of human functioning and pathology becomes possible. Through this, I have come to a much fuller grasp of what is essentially going on with any individual client than ever before. It is this deep and increasingly calm knowledge of the human condition which I wish to share.


RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/5/15 2:11 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
Willis does get a little complex. That's a fair criticism. For that reason I like to supplement with Regardie's relaxation techniques (that I've just added a link to) and some bioenergetics. I'm also collecting different bodywork techniques and I'm going to experiment with them all to see if I can reach a synthesis or make a better comparison. My to-try queue right now is: hatha yoga, tai'chi/qigong, and Rolfing. If I'm missing any good ones I'm very open to suggestions. I'm also experimenting with Taoist sexual techniques as presented by Mantak Chia. I'll post this in my practice thread later.

That learning to allow stuff is really something. Related to that and dreaming, here's a dream I had last night

I woke up in my dream and remembered that I have a baby. The baby's cute and I love him, but I'm panicking because I'm so young and I feel trapped. My girlfriend comes home and we argue; I'm letting out my frustration for lost youth in the fight. I know I'm resenting the baby, but I feel guilty because I also love him. I go into my room and hit my bed with a tennis racket to let out the frustration. At first the movement is controlled, but soon the anger takes over and I'm striking in a frenzy, yelling things.

I woke up to profound relief that I don't have a baby. It dawned on me that that exact situation is a common way the schizoid structure forms and is probably the exact way mine did. Even trippier, just yesterday I turned the very young age that my dad was when I was born.


Controlling an expressive movement and then hitting upon the real affect and it taking over is exactly what it feels like. But that allowing-it-to-take-over part can take some real trust.

Also, I know what you mean with that letting the belly out thing. You begin to realize that the societal ideal of a flat stomach as sexy is crazy. Relaxed stomachs aren't flat, and a sucked in stomach inhibits deep breathing and sexual pleasure; there's no way around it. Walking around and noticing how people breathe, stand, and walk can be very depressing when you know what to look for

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/22/15 7:56 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Nice man. Keep it up and post your experiences. There aren't many people doing this that post about it, so it gets lonely.

I would advise you to keep up on the basics, but I do the same kind of mixing so w/e.

Don't worry about monitoring changes or scripting yourself. It'll creep up on your regardless. If you start getting intense anxiety, just wait a few more days until doing the exercises again. Two times a week is a fine pace.

I've also been wondering lately about the tongue position. Lowen mentioned that the tongue cleaved to the roof of your mouth is indicative of tension. But, then again, the Taoists believe placing your tongue on your palate completes some kind of energetic circuit. Dunno. Just notice if you're moving your tongue or tensing it as you breath. Same with the jaw (I do this badly, still).

I think in the beginning it's fine to control a bit to get deeper breathing and so achieve hyperventilation. At first this caused me and someone I know to get the giggles. IIRC, Willis mentioned that's a common response as the superficial armoring is loosened. Doesn't happen anymore.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/24/15 2:58 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Droll Dedekind:
There aren't many people doing this that post about it, so it gets lonely.
Guilty as charged. This thread inspired me to try Reichian therapy, which to me so far seems to be the most promising method to happiness independent of conditions, so the least I can do is summarize my experiences with it:

Last spring I did 3-4 months of Willis' daily exercises, minus the parts about evaluating the stranger in the mirror and relating it to one's childhood, which I distrusted as too cerebral, plus I'm lazy. I also did the proper breathing, but only on my first session ever did I make it to the full hour. Each session after that, I kept losing consciousness after 20-30 minutes, and continuing the breathing upon return of consciousness only resulted in repeated loss of consciousness. So, in order to approach my goal of two hours of breathing per week total, I split each breathing session into separate days, for a total of 3-4 days a week. For the final month or so I included the eye and forehead exercises into my breathing routine. All the while, I had a nearly daily routine of 3-20 minutes of some form of meditation involving acceptance, compassion, and/or gratitude, in rhythm with the breath and bowing forward, and sometimes involving recitations.

Effects which I remember noticing during this time were as follows:
- a more expressive laughter
- a few nights or early mornings of experiencing slowly intensifying and spreading muscle tensing in most of the body, followed by intense shaking
- a change of lifestyle from comfortable but uninspiring to riskier and more engaged, including doing some things I thought I'd probably never do, or which I had never seriously considered
- still, a repeated fear of doing the breathing exercise and vaguely defined anxiety in my daily life, which was the main conscious reason for me stopping the therapy. Also, I grew averse to a big contradiction in Willis' book: This therapy is supposed to be about letting go and trusting one's body, and yet the tone of the book suggests it's author is a control freak. Since I too am a control freak, I figure the last thing I need is to absorb more of that attitude.

Fast forward to 3 weeks ago, when Droll's posts lead me to read Lowen's manual on bioenergetic exercises and, inspired by the book's gentle and straightforward style, I decided to try Reichian therapy again. I have since done daily a minute of the Bow, then a minute or two of Grounding, and, about every other day for the last week, the bioenergetic stool exercises. To counterbalance the expected restlessness, I have also daily done a few minutes to sometimes an hour of aforementioned calming meditations.

Effects during these 3 weeks, especially the last week, have been as follows:
- vaguely defined anxiety and bursts of anger
- daily or more frequently occurring, spontaneous, slow but intense making of faces, especially raising of the forehead followed by tensing of muscles in the throat (it's been about 8 months since I last did any exercises involving the making of faces)
- spontaneous chanting for a few seconds at a time
- subtle, short-lasting spasming and vibrations here and there, especially in varying parts of the face
- a few nights of waking up to slowly growing tension of hand muscles, on one occasion slowly spreading to most of the body and followed by intense shaking
- increased and sudden sleepiness during the daytime, usually an hour or so after doing the exercises
- short-lasting itching, tingling, burning and pulsing sensations in the middle of the forehead. The last time I had such sensations was when I did spinal breathing as described on AYPsite.org, a technique which included visualizing and feeling that part of the body
- probably other effects as well, which I'm too tired to think about now
- EDIT: sitting still now feels easier and more pleasurable
- EDIT: an increase in awareness of bodily tensions, especially in the neck and head

All in all, seems to me like Lowen's exercises are nuclear-powered. Mainly just fireworks, or laying the groundwork for deep awareness, I cannot yet say. But seems better than the other methods I've tried, so onward I go.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/24/15 3:06 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
I, too have for the last 3-4 months, for the first time in memory, experienced a near absence of thoughts about sex. As this is such a dramatic contrast to my previous thought patterns, I find this to be possibly the most useful and relieving change I have experienced in my life since starting a nearly daily routine of meditation and/or other therapy about a year and a half ago. For this relief I often feel spontaneous gratitude.

Hard to say how much of this change is due to Reichian therapy. I had stopped doing any regular meditation or therapy about 2 months before I noticed this reduction, but before that, the core of my practice was Willis' methods for 3-4 months daily. As those methods had shown other, more concrete effects than any other methods which I had previously tried, I wouldn't be surprised if they were also mainly responsible for the near vanishing of sexual thoughts.

Of course, it is also possible that it was the stopping of regular practice, or the change in attitude which allowed such a relaxation, which made possible this reduction in obsessive thoughts.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/24/15 4:14 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Undoing yourself, from OP:
Step VI. Leg Stretch — Lying down on your back, hold your legs about 4 inches off the ground and stretch outward. Hold this as long as you can then let them drop. Repeat this 2-3 times.


The instructions in method I of 'Undoing yourself' are a bit imprecise. Here's a question: do you hold both legs off the ground and stretch them at once or do you do it with one in the air and the other one on the ground?

Also, today I tried Lowen's basic grounding and bow/arch exercises.
I got some coarse trembling in my legs, and some tension in the back was released, but came back about 5 seconds after the exercise. Somehow I don't find these exercises convincing. However, their advantage may be that you can do them anytime during the day because you can do them standing.
Does someone have experience where these exercises lead to if done for a longer time? My impression is that they're less powerful than Hyatt's/Willis' exercises, but I may be wrong about that.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/24/15 3:52 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
Hey guys,
I've only skimmed this thread so I may have missed a reference, but are you familiar with Bruce Frantzis?
I've been reading his book Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body and there is some info in there that directly addresses a lot of the less comfortable symptoms that are being described here
Taoism (and Bruce's lineage it seems) is by far the most familiar with energy bodies, chakras, chi, breathing, prana and the like. Many systems have been codified and refined for many centuries (even millenia)
Bruce describes Taoist teaching (as has been discussed on the DhO previously by other contributors) that shaking, making faces, depression and anger, hearing voices, seeing lights and angels and demons etc etc is a result of imbalanced practice. Basically that the energy that is being cultivated in one part of the body is out of alignment with the amount of energy in another part, resulting in blockages that cause all sorts of weird shhh (I know a lot of this weird shhh from my own experience so I'm getting into Qi Gong).
You can buy the book to read more (or check it out from the library like I did bc I'm a cheapskate) but basically dry Vipassana practitioners and most likely even pure shamatha people that sit for hours on end are developing their upper energy centers more than their lower centers and things can go haywire. In Taoism the three dantiens are energy 'storage centers' (different from chakras that move and transmit energy but no 'storage') located in the gut, the chest and the forehead. When unbalanced (or when auxiliary channels have not been cultivated sufficiently through methodical work to build up energy capacity) blockages cause all sorts of things (symptoms)
In my view (and I believe others have this view and I borrowed it) the Dark Night, Kundalini symptoms and all the less enjoyable side effects that are being described on this thread and elsewhere are the result of energy blockages and ultimately improper practice and are not necessary for progress and purification
Lot's of this stuff is mostly old hat to many of you (so please excuse me if that is the case) but if your mind ever got blown after realizing how vast and profound the Buddha Dharma is as it pertains to life, the reality of existence and the jhanic states of consciousness etc, you may be equally blown away by the in depth knowledge that Taoism has about cultivating health, balance and energy work in general - it is vast
Also similarly to Buddhism (and Kundalini yoga and etc) there are many many practitioners and teachers out there that are just scratching the surface at best, teaching visualization techniques and getting into very New Agey flowery Orientalism and really don't know what they're talking about and shouldn't be teaching at all. Then there are those very few that are going deep with it. It seems that Qi Gong (I know many here practice it already) and more specifically or accurately Neigong, are peas and carrots when combined with Vipassana - especially awareness of bodily sensation practice. It dawned on me that Goenka (U Ba Khin) was really teaching (at least on the 10-day course) Vipassana and Qi Gong mixed together in a very effective way. The big problem is no one on Goenka courses really knows what they're teaching or has sufficient knowledge of the energy bodies to be teaching that technique in the first place. Applying awareness for any length of time in the wrong location or in the wrong direction etc can have detrimental effects - sometimes very serious ones that take a lot more work to fix than it took to F- up. Best to know what you're doing, start slow (as you guys know) and proceed cautiously and conservatively. Seemingly non-strenuous practices, especially when done with a concentrated clear mind, can be very powerful in small doses
Taoism teaches that there is no reason why the spiritual path can't be comfortable and balanced, heartwarming and joyful all along the way. But some real knowledge and balanced practice is needed to make it so

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/24/15 6:01 PM as a reply to Daniel - san.
I was researching Frantzis a couple weeks ago and I looked through some of this books. They look solid but when I watch videos of Frantzis I totally get a psychopathic vibe. That's just my own sense, so see for yourself. Here are a couple vids of Bruce and a couple vids of Lowen. Playing a lil of my guy vs. your guy tbh emoticon

Frantzis 1
Frantzis 2
Lowen 1
Lowen 2

Lowen seems to me much warmer, happier, and loving. Clearly even if Frantzis is a total psychopath that doesn't necessarily void the value of his writings. I'd just like to point this out. Pls don't kill me Bruce

Also, with respect to the Dark Night, I agree with you to an extent. I more or less agree with what Bruce said in this interview with the Tao Bums
Is it possible that the Water Method "flattens" the peak and pitstages in the Buddhist path, named "Arising & Passing" and "The Dark Night of the Soul"?

What you can say is maybe. Water methods, because of the way in which they’re done in general, don’t go to radical extremes, and as such, smooth out the peak and valley stages but no method of spirituality can completely flatten these out. Let’s just say that the spiritual manic-depression cycles that people get when they rise so high on inner experiences getting charged up and then go the other way to crash down, all have a dark night of the soul or similar. How this happens is all dependentupon what is inside someone’s internal matrix. As a general proposition Water methods are a smoother ride, but I wouldn’t say that it or anything else can completely flatten the peak and valley stages. The Water method is a smoother ride because of its emphasis on moderation, it tends not to push the system to a breaking point which many Fire methods do.


Comparing Reichian/bioenergetics with hatha yoga, taichi, etc is a huge topic so I'll do my best to summarize my current understanding. Bruce had a chart in one of his books comparing taichi with hatha yoga and I was considering adding a column for Reichian and bioenergetics. I just might do that after making this post.

The emphasis in bioenergetics and neo-Reichian is disinhibiting archaic affect (esp. anger/rage, fear/terror, sadness, and sexual feelings) and restoring motility and feeling in the associated parts of the body. Among the ultimate goals are -- the ability to feel and express the full spectrum of affect, deeper/fuller breathing, feeling of bodily integrity, ability to surrender to the pleasurable sensations and muscular contractions at the climax of loving sex, etc. Bioenergetics and neo-Reichian methods are reasonably well-integrated with Western psychology through Lowen's work and Stephen M. Johnson's work (characterological developmental).

It's likely the case that Taoist methods are more advanced in subtler internal ways as a result of being so historically well-developed. But, I wouldn't recommend dismissing the value of neo-Reichian/bioenergetics. It seems to me that because of the integration with Western psychology and the emphasis on affect, results can be achieved much faster. For example, through simple observation and a few questions a trained bioenergetic therapist could see that someone has a basically schizoid character style. Then, the therapy would focus on bringing out rage and fear, integrating the various parts of the body through expressive movement, improving coordination, and analyzing the typical schizoid defense mechanisms, memories, games, scripts, etc. I'll claim that radical results in that case will be achieved much faster than if that person were to do just taichi or hatha yoga (though doing a combination would be a bonus). This isn't to say that therapists familiar with these techniques are easy to find. Also, afaik Taoist methods don't have ways of working with the jaw and face. Not sure about this though.

I think an overemphasis on balance could serve to prolong underlying psychological issues. Also, there are lessons you can learn from imbalance that are hard to get elsewhere.

I'm definitely not discounting Taoist methods here. In fact, if you've got some good sources to recommend I'm interested :3

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/24/15 6:18 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Reading ya'lls experiences has been fun. If any more lurkers are out there that have tested the methods, feel free to post.

Couple general comments.. Don't discount other methods, psychological, meditative, or otherwise. Both Hyatt and Regardie were trained in Freudian, Jungian, Reichian, hypnosis, meditation, and Golden Dawn methods (esp. Middle Pillar ritual, invented by Regardie). They didn't dogmatically assert that just neo-Reichian methods work.

Lowen's and Stephen M. Johnson's books are really a must for understanding how these techniques can be used as part of a more holistic psychological system. I saw one reviewer call one of Johnson's books a buried treasure. I emphatically agree. See my reply to Daniel for a bit more on this.

Ignore Willis on why these methods work and probably skip over his cognitive section. The Willis book is only useful (IMO) because it has the methods he got from Regardie.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/24/15 9:38 PM as a reply to Daniel - san.
Daniel Leffler:
It dawned on me that Goenka (U Ba Khin) was really teaching (at least on the 10-day course) Vipassana and Qi Gong mixed together in a very effective way.


Daniel, can you eloborate on this?  I'm pretty familiar with Goenka's teachings, but not much with Qi Gong in depth (though it's not a blank page).  Thanks.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/25/15 9:11 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Droll Dedekind:
Ignore Willis on why these methods work and probably skip over his cognitive section. The Willis book is only useful (IMO) because it has the methods he got from Regardie.
I'm genuinely interested here: What, in your opinion, did Willis get wrong?
Do you dislike his focus on character instead of emotions? Do you have doubt about the 'basic statements about the world' from the cognitive section?

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/25/15 9:38 AM as a reply to bernd the broter.
Avoiding 'right' or 'wrong' I'll say Willis's explanations are not as useful as others. IIRC, he didn't provide any coherent theory as to why bodywork works. Saying it causes character change is hand-wavy and unhelpful. He makes some inaccurate statements about Reich and Lowen. And, his cognitive section is incomplete, lacking a developmental model in particular.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/25/15 8:53 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Droll Dedekind:
I was researching Frantzis a couple weeks ago and I looked through some of this books. They look solid but when I watch videos of Frantzis I totally get a psychopathic vibe. That's just my own sense, so see for yourself. Here are a couple vids of Bruce and a couple vids of Lowen. Playing a lil of my guy vs. your guy tbh emoticon

I wouldn't go up against Frantzis, he may just decide to rip your kindneys out emoticon


Frantzis 1
Frantzis 2
Lowen 1
Lowen 2

Lowen seems to me much warmer, happier, and loving. Clearly even if Frantzis is a total psychopath that doesn't necessarily void the value of his writings. I'd just like to point this out. Pls don't kill me Bruce


Agreed - your guy wins, much more likeable. I didn't get the pycho vibe from Bruce though, just that he seemed not very calm and somewhat arrogant. I understand the idea that spiritual teachers (or artists or politicians or...) can be total whackos and still have something extremely useful to say is a perfectly acceptable pretense (I'm thinking Chogyam Trungpa, Osho and Adi Da now) but for someone that's going to help me dissect my psyche into tiny little lego blocks and help put me all back together again, I prefer someone I can relate with and warm up to - so I'll check out more Lowell. Goenka had that effect on me on my first retreat - he seemed to radiate love and joy and serenity - from the TV!, it was tangible. I've heard he has the opposite effect on some
Couple of notable things from the Lowen vids:
He says that in order to feel your body, one must move. He also says that emotional feelings (sensations) are beyond consciousness. One thing that blew me away about Goenka taught Vipassana practice is that I could finally feel my feelings. My aha moment seemed really retarded later (uh, that's why they're called 'feelings' Einstein). I guess it says more about our disconnected and busy culture that we don't know that in general as a population. All one needs to do is practice some Qi Gong or (even better) do a Goenka retreat, and it's clear that emotional feelings can be made conscious, and one can feel the entire body while perfectly still. That takes training obviously


Also, with respect to the Dark Night, I agree with you to an extent. I more or less agree with what Bruce said in this interview with the Tao Bums
Is it possible that the Water Method "flattens" the peak and pitstages in the Buddhist path, named "Arising & Passing" and "The Dark Night of the Soul"?

What you can say is maybe. Water methods, because of the way in which they’re done in general, don’t go to radical extremes, and as such, smooth out the peak and valley stages but no method of spirituality can completely flatten these out. Let’s just say that the spiritual manic-depression cycles that people get when they rise so high on inner experiences getting charged up and then go the other way to crash down, all have a dark night of the soul or similar. How this happens is all dependentupon what is inside someone’s internal matrix. As a general proposition Water methods are a smoother ride, but I wouldn’t say that it or anything else can completely flatten the peak and valley stages. The Water method is a smoother ride because of its emphasis on moderation, it tends not to push the system to a breaking point which many Fire methods do.


Very interesting, didn't know he was interviewed by the Bums. I'll modify my idea that the Dark Night and practice related energy imbalances are completely avoidable and decide to call them workable, or modifiable. This is coming from someone that's been dealing with all sorts of weird and wild kundalini symptoms for over seven years, so I need to avoid any of Lowell's practices that involve adding more energy to the system and just work on dissolution of what's coming up automatically on it's own. I tried a little EFT once and it clogged me up even more - body work in general can be bad with someone that's got K squirming through their pathways 24/7 - purification seems to be already happening naturally on auto pilot here

It's likely the case that Taoist methods are more advanced in subtler internal ways as a result of being so historically well-developed. But, I wouldn't recommend dismissing the value of neo-Reichian/bioenergetics. It seems to me that because of the integration with Western psychology and the emphasis on affect, results can be achieved much faster.

No dissing here - I'm intrigued, and I have more reading to do. The claim of faster emotional release is suspect to me though as my current philosophy sees us all as uniques beautiful snowflakes and to each his own. Still, I see more similarities than differences. When asked what one thing he would teach to Americans in order to be healthier, Frantzis said, breathing. Taoist breath work is pretty deep, and I learned on my own experientially on a Goenka retreat that the breath pulls heavy sensations up from the depths, in my case from my heart area

I think an overemphasis on balance could serve to prolong underlying psychological issues. Also, there are lessons you can learn from imbalance that are hard to get elsewhere.

I think this is a profound statement that many MCTBers abide by, and I think it's true
We develop in hell not in heaven I guess. Bummer

I'm definitely not discounting Taoist methods here. In fact, if you've got some good sources to recommend I'm interested :3

Cool - I'm in the beginning of my work that started when Pawel posted a link to Robert Bruce's online book called New Energy Ways about simple energy work practices. Of course not a Taoist, but talk about an 'interesting' dude (I'm practicing Right Speech these days). He's also really into Astral Travel, OBEs, and banishing demonic entities from people's body and homes - a notable method from another of his books involves strewing garlic all around your house to keep meanies you can't see at bay - and don't forget some choice cloves in your socks! That's true. There may be a section on how to craft a functional yet stylish tin foil hat too, not sure, didn't make it past the garlic. Still, his method is powerful, simple, and extremely similar to Goenka-taught Vipassana method

@carrot top: I don't wan't to hijack Droll's thread with a bunch of Goenka v. Qi Gong talk, I addressed some of it here. If you've done Goenka retreats, check out Robert Bruce's online essay above and you can see many similarities for yourself. Granted, Rob Bruce is not a Taoist (he's an Aussie haha) but clearing the pathways in his teaching is very accessible and beyond similar to some Qi Gong teachings. I say it's the same thing as Qi Gong means energy work (in ancient Oriental spiritual talk) and that's exactly what he's concerned with. I'm happy to say more if you PM me or start a new Qi Gong v. Goenka Vipassana thread, could be interesting

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/26/15 10:48 AM as a reply to Daniel - san.
Daniel Leffler:

Still, I see more similarities than differences. When asked what one thing he would teach to Americans in order to be healthier, Frantzis said, breathing. Taoist breath work is pretty deep, and I learned on my own experientially on a Goenka retreat that the breath pulls heavy sensations up from the depths, in my case from my heart area
One of Lowen's central areas of focus, in his The Way to Vibrant Health: A Manual of Bioenergetic Exercises, seems to be the freeing of the breath. Though Lowen does not recommend doing breathing exercises per se, but instead putting the body into postures where the muscles involved in breathing relax by themselves. Yesterday I did his bioenergetic stool (basically a modified kitchen step stool) exercises for the 4th or 5th time ever, which I think were the main reason for me again waking up in the middle of the night to experience slowly growing tensions and pulsations in varying parts of the body, this time lasting for about 2 hours. Whether that's a good thing, I don't know, but it seems that practices with concrete effects, even if they're just side effects, keep me motivated. Maybe this is one reason why many people prefer the rough ride of, for example, dry vipassana to a more balanced approach. Plus I suspect a lot of people have deeply embedded ideas, even if they've rejected such ideas on a intellectual level, of original sin, guilt, or some such and needing to be punished to be worthy of happiness.

About Qi Gong I know next to nothing, but I have briefly tried some of Robert Bruce's methods. His latest book on energy work is called... well... Energy Work. Very practical, and I recall in it being no mention of garlic-based defenses or tin foil hats. Tactile imaging I think is what he calls the central method of his book, which he claims to have invented: Basically using an imaginary pair of hands to touch various parts of the body in various motions for healing purposes. I stopped doing his practices because I didn't have patience for freeing up auxiliary channels before moving on to the central ones. Screw balance: Full speed ahead! Like the Titanic.

Actually, I do aim for some grounding, for example with meditations of compassion and letting go, plus physical exercise.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/26/15 8:03 PM as a reply to Sakari.
Sakari:
Yesterday I did his bioenergetic stool (basically a modified kitchen step stool) exercises for the 4th or 5th time ever, which I think were the main reason for me again waking up in the middle of the night to experience slowly growing tensions and pulsations in varying parts of the body, this time lasting for about 2 hours. Whether that's a good thing, I don't know, but it seems that practices with concrete effects, even if they're just side effects, keep me motivated. Maybe this is one reason why many people prefer the rough ride of, for example, dry vipassana to a more balanced approach.

You like the drama huh? ;)

About Qi Gong I know next to nothing, but I have briefly tried some of Robert Bruce's methods. His latest book on energy work is called... well... Energy Work. Very practical, and I recall in it being no mention of garlic-based defenses or tin foil hats.

Tin foil hats was a joke but the thing about putting loads of garlic in your socks to ward off malevolent beings was for reals. It's in his psychic self defense book

Tactile imaging I think is what he calls the central method of his book, which he claims to have invented: Basically using an imaginary pair of hands to touch various parts of the body in various motions for healing purposes. I stopped doing his practices because I didn't have patience for freeing up auxiliary channels before moving on to the central ones. Screw balance: Full speed ahead! Like the Titanic.

Actually, I do aim for some grounding, for example with meditations of compassion and letting go, plus physical exercise.

I've read in quite a few places that the reason for tremors and shaking (and it can get very intense believe me) is due to auxiliary channels not being developed well enough to handle the amount of energy moving through. This makes intuitive and experiential sense to me - I would err on the side of balance. On the long and winding path of mind body and spirit development I'd prefer tickets to another ship rather than the Titanic, I've had enough drama in my path - but to each his own. Just be aware that things can get extremely intense and not just in the realm of sensations. People that have overdone energy work are subject to 'Qi Gong sickness' and can get severely depressed and stressed out, hear demonic voices, see dead people and lose their ability to function in society in general, sometimes for years and years on end. IMO better to err on the side of caution, you could honestly regret things later as the genie doesn't really want to go back inside the bottle. Not being melodramatic, I've experienced a lot myself and read about loads of cases far worse than mine 

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/26/15 10:32 PM as a reply to Daniel - san.
Daniel Leffler:

@carrot top: I don't wan't to hijack Droll's thread with a bunch of Goenka v. Qi Gong talk, I addressed some of it here. If you've done Goenka retreats, check out Robert Bruce's online essay above and you can see many similarities for yourself. Granted, Rob Bruce is not a Taoist (he's an Aussie haha) but clearing the pathways in his teaching is very accessible and beyond similar to some Qi Gong teachings. I say it's the same thing as Qi Gong means energy work (in ancient Oriental spiritual talk) and that's exactly what he's concerned with. I'm happy to say more if you PM me or start a new Qi Gong v. Goenka Vipassana thread, could be interesting

Okay, I will look into Bruce, garlic socks and all.  Thanks.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/27/15 3:30 AM as a reply to Daniel - san.
Daniel Leffler:

You like the drama huh? ;)

I like to think that I don't. But if it walks like a duck...

Maybe it's because I feel like I don't have many other things going on in my life, or even that I should have, that makes me impatient in the awakening game.

The tremors and shaking I've experienced from Reichian techniques have been mostly modest and easily controllable: I just switch my posture, and they stop. All in all, in the last year and a half that I've been practicing Reichian, meditation and such methods I've become happier and more functional.

Though I generally seek to avoid extremes, it's hard to know what's good in the long run: The Buddha abandoned his family, and Ramana Maharshi lived in a cave for 17 years. Yet I think that their actions were ultimately for the better. But I appreciate your concern, and certainly don't seek Qi Gong sickness, nor to become the "glorious and holy wreck" or some such that MCTB uses to describe those dark nighters who try to justify their misery and uselessness. That's why I don't do nearly as much Reichian as I would have the time to do, instead doing more of those things that calm the nerves. Qi Gong has intrigued me for about as long as Reichian and all of this other hippie stuff, but so far it's stayed on my long list of techniques to try.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/27/15 7:31 AM as a reply to Daniel - san.
It occurred to me that I could have ended my reply more constructively. So I now ask you, what techniques, Taoist or otherwise, have you found most helpful in dealing with your Kundalini overload symptoms? You mentioned Robert Bruce and that scarier Bruce and some of their writings, but more specifically what would you recommend to maintain or regain balance? With what exercises have you gotten the most help per hour spent learning and doing? Frankly, I'm probably not going to get around to seeking a Qi Gong healer, so let's stay on the do-it-yourself-methods, if possible.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/27/15 3:27 PM as a reply to Sakari.
@Daniel
I think Lowen was pointing out that there's a surface component and deeper component to emotions. The surface component being the sensations, and the deeper component being the cognitive aspect triggering the sensation(?). His example with love illustrated this. You can certainly feel the sensations of love, but you can't always trigger them or even know why they were triggered.

Don't worry about hijacking the thread. This thread's been a Western Bodywork thread w/ kundalini chat for a long time now. A mod should probably move it to the bodywork section and I'll retitle it.

Speaking of off-topic, Fritz Perls was intense. He acts like my ideal of a classical philosopher. He was influenced by Zen, general semantics, and Wilhelm Reich. It shows.

I watched these last night and they blew my mind
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsZqJXf4vMI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y5tuJ3Sojc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rog0Q3-vpyg

I also took that table from Frantzis's book comparing Tai chi and Hatha yoga and added a bioenergetics/neo-reichian/core energetics column. At some level they're incomparable, but it might be useful anyway.
Here

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/27/15 5:33 PM as a reply to Sakari.
faB:
As for my opinion, to me Willis' exercises (and perhaps Lowens too, I don't know), is about releasing control. All this talk about Kundalini and moving energy, and building energy and whatnot, is about control.

That's not my experience faB (see my reply to Sakari below)
It's true that kundalini yoga and pranayama are about control, but my kundalini awakening happened in the context of a vipassana retreat and I had no idea what chakras or kundalini were at the time at all. Funny thing is when the actual event went down my mind said 'your kundalini just woke up'
Control is an interesting thing, and as someone whose mediation practice is geared toward bare awareness, equanimity and relaxation, I think it's hard if not impossible to let go of control - that's just more control (some call it ego). My current philosophy goes, that the nature of awareness itself is letting go - I let awareness do it's thing and keep relaxing into it without getting caught up in mental content. 
Whenever you're doing anything outside your ingrained habit pattern (and even then) there's an element of control. IME It's a very tricky animal

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/27/15 5:52 PM as a reply to Sakari.
Sakari:
So I now ask you, what techniques, Taoist or otherwise, have you found most helpful in dealing with your Kundalini overload symptoms? You mentioned Robert Bruce and that scarier Bruce and some of their writings, but more specifically what would you recommend to maintain or regain balance? With what exercises have you gotten the most help per hour spent learning and doing? 

Hey Sakari,
So far the best thing I have going is bare awareness meditation, complete acceptance of the present moment as it is, and release and relaxation into reality
Because I trained in Goenka Vipassana for years my mind has a natural bent toward awareness of bodily sensations - it just goes there on it's own
I haven't practiced body scanning in years (in meditation) because the efforting there is like more subtle stress to me, so I relax and allow awareness to go where it wants on it's own. It generally goes to the heart center but many times there is a diffuse knowing of the entire body, or various parts
There's no dissolving of unpleasant sensations for me though, as the heavy sensations just keep rolling through, when there are no afflictive emotions or anything, even in total equanimity
Other things I've found to help are fasting, hatha yoga inversions and running
I did a master cleanse a couple of times in the past and the unpleasant sensations all but went away
I'm not so keen on intense fasting now, and it's not sustainable, the unpleasant sensations come back when the fast is done. Now I'm losing a few pounds and lowering my bad cholesterol, so I'm on an IF diet (intermittent fasting). I've found that helps very much with blockages and heavy sensations. If you're into that google 'eat, fast, live longer' and watch the BBC produced vid that comes up - pretty cool stuff 
Breathing deeply seems to just pull more gunk up from the depths for me, dwelling in the kumbhaka (yoga speak for the gap between the inhalation and the exhalation) also clears things up. From what I've read Qi Gong prescribes never doing that, or inversions for that matter
I've tried not doing any energy work or meditation for years and it didn't help, things continued to build up and I got depressed
It gets in depth though, depending on your particular mix of baggage and issues, different areas of the body will need attention. If you are totally clogged up with heavy or painful sensations it's worth it doing foot/leg and arm/hand work per Robert Bruce's method
It seems that metta meditation and feeling love and kindness in general is very effective as well, it's like setting off a (good) nutron bomb inside you that evaporates uncomfortable sensations en masse. So don't worry be happy 
Hope some of that helps

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/27/15 5:58 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Droll Dedekind:
@Daniel
I think Lowen was pointing out that there's a surface component and deeper component to emotions. The surface component being the sensations, and the deeper component being the cognitive aspect triggering the sensation(?). His example with love illustrated this. You can certainly feel the sensations of love, but you can't always trigger them or even know why they were triggered.

ok that makes more sense Droll, thanks for clearing that up!

Don't worry about hijacking the thread. This thread's been a Western Bodywork thread w/ kundalini chat for a long time now. A mod should probably move it to the bodywork section and I'll retitle it.

Cool thanks - after I read this I replied to the other guys re kundalini and energy work. The Lowen stuff is very intriguing though, and deserves it's own thread. I look forward to studying your comparative chart and some of Lowen's work to see where things line up for me

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/28/15 2:49 AM as a reply to Daniel - san.
Hey Daniel,

Thanks for the advice. It's funny, especially in the last few months I've been doing methods very similar or identical to those you recommend: Fasting, some basic yoga postures, jogging, and meditations of compassion, gratitude and letting go. There are some good threads on this forum re (intermittent) fasting, the ketogenic diet and such for boosting concentration and insight.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/29/15 4:08 AM as a reply to Sakari.
Hi faB,

I hadn't heard about ASMR until reading the article in your link, nor do I remember having experienced any distinct, strong sensation that I could call ASMR. I know about bioenergetics only what I've experienced in the last few weeks of doing it, plus a little theory from Lowen's practice-oriented book, so I wouldn't know if ASMR is connected to bioenergetics, or Reichian generally.

I wonder if ASMR is related to how music or mantras, said outloud or only thought of, can release tensions in the body. And maybe the same mechanism that causes ASMR also causes the chills that many people get from hearing sounds that they deem unpleasant, such eating utensils scratching against ceramic tableware. I also wonder if the part of the population which has experienced ASMR, also finds it easy to get concentrated by listening to sounds around them, since concentration is often pleasurable regardless of object. And perhaps the ASMR crowd is more auditorially oriented in general.

I summary: I have no idea.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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1/29/15 5:16 AM as a reply to Sakari.
I believe this kind of tingling sensation is related to the buddhist concept of piti.
According to wikipedia, when in weak rapture, the practicioner can feel piloerection.

Personally I would say that the pleasure coming from meditation is greater than the one watching ASMR, so I would recommend focusing in meditation instead (or related techniques such as pranayama).


By the way, in a Goenka retreat I started to feel the vibration of my blood circulation in some parts of my body. Perhaps that's what you (faB ) mean, because it's indeed more subtle than goosebumps

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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2/4/15 7:28 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
I found a pack of Radical Undoing by Hyatt including CDs, DVDs, and short booklets. Most of it can be found on Youtube if you look, but if you want the whole pack message me.

I'm adding a zip of the three short booklets to the OP. They don't add much in terms of new exercises, but he does organize them into sets that you don't see in Willis. Also there's a lot of useful wisdom and info couched between plenty of cynical social criticism and rudeness. I realized Hyatt's like Jed McKenna with a psychology and occult background and without the humor.

What The Work Might Do For You

The purpose of these exercises is, in part, to Undo your unwanted habits and traits. But, more importantly, these exercises are designed to open you up to the dynamic free energy flow. You can think of these exercises and movements as stimulants for your various Chakras; or, if you wish, you can see these exercises as a precursor to the Kundalini experience. This work will lead to what Dr. Regardie and I termed the Brain Orgasm.

Many who have employed these exercises claim that they have had experiences similar to Satori or Samadhi. Whatever label you prefer, these exercises do increase the probability of your having mystical experiences. But mystical experiences similar to the great dreams of revelation are just that—experiences. They are not guarantees—for as a member of the flawed species, your dues are never paid too far in advance...

With an increase in psychic energy and more harmony between and within the unconscious, conscious and superconscious minds, you will be creating Free Space-Time

One way to understand—Free Space-Time—is to think of an empty stage where someone you don't know will put on an unknown performance, one that is unique each and every time and not contingent on the past or the future.

...


There are no answers. Not education, not law, not money, not a new religion, not food for the starving, not anything...and all attempts are simply placebos for the masses (and often make the problem worse) much as communism was the opiate for the Eastern Block.

You can't cure this disease without killing the patient -- simple as that.

If you can understand this, you will have a chance...

What you are is purely happenstantial—a function of genes and environment—and because of our inherent design flaws there will be no perfection. There are no "ought to" rules or values of what you should be—there are only rules for what you could be. However, given the design flaws and aspects of the invariant qualities of genetics and early environment, there are very real limitations. But these are fewer than you might think. For you to accomplish anything real—that is, something you admire, something with a semblance of integrity and will—you must rid yourself of your beliefs in everything: your feelings about the world, yourself and everybody in it... You must die to yourself and be re-born into Free Space-Time.

My "fix" (or better, repair) for this rather confusing and contradictory dilemma is both simple and complex: you need to transcend the humanimal condition and this can be accomplished by creating Free Space-Time both in your brain and in your personal life... When you free your body, you free your mind. You create an organic-intuitive process not weighed down by the gravity of category or concept—free to operate independent of culture, independent of family, and, most importantly, independent of your precious personality—.

Humanimal... nice

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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2/7/15 9:05 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Christopher Hyatt interview on kundalini, "Dark Night", synchronicity, Indra's web, etc.
http://youtu.be/JtNMKQo12pg?t=1h42m40s

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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2/10/15 6:37 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Which book is it? Could you post the link/title?

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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2/17/15 5:48 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Longtime lurker here, but I decided to share my experience with the Reichian techniques

I did about 2 months of the Willis technique  - about 40 mins of belly breathing and freeing the eyes/forehead. That blended into about 2 months of the Lowen technique - the arch and other things that seemed worthwhile. Both seemed to have an effect, at least immediately after finishing. Looking back, I couldnt tell however what was more effective.


Actually I also stumbled on a therapist wo specializes in body-based methods, so I took a few sessions. Interestingly we only did a few of the exercises with a lot being "only" talk therapy. Looking back it seemed like a good investment. There is something about having someone who can put the practices into context and also guiding the process to ones specific issues. For me it went pretty quickly to those topics that one would expect traditional therapy to focus on (childhood, parents, family,...). The practices then had a bit more of a personal focus.

For the German-speakers: My therapist advised to me a book, which I found really appropriate: "Hara" by Karlfried Graf Duerckheim. (So far I havent discovered an English translation on the web). While not mentioning explicitly the Reichian techniques, the connection is quite valuable, since it provides a lot of perspective. The key that I took from it was, that whatever one hopes to achieve with the practices, it can never be about "building up" something, but instead about freeing up one's being. Rooting one in larger nature of the world/existence.

Anyway, for discussion
-How do you guys see the connection with Yoga? Anyone practice Yoga and can compare?  To me, at least some of the stretches seem really similar to Lowen.

-How do you fit it together with standard vipassana practice? As in eg. "50-50 time investment"? There are so many cool practices out there, that one could spend the whole day practicing... I guess one has to decide on something ;). It seems to me that Vipassana is like the foundational practice which a) facilitates the release that the Reichian practices go for and b) Prevents new buildup of emotional guck

-How do you find out (absent a Therapist/coach), which technique benefits you most at a given point in time?

Best wishes
D

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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3/6/15 2:28 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
Nice comparison. Thanks for continuing to post about your experiments.

I haven't tried any TRE yet, but.. I was recently showing a friend of mine who does regular asanas from hatha yoga some basic bioenergetics/Reichian and it didn't seem that the yoga had removed much of his 'armor' at all. Willis writes
I already mentioned physical exercise and problems possibly associated with that work. As for Yoga, I had a patient some years ago who had trained in Yoga in India and now taught it here. For all this person's competence in Yoga, his or her (to not give out any clues as to gender) body did not show the least effect of the Yoga on any Reichian “armor.” Thus doing Yoga at the same time as this work will neither aid nor hinder the work.
                                      
This also applies to Pilattes. I had a Pilattes teacher as a patient, and, moreover, one who was formally trained. For all the training and the daily doing as he or she taught the method to others, again it made no difference in the Reichian “armor.” So Pilattes like Yoga neither helps nor harms this work.               
(I wouldn't agree that yoga doesn't affect the work at all). And, iirc, Lowen mentions in some of his books that he's had dancers, athletes, yogis, etc that still have significant 'armor'. These could all be isolated cases from selected populations but it seems plausible to me that many people from the other bodywork traditions still have most of their 'armor'. A large percentage, even. I'd bet on the taichi people to have the least 'armor'.



Hyatt published a collection of essays titled Rebels and Devils: The Psychology of Liberation in which Willis has two essays. I've picked out some quotes I like or find useful.

The Black Art of Psychotherapy by Dr. Jack Willis
...
Do you wish to move to a different plane of consciousness? Try hypnosis or alpha wave biofeedback or sodium amital or any number of emotion altering drugs. Do you wish to feel fully? Try Gestalt or psychodrama or Primal. Do you wish to probe the unknown and unknowable? Try Jungian. Do you wish a re-birth? Try Rankian, or rebirthing, or age regression (even to rebirth in former lives). Do you wish to be loved? Try Rogerian. Is death your issue? Existentialist therapy awaits. Or, perhaps you want better sex or mind-body unity? Try Reichian, Bio-energetics, Feldenkrais, Rolfing or Alexander technique. For every passion there is a therapy, and for every therapy there is a passionate following. What to do? What to do? We will return to that, too. There is an answer.
...
No two people are alike. A photograph as art can be duplicated an infinite number of times. Similarly an etching. A bronze can be recast. But people are ever unique and ever changing. The interchange between therapist and student is a ballet. Is there a leader and a follower? There can be; there doesn’t have to be. But one thing of this dance is certain: if the therapist can only dance to his own tune, if he is committed to a school and a technique irrespective of the student, then the ballet will be an awkward and even disastrous performance.

How then does the student choose a teacher? How can you judge your teachers artistic sensibility? I will answer the choice of teacher question here and wait until later to address the question of his artistry. The answer to choosing a teacher is easy, if not obvious. There are two question to ask: (1) what is your objective and (2) what is your time line. Put it this way: if you exercise, do you want a little workout once or twice a week or do you want to really tone your muscles? Do you want to exercise until you loose 10 pounds, or do you want to make it a part of your life? What is your objective and what is your time line? If your objective is limited and/or you want quick answers, then choose a teacher whose method is quick and direct. Rational emotive therapy, hypnosis, cognitive-behavioral or behaviorism are good answers.

If your objective is to increase your happiness quotient, to correct your errors in living, to exorcise the daemons inside you, then choose a teacher who increases your anxiety. If your teacher promises to love you unconditionally, run. If your teacher tells you that he is problem-oriented, run. If your teacher tells you that he will deal with your emotions, but not with your thinking, run. If he says he deals with the here-and-now, not with the past, sprint. If he says he is only a (fill in the school) therapist and that is the only school he believes in, find a new teacher. There is no sense in finding a teacher of French when you are planning a trip to Germany.

But, since nothing in life is easy, if he says he is totally flexible, that he is eclectic, that he uses whatever is appropriate with no commitment to any theory, then make a mad dash. In psychotherapy, the word eclectic is often a synonym “for I don’t know the theory and I don’t know what I am doing, I just do whatever feels right.”

If your objective is long-term personal growth, then choose the teacher whose statements to you make you anxious, unsettled, nervous, unsure. Therein lies an answer.
...

As you may know, Reichian therapy is a body approach to therapy. Therefore, we get a lot of information from the physical appearance, the gestures, the voice tone, the eyes, etc. Here, then, are some tips from the Reichian couch. Your therapist should have forehead creases. They should not be permanent (a furrowed brow), they should become prominent when the eyebrows are raised and, except for the crease, disappear when the eyebrows are lowered. His eyes should be clear, very focused, and they should move easily. There should be a definite nasal-labial line (the line from the corner of the nose to the corner of the mouth). The neck muscles should not be prominent. The voice should be resonant, coming from an open throat rather than a constricted one. If he takes a big breath, both the belly and the chest should move. Of the things I have listed here, the most important is the forehead and the eyes. If his eyes are dull or they do not move easily or his forehead has no crease lines or has permanent creases, quit now. What if you have been making wonderful progress with just this kind of therapist? My suggestion: take a six-month vacation from this therapist and look into some others. The vacation will be good for you anyway and the experience of some visits to other teachers might give you some perspective on his virtues and his failings.

If you have not chosen a therapist, or if you are going to take a vacation, here is my suggestion: There are four good schools of depth therapy: psychodynamic; ego psychology (also called object relations); neo-Freudian; and Reichian. Note that the word is psychodynamic, not psychoanalysis. The foundation is the same, but the technique is very different. Notwithstanding that Jungian is popular among the readers of Falcon Press, I would urge against it. I have yet to see good results emerge from Jungian analysis. Stay as far away as possible from Primal therapy or any variant. Adlerian, in the right hands, is an acceptable alternative; but then go to someone else afterwards to get to the areas that Adlerian can not address. Bio-energetics is not bad except that you walk around angry for years, in the process losing marriages, jobs, and friends. Existentialist therapy can be done well, but it is rare. Most therapists proclaiming themselves as existentialist have not done the study necessary to make good use of the art. Existentialist is not one school; it is a whole bunch with differing degrees of worth. Of all the rest, I would say: Ignore them. They are not depth therapy, and they can not do the job you deserve.
...

Now, finally, to the most important part: YOU! Even a truly good teacher is no good if his student will not study, if his student will not do his homework. If you are not important to your self why should you be important to your therapist? Is it rational to expect that your therapist will work hard for you when you will not work hard for yourself?

Here is a statement that you have probably never heard any therapist make: the two most important qualities that you need to bring to the study are anger and courage. Anger in the form of the demand of yourself, the commitment, that you will not settle for less than you can be. You will not settle for injuring your children because you have not uncovered your own daemons. You will not settle for less productivity, less creativity, less enjoyment of the wonder of life than is possible for you to achieve. That does not mean that your goal is perfection. We leave that realm to the Gods. It does mean that however much you can uncover, understand, and correct is the minimum you will settle for and the devil take the hindmost.

Then there is courage. Daemons are scary creatures. What are your daemons? Are they depression, anxiety, anger, guilt, facing the fact that your parents are not the nice people you want them to be, realizing that you have been living your life for other people and not for yourself, realizing that you are not as important as you want to think you are, realizing that you made a bad choice in a mate, realizing that you have been pretending to enjoy sex? For all your determination to surrender the darkness for the light, you have to have the courage to stay the course, confess the big and the little, accept that you are what you are—not what you want to be, and most of all: the determination to except that the losses of your childhood are permanent losses. That last one is a biggie and it raises another factor.
...

The Virtue of Personal Liberation by Dr. Jack Willis
...

Postulate 1: The existence of choice gives rise to the necessity of a morality.
Corollary 1: The purpose of morality is to facilitate the making of choices.

Postulate 2: Children lack knowledge.

Corollary 2: While time and living will provide some of the knowledge, they need a teacher for other kinds of knowledge.

Postulate 3: Parents are the primary teachers of children.

Corollary 3: The goal of parenting is to provide knowledge to the child to facilitate the making of choices by the child.

Corollary 4: Parenting which limits, inhibits, or impedes the capacity to choose is immoral; parenting that facilitates and encourages choice is moral. QED.

...

Children can be taken advantage of, they can be misused. In the current catch phrase: they can be abused. So can adults. The difference is that children have less capacity for choice in avoiding the abuse. That means that children need to be protected, especially from public school teachers. Children can be used for sexual purposes giving their consent only because they do not realize that their consent can be withheld. They can also be used for work, giving their consent only because they do not realize that their consent can be refused. (We call that “doing your chores” or taking responsibility.) So, the issue is not that children can be abused, the issue is that we approve of some abuse and some we do not. However, in fact, all of it is of a piece, and all of it involves the use by adults of the knowledge that children lack knowledge and the ability to think at an adult level. In short, all of it involves violating the child’s ability to choose.

Beyond all that, however, there is a form of child abuse that is rampant, growing, and especially vicious. It is done by government. Doesn’t requiring a child to be in school violate the very essence of choice? Doesn’t making it a crime for children to engage in sexual activity violate the very essence of choice? Doesn’t making it a crime for a child to run away violate the very essence of choice? “Government, in the last analysis, is an agency of violence.” Violence and choice can not reside in the same moral universe. Children need special protection; government is the wrong protector.

Good to see him mention object relations. Stephen M. Johnson's work is largely based on object relations mixed with Reichian/bioenergetic insight.

The bolded bit, I believe, is particularly useful. I've been thinking a lot lately about how Reichian/bioenergetics contradicts the "can't judge a book blah blah" cliche. Unfortunately for the romantics among us this phrase needs some serious qualification.

In the Reichian book Willis didn't mention anger as one of the important factors in the work, only courage. I think Willis was writing a bit edgier for Hyatt's audience emoticon (he also mentions Crowley, Regardie, the Golden Dawn, etc).

The latter essay seems a little too sociological and moral for me, so I just included this interesting little argument. I don't think I've encountered one person who got far with Reichian/bioenergetics without feeling strongly about children's rights. I'll spare the reader my theories about why.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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3/7/15 2:22 PM as a reply to bernd the broter.
* Edit: Most importantly ! It seems to me that the trauma / tensions have always "sabotaged" my projects and motivation. It is a kind of resistance that makes it hard to commit to projects, and supports procrastination. It seems to be a long running theme in my life. Since I found Willis book in this thread I magically started to work on my projects on a regular basis. It's AMAZING for that alone. No matter how I feel (there are ups and down even with the R.T. sessions), I have been working regularly on my projects for the past 5 months. No self talk, no motivational / productivity B.S., no struggle. Just got on and worked on my websites when I had 2-3 hour simply because I wanted to, as there were no significant resistances to do so. And that is the key. All my life trying to fight some invisible enemy. All it comes down to is the resistance in the body/mind, caused by traumas which saps all the life out of you, your motivation, and your happiness emoticon


Yes, and yes, and yes,  and YES.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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3/19/15 1:51 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Awhile back I posted that I didn't think Taoists had techniques for working with the jaws/face. I was wrong.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyqMhgVNY_0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dz7ENzAKpno

His explanations might make oddball Reichian practices seem more palatable. That Youtube channel is also full of useful information, if anyone's interested.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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4/5/15 3:29 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
I found a documentary / marketing reel for Reichian Therapy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVwhJyJepHg

Interestingly I had similar reactions the last few times as the guy starting from 29:00, ie. murderous rage and completely unanticipated  terror. This stuff is so great.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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4/15/15 9:39 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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4/29/15 8:39 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Wow awesome great to see this thread still alive, and people actively experimenting with the techniques!!

I've only skimmed over the several months of replies I missed, but a couple of things:

1. Someone mentioned the tongue. Some of the Indian and Chinese systems have things about putting the your tongue on the roof of your mouth - which makes total sense within their systems and models and as applied to their work.
My learned experience over the years is that with this stuff, I'll keep the rest of my system as relatively free of tension as possible, so unless doing tongue exercises, the tongue just floats softly in the lower-jaw....
This was a key component prescribed in Christopher S. Hyatt's Undoing Yourself where he outlines an excellent series of preliminary exercises to undertaking the bodywork, one of which is to mindfully observe thought-tension correlations, especially in the areas of the tongue and jaw, where subtle tension often takes place due to sub-vocalisation.

2. The longer I do this bodywork, the less confident I feel about any theories surrounding it... Reich, Lowen, Willis (and now the most popular proponent - Elliot Hulse) all blabber out their various theories surrounding what the bodywork is, what its goals are, what its effects are, etc. Some of these may have value if taken with a tremendously large grain of salt. But I recall watching a scene from one of Hyatt's workshops a while back, it went something like this (off the top of my head):

Student X is doing one of the exercises, Student Y then asks Hyatt a theoretical question regarding the exercise and the "reichian" system as a whole, Hyatt responds "What difference does it make if I could give you explanation ABC? We can make all the nice little models and theories we like but it doesn't change a thing. If you want an answer to your question - do the exercises over and over and over again, and then come to your own conclusions"

This seems very fitting in regards to this particular body of work. Chi Gong, Yoga, etc are traditions that are thousands of years old, with hundreds of thousands of dedicated practitioners - they have the data within their own systems to draw up maps that apply to their own system.
The Reichian stuff is derived from a nutcase-genius, filtered through the souls of Magickian-Hypnotist-Therapists (Regardie, Willis, Hyatt), practiced intensively by a microscopic proportion of the population... the exciting thing about this work is that its like a baby-science. The results it produces are significantly different from Yoga, and even more significantly different from Chi Gung (someone mentioned BK Frantzis, I practiced his system for a couple of years and found it gave me almost the "opposite" results to the reichian stuff in certain ways - in short, the Reichian stuff makes me feel more alive and "real", Frantzis system just made me nicely relaxed *yawn*).

I think any new, experimental, potent "yoga" is worthy of being relieved of the conceptual prisons put-forth by previous maps and models, maybe there's some fun in occasional dot-joining... but when I get down to do a session I all I know is this:

1. Its going to be intense, any session 40+ mins ticks this every time.
2. Its going to show me things I don't currently know - about my below-the-surface-processing... my muscular tension patterns, about my deeper psychological climate, about the relationships between various muscle-groups, "energy-streams", breathing patterns, thought patterns etc.
3. Its going to produce results of some sort. Often during, and/or immediately after, or a few hours after, or the next day, or the day after that... what, when and how seems to depend on a vast number of other body-mind-lifesituation factors.
The results often include some kind of high, increased energy/awareness, but also sometimes include the arising of psychological (or should I say psycho-somatic) "stuff", often a distinctive de-fusing of areas worked, sometimes other things... but its no simple-123 predictable-mechanistic thing.

Don't know if I mentioned it before but I whole-heartedly recommend getting a trusted friend to be your practice partner - one person plays the role of the "therapist", the other does the exercises. I can't describe how much difference it makes to have an extra pair of eyes observing your technique, providing feedback as you do the exercises, massaging or tapping or stimulating certain areas as you go through the exercises. And there's an art to this which seems to develop intuitively as you work with someone.
If a one-hour session solo is worth 10 points, a one-hour session with a buddy helping is worth 16 points.

Good work to Droll for weaving together a cohesive opening post! (though I don't know why you have the emboldened statement about recklessness regarding a "mere" preliminary exercise?)  Looking forward goin back and reading in more detail peoples ideas, experiments, experiences etc.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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7/9/15 12:55 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Hey, I first stumbled upon this book several years ago. A teacher named A.H. Almaas once wrote in his book "Essence" that one can work with kundalini in a much easier and safer manner with Reichian work than the traditional yogic work. Since then I have been interested in Western Somatics. I tinkered with many approaches: Feldenkrais, Lowenian, yoga, qigong, Osho, Dr. Berceli's TRE's, rebirthing breathwork, Gurdjieff Movements(all on my own except for gigong I and the Gurdjieff Movements)... but nothing had helped me experience a sense of vigor and joy than the techniques in the Willis book. 

In 2013 I had a peak experience of joy and like a streaming of libidinal energies throughout my body. It was the felt sense of that vigor and enthusiasm that children experience. And joy has been a very difficult emotion for me to feel and integrate. 

This happened when I was following the book as described by the author. Since then I tinkered with many Lowen techniques and I played with doing several techniques for shorter time periods. Once I began doing this, I ceased feeling very different or noticing anything significant. Even when doing the breathing till almost hallucinating, it didn't seem to have lasting effects. So now I'm back to practicing this just as I was in 2013. 

There seems to be a certain amount of time, repetition and intensity required to dissolve blocks and armoring. If you do a technique for only a few minutes, it doesn't seem to do very much. I also seem to need to always begin by doing the standard breathing for at least ten minutes each session. 

I'm a psychotherapist, but not a somatic psychotherapist. I practice more emotion focused work based off the work of Dr. Fosha in an approach called AEDP-Accellerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy. It makes great use of Focusing and somatic tracking to process experience to deep states of truth called "core states." 

I would describe the Reichian work as a modern tantric practice in a similar but more psychological vein as kundalini yoga. 

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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8/6/15 8:14 PM as a reply to David.
Yeah, rebirthing specifically took Reichian breathing and made it the main practice. They also took it into an excessively new agey direction. Holotropic breathwork is similar but super intense and uses true hyperventilation. This Reichian work, although may seem wild, is rather down to earth compared to other popular breathwork approaches. 
When I began this work I used to breathe too quickly and made myself high and uncomfortable. Now I'm at 10-14 breaths/minute and let out the air on exhalations but don't pause. 

One gripe I have with both eastern and western bodywork approaches, is that the practitioners tend to interpret virtually any obvious physiological changes as signs of subtle energies. Deep breathwork of any kind changes physiology drastically, causing a host of changes, most notably respiratory alkalosis. This probably leads the way for de-repression and the remapping of the body probably changes the nature of the blocks of the energy body and all of that. People on this discussion appear rational on this subject but some approaches, such as rebirthers think any sensations are always esoteric energies. Not that I don't believe in those subtle systems, I just tend to look to physiological explanations until proven otherwise. 

On another note, I've been emailing the author of: "reichandlowentherapy.org" who is a Reichian therapist. He highly recommends both the Willis book and The Way to Vibrant Health. He does not see any hard and fast rules on how to do this work on one's own. He told me how Lowen believed that it is a life long process to chip away at the personalitie's armor system. So he didn't teach a highly systematic approach unlike many of the Reichian school. Then again, I read on some forum, somone who was supposedly emailing Dr. Willis before he died, and he said that it doesn't matter if a practitioner skips around with these techniques, after working with the forhead and eyes. 
When practicing this work, I always feel more alive and vital and spontaneous within a few weeks. But I can't say for sure exactly what is the difference that makes the difference. When I onlly practice the breathing it doesn't have the effect of the techniques. I can't either if it's the Bioenergetic or the Reichian techniques that make more of the difference. So I just practice it all.

Oh, and that author of the above website, highly recommends going through the stretching work of "Stretch Therapy" by Kit Laughlin. I practice this instead of yoga, as a corrective practice for releasing body wide tensions. The Lowen/Reich work seems to work differently, as in it gets at held "action tendencies" as the techniques tend to access the limbic brain more than any other form of bodywork. 
With this method of stretching by this Kit Laughlin, I can get into neurogenic tremors at will. I've also had powerful moments of neurogenic tremors during Reichian sessions.

I feel that the Reichian work is optimal for those of us whose affective self is turned down, as in hypoaroused, or emotionally avoidant. Then I find it opens up energy and sensation so that the sensation focused Vipassana practice I do is enhanced. 

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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8/7/15 1:57 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Hi all

I actually saw this topic and decided to create an account. Ive been meditating for about 21/2 years and its had some pretty beneficial
effects along with being much different than anything id expected. ( I was extremely skeptical and almost never started).
Anyways, I have been practicing out of the willis book as well as a few month out of Hyatts energized meditation for the last year.
Recently I discovered I was doing the breathing wrong (well not mechanically per se but I was only averaging about 5-6 breaths per min.)
I had stopped the practice from january til June due to laziness.

One night I had a dream about doing the breathing exercises and woke up feeling like it was something I had to try again. I went back ande re read
Willis' book and realized the recommended rate of breathing was 12 breaths/min. I went and did a eye/forehead session with the new breath tempo and..wow. I had a feeling of my chest being on fire after about 35 min and broke down into tears that just flowed and flowed. I didnt know what I was crying about and had no idea why, it just sort of happened, and was a great realease.. Since then Ive been practicing 2 sessions/ week along with the daily exercises. This stuff is potent. I also do some of lowens stuff mostly the bow and grounding exercise.

As someone earlier in the thread pointed out, it certainly is not an easy or totally fun filled process. While the breathing and the relaxation following sessions feels unbelievable and electric, the after effects are unpredictable. For me Ive had weeks where Ive felt bulletproof type confidence and others where I have been fearful with lots of anxiety. The thing is that its usually traceable to something in the body or something tensing or clenching. The work has allowed increased awareness of body sensations in all situations and sometimes Im able to see how ridiculous my fear or anxiety in a certain situation where there is no danger really is. Ive been at it with the proper breathing for about a month and a half so Im a beginner obviously but my intuition is telling me that this along with daily meditation can cause profound changes to someone if they stick with it.

Its awesome this is being discussed here as it gives us a sounding board to describe experiences etc with something that is pretty shrouded in mystery as far as I can tell. Anyways just wanted to chime in. I really cant explain all the effects of the reichian therapy cuz honestly the feelings in ones body can be so powerful its hard to describe. I read in one of hyatts black books he said "what you think is going on in a session is actually much less than whats really happening." Or something to that effect. This has been true in my brief experience.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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8/7/15 3:01 PM as a reply to David.
David:
Yeah, rebirthing specifically took Reichian breathing and made it the main practice. They also took it into an excessively new agey direction. Holotropic breathwork is similar but super intense and uses true hyperventilation. This Reichian work, although may seem wild, is rather down to earth compared to other popular breathwork approaches. 
When I began this work I used to breathe too quickly and made myself high and uncomfortable. Now I'm at 10-14 breaths/minute and let out the air on exhalations but don't pause. 

One gripe I have with both eastern and western bodywork approaches, is that the practitioners tend to interpret virtually any obvious physiological changes as signs of subtle energies. Deep breathwork of any kind changes physiology drastically, causing a host of changes, most notably respiratory alkalosis. This probably leads the way for de-repression and the remapping of the body probably changes the nature of the blocks of the energy body and all of that. People on this discussion appear rational on this subject but some approaches, such as rebirthers think any sensations are always esoteric energies. Not that I don't believe in those subtle systems, I just tend to look to physiological explanations until proven otherwise. 

On another note, I've been emailing the author of: "reichandlowentherapy.org" who is a Reichian therapist. He highly recommends both the Willis book and The Way to Vibrant Health. He does not see any hard and fast rules on how to do this work on one's own. He told me how Lowen believed that it is a life long process to chip away at the personalitie's armor system. So he didn't teach a highly systematic approach unlike many of the Reichian school. Then again, I read on some forum, somone who was supposedly emailing Dr. Willis before he died, and he said that it doesn't matter if a practitioner skips around with these techniques, after working with the forhead and eyes. 
When practicing this work, I always feel more alive and vital and spontaneous within a few weeks. But I can't say for sure exactly what is the difference that makes the difference. When I onlly practice the breathing it doesn't have the effect of the techniques. I can't either if it's the Bioenergetic or the Reichian techniques that make more of the difference. So I just practice it all.

Oh, and that author of the above website, highly recommends going through the stretching work of "Stretch Therapy" by Kit Laughlin. I practice this instead of yoga, as a corrective practice for releasing body wide tensions. The Lowen/Reich work seems to work differently, as in it gets at held "action tendencies" as the techniques tend to access the limbic brain more than any other form of bodywork. 
With this method of stretching by this Kit Laughlin, I can get into neurogenic tremors at will. I've also had powerful moments of neurogenic tremors during Reichian sessions.

I feel that the Reichian work is optimal for those of us whose affective self is turned down, as in hypoaroused, or emotionally avoidant. Then I find it opens up energy and sensation so that the sensation focused Vipassana practice I do is enhanced. 

Hey man you seem pretty knowledgable about this work so I guess Im curious as to what you think causes the longer term "results" physiologically of this work? Like I know you say the breathing affects the limbic system in the short term I suppose I am interested in learning what is actually happening to affect the longer term changes. Is it something hormonal due to increased relaxation? I know its not important at all to really know I just find it fascinating. Much like I find it fascinating how they study long term meditators brainwaves and notice profound changes etc. Just was interested in your thoughts on this.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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8/7/15 4:57 PM as a reply to Marc.
I can speculate on several mechanisms that cause long term change. For one, tense muscles restrict blood flow and the flow of nervous impulses. Fused muscles literally pinch or cut off nerves. Then this may cause a state where tissues are in a limbo like state where they are alive but not active. I've read that in a somatic psychotherapy book once. So many of us are living with tissues that we have little to no awareness of and are bearly living.

Then there's the subject of neurogenic tremors, put forth by Peter Levine and Dr. Bercelli. It's like a primal reflex that resets the resting tonus of muscles. When living in a state of hyperarousal and anxiety, one's nervous system is not in accords with what is, but is living as if the traumatic past is still present. With the Stretch Therapy work, I can either lay on the ground in the TRE pose or stand in the Bioenergetic pose and let myself naturally tremor without any prep exercises like the TRE's. So there's something to Kit Laughlin's contract-relax technique. One of his protige's took his work in an esoteric direction: physicalalchemy.com.au

Coming from Kit Laughlin's and other's work, I hear alot about remapping the body. It's as if the past is alive in the body in the present and all of this body work in the many forms of it, remaps the body on a neurological level so that the self-image/body-image is worked through so that the body sense and emotions are more and more in accords with what is. In that, old things come to light, or what is dissonant from what is, is derepressed as the remapping occurs. That's why I think deep sensing of the body is highly beneficial. Sometimes change doesn't occur until it is in awareness or it is reflected upon. 

Now, emotions are nothing but action tendencies or systems of action, feelings are the subjective correlates of thier activation. Being top down creatures, we have "clamped down" on our emotional experience as our cognitive capacities (defenses) developed. While the hundreds, if not thousands of layers of character armour was relegated to procedural or implicit memory. So many many things arise as we activate the limbic and reptilian systems of action and feeling. 

I believe that this is the easiest way to work with subtle energy systems. You work with the body and emotions and deep sensing. I've never been a fan of the esoteric methods that are all about complex visualization and rituals and such. I'd rather just remove the blocks to my normal organismic functioning. The Reichian work does this beautifully. 

Sorry, I've been listening to gamma binaural tracks and my mind is pretty wired with abstract ideas.

I also recommend learning The Focusing Method by Eugene Gendlin. It's just as powerful and liberative as any method of meditation. 

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
8/7/15 6:31 PM as a reply to David.
David:
I can speculate on several mechanisms that cause long term change. For one, tense muscles restrict blood flow and the flow of nervous impulses. Fused muscles literally pinch or cut off nerves. Then this may cause a state where tissues are in a limbo like state where they are alive but not active. I've read that in a somatic psychotherapy book once. So many of us are living with tissues that we have little to no awareness of and are bearly living.

Then there's the subject of neurogenic tremors, put forth by Peter Levine and Dr. Bercelli. It's like a primal reflex that resets the resting tonus of muscles. When living in a state of hyperarousal and anxiety, one's nervous system is not in accords with what is, but is living as if the traumatic past is still present. With the Stretch Therapy work, I can either lay on the ground in the TRE pose or stand in the Bioenergetic pose and let myself naturally tremor without any prep exercises like the TRE's. So there's something to Kit Laughlin's contract-relax technique. One of his protige's took his work in an esoteric direction: physicalalchemy.com.au

This is so interesting. I have chroinic fatigue and ive had a history of chronic pelvic pain. You can imagine the horrible reprecussions of having your entire pelvis/sexual organs numb or in pain. And when I had physical therapy for it theyd always describe my musculatare as extremely tight and stuck.

Coming from Kit Laughlin's and other's work, I hear alot about remapping the body. It's as if the past is alive in the body in the present and all of this body work in the many forms of it, remaps the body on a neurological level so that the self-image/body-image is worked through so that the body sense and emotions are more and more in accords with what is. In that, old things come to light, or what is dissonant from what is, is derepressed as the remapping occurs. That's why I think deep sensing of the body is highly beneficial. Sometimes change doesn't occur until it is in awareness or it is reflected upon.
 
This would definitely make sense from what ive experienced so far with the reichian stuff. After a few session I was edxtremely relaxed and confident..now Ive gone into anxiety/fear, especially around females lol. I am realizing my whole life Ive had a serious block to opening up to them and have always been extremely guarded. But the anxiety is almost forcing me to interact with them on a different way. Hard to explain i suppose. Ive actually been in contact with someone from the "radical  undoing" business who offer this work. They told me all types of reactions can happen he said he had 3 weeks of body anxiety and insomnia while things were "unraveling" as he put it. He said Regardie would tell of people becoming impotent for a time or having digestive problems or insomnia etc etc. This seems to be in line with what your saying here.

Now, emotions are nothing but action tendencies or systems of action, feelings are the subjective correlates of thier activation. Being top down creatures, we have "clamped down" on our emotional experience as our cognitive capacities (defenses) developed. While the hundreds, if not thousands of layers of character armour was relegated to procedural or implicit memory. So many many things arise as we activate the limbic and reptilian systems of action and feeling. 


I believe that this is the easiest way to work with subtle energy systems. You work with the body and emotions and deep sensing. I've never been a fan of the esoteric methods that are all about complex visualization and rituals and such. I'd rather just remove the blocks to my normal organismic functioning. The Reichian work does this beautifully. 

Sorry, I've been listening to gamma binaural tracks and my mind is pretty wired with abstract ideas.

I also recommend learning The Focusing Method by Eugene Gendlin. It's just as powerful and liberative as any method of meditation.

Wow Gamma waves are intenseemoticon I do binaural beats from time to time myself. This was an awesome post I think youre probably onto something with the way these body oriented things work. For me it feels every session brings about some type of "change"..it may not always be anything i could anticipate but its there. I guess its partly why both hyatt and willis emphasize having "courage" or what have you to see it through and to take things slowly for the most part. But I guess it mostly comes down to the individual.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
8/7/15 6:32 PM as a reply to Marc.
Arrgh of course I messed up the quote haha I tried to fix but couldnt figure it out. Apologies.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
8/10/15 9:41 PM as a reply to Marc.
Thanks, I felt that I was ranting or just talking to myself, as I tend to do on forums. I must be improving. 

I've seen several people mention that certain other approaches made all of the difference for them over the Reichian work. I think this speaks to the relativity of forms of work and meditation. We all have kind of a missing piece to our personalities and nervous systems. My emotional system is highly tuned down so that whatever raises my level of energy and arousal is world changing for me. Other people need anxiety and emotional regulation. Some need to work on how they use themselves, such as in Feldenkrais work. An approach that did nothing for me personally. That doesn't mean that it's not immensely helpful for many people. 

I'm still sort of at a loss on how to make sessions with all of these Reich and Lowen Techniques. I don't want to go so slowly as to neglect many parts of my body, and I've done massive bodywork in the past, so I'm not at risk of becoming unstable. But I feel that you need to stick with parts of the body and specific techniques across sessions to get results. Right now I'm dividing the Reichian techniques into head/torso/lowerbody and legs. To correspond with the head/heart/gut-moving centers of the Gurdjieffian system (three centers of intelligence.) I may spend at few weeks or a month or so on one center before moving on.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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8/11/15 5:48 PM as a reply to David.
Thank you, that was helpful. I get stuck and keep reformulating how I'm going to put together the exercises. I dislike the extremely slow pace that Willis describes and I want to focus on what are problem areas for me, without missing other areas. I can't keep to a snail's pace of head down. 

The last time I practiced this work in the Spring and Summer of 2013 I eventually felt a sense of streaming, like electricity going through my arms and shoulders which yielded a child-like joy and spontenaeity. I seemed ADHD and my energy was through the roof. And joy is a feeling that I have not felt since being a child, and even that was blunted. But I was also doing a lot of sensing work at the time. I'm not sure exactly what made the main difference. At that time I was practicing the breathing and forehead and eyes for 15-30 minutes several times a week. I seemed to get past a barrier when I practiced cathartically dancing to some music I liked. I heard this recommended from some Bioenergetics writing somewhere. That seemed to help with a sense of holding on a deep level, where I couldn't let myself act spontaneously and felt ashamed if I did in any form. 

Sometimes I find it helpful to express emotions, such as in yelling or screaming. I focus on it coming from my belly as my belly is usually held in ad feeling is deadened there from my belly down like you describe. It's to the point where I usually don't feel sexual feelings. I sometimes describe myself as "hyposexual." Clearly a pelvic holding pattern and the pelvic floor in general. 


Last thing: Has anyone mentioned "Core Energetics" in this thread? It was created by a neo-Reichian trained therapist who brought it into a spiritual direction. I bought his book and am waiting for it. It supposedly is more theoretical than practical but may give more of a direction on how to take this work in a deeper direction.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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10/1/15 3:17 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Yes, I've noticed the asymmetry in facial expressions. Particularly, people's left eyes tend to be less expressive and less open.

Haven't seen anything about this in any bodywork literature, and I don't really have a theory besides the obvious left/right brain correspondence

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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10/10/15 9:44 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.

So this got me thinking. I can't help but notice in my face, but also in many people's face (if not everybody?) that there is a difference between the left and right side. Some people have a marked difference between the eyes on each side. Now is this really at the bone level? Or is it the musculature? And if it is the muscles, then is it also an aspect of the fused / frozen muscles or is it "normal"? And normal in what way?


My eyes are slightly different sizes, and I never noticed until an optometrist pointed it out. Later I learned the term "ptosis" and I believe it to be a mild form of that. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ptosis_%28eyelid%29

Looking at old school age photos of myself it was there, my siblings don't have it though.  Now I can see it in my granddaughter as well (also mild), so in this case it would be genetic.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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10/10/15 8:50 AM as a reply to C P M.
Thanks for the update, faB. Here's mine:

During winter and spring I did a few months of Lowen's bioenergetic stool exercises every other day, plus the bow and arch exercises daily. The exercises gradually got easier as I learned to relax and breathe into the pain and fear triggered during the backwards bending. But the rest of my life started feeling more restless. I often got sudden and powerful anxiety for no apparent reason and started yelling a lot more, often to my gf, maybe because she was usually the one nearby. Screaming as loudly as possible into a pillow immediately brought some relief. Sometimes I had the thought that I shouldn't try to dampen the sound, that others deserve to fully hear my anger, also to help me overcome the shame I have often earlier in my life felt while expressing anger. But since usually such thoughts felt accompanied by pride, the (immediate) relief felt the same with or without a pillow, and not wanting to scare neighbors into thinking that somebody was getting murdered in my apartment, I decided to go with the pillow. Tricky business, this balancing of self expression and the need for cooperation and acceptance. Anyway, anxiety was high for months, so I stopped doing the bioenergetics in favor of a more calming meditation. Starting about a month ago, feeling more centered again, I have continued with nearly all of the earlier bioenergetics without dropping the meditation. So far, this time around I'm not getting nearly as many outbursts.

Re asymmetry: For months now I've had strong tensing and shaking, usually starting in the face and sometimes spreading to the throat and neck. Sometimes this has happened a few times a week for minutes at a time, sometimes many times a day for an hour or more. This has been either spontaneous or triggered by even a modest attempt at settling down and paying attention to how the body is feeling. Tensing and shaking in the forehead has been symmetrical, but anything in the face below the forehead has been heavily favoring my left side. Also, for example, intentionally raising my upper lip, as in disgust, it does not raise smoothly but instead shakes visibly, a lot more for the left side than the right. Also, I can raise the outer edge of my right eyebrow with ease, as in expressing disbelief, but trying the same thing with the left eyebrow and nothing moves. Plus other asymmetries in muscle response.

Other effects: I've become more aware of muscle tensions behind the eyes and in the trapezius. I feel my emotions, both pleasant and unpleasant, a bit stronger than before. Especially gratitude and compassion are now more spontaneous, frequent and powerful than before. Some people I've found it easier to get along with than before, some people harder, intolerable even. Maybe I've changed, maybe they've changed, maybe both. Anyway, I too have started expressing myself more openly than before, and progress in general has been messy.

Re breathing pace: Last year when I practiced Jack Willis' system, including his "proper" breathing exercizes, I, too, tended to breathe at a lot slower pace than the 12 breaths per minute he recommended. As I understood it, it's more important to get the "ah" sound right, which for me would not happen at that pace, at least with my skill level. In general I tend to think, from my experience in training for sports, that it's better to do most any movement slowly with good form rather than fast with bad form. It's easier to add speed later than it is to correct a long-practiced error in a movement pattern.

What about the rest of you? How has Reichian or other bodywork worked for you lately?

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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10/10/15 9:34 AM as a reply to C P M.
Recently, I have changed my bodywork to lean much more towards Bioenergetic work. I've gotten deeply into contemplative brain entrainment products and would rather use those for deeply altered states than spending long periods of time forcing myself to breathe deeply past the point of comfort. 

Each bodywork session I'm doing several mintues of Lowenian techniques and some of the Reichian techniques, but done mostly standing. Then I do some deep stretching form Kit Laughlin's system with his conrtact-relax technique (C-R), then some basic qigong: spirals, cloud hands... Occasionally I'll do some sort of cathartic movement or dance as taught in Osho's dynamic meditation, or pranayma breathing such as the breath of fire. 

If I had that experience of something like that anger and outbursts arising, I would hold off on the body and expressive work for a time and attempt to psychodynamically understand what this is. Such as using the Focusing Technique or seeing a therapist. Preferably an experiential, somatic, or emotion focused therapist. I spent years doing deep parts integration and emotion focused work to work through about 70% of a deep murderous rage I used to feel that I learned as a toddler that was frozen in several moments of mild trauma. In my humble, or highly self-righteous opinion, no eastern practice can truly change this early psychodynamic material. It usually takes an empathic other to do so. The eastern and other mystical paths through history never took the time to truly understand the ego-personality. The "yoga" for the modern man/woman: psychotherapy does just this and works through and processes the stuck psycho-emotive material in ways that the ancient stuff never truly knew how to do. It's an alchemy of the ego, transforming the substance of it into the material of truth, rather than transcending it through endless meditation and further splitting it off from awareness. 

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
Answer
10/10/15 5:39 PM as a reply to Sakari.
Sakari:


What about the rest of you? How has Reichian or other bodywork worked for you lately?



Havent done much Reichian lately, but I had an interesting experience the other day: I was trying to unfuse the cheek muscle (i think levator labii superioris) from flexing the brow/frowning muscles, using a bathroom mirror. I tried for a while, but unsuccessfully. In the end I managed to accomplish it - my facial experience first went to a superior/dismissive/arrogant look and then to something self-indulging/enjoying (These are aspects that I would not want to see or accept in myself, so it was astounding to see I'm capable of this as well). Finally it went to this happy, enjoying expression, when I realised, that this feat is easy to accomplish when feeling my lower body at the same time and sort of enjoying myself. Kinda like getting a blowjob ;)

Anyway: The expression on my face looked completely unfamiliar (as in "that cant be me in the mirror"), which alone is interesting enough. What's more, it lead to a deep relaxation in the whole body, and I remembered how Regardie talks about "abiding in relaxation as one's nature". All the points that he describe were spot on - increased mental capacities, giddyness, tons of physical energy, less thinking. Energy was that strong that I had to leave my desk at work and take a walk. The experience during the walk was very similar like a trip on magic mushrooms actually - weird insights (at least it feels like those), less worrying, friendliness.

Ive gone back to normal since then but it seems like some aspects have become integrated - more spontaneity, easier to relax, a memory of the altered state, etc.

***

Lately the front of my belly often feels tense tho. Maybe time to do some "ah" breathing again

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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10/13/15 4:32 PM as a reply to David.
Some exciting Reich news

Wilhelm Reich, Biologist (Harvard University Press, 2015) by James E. Strick
Wilhelm Reich, Biologist is an eye-opening reappraisal of one of twentieth-century science’s most controversial figures―perhaps the only writer whose scientific works were burned by both the Nazis and the U.S. government. Refuting allegations of “pseudoscience” that have long dogged Reich’s research, James Strick argues that Reich’s lab experiments in the mid-1930s represented the cutting edge of light microscopy and time-lapse micro-cinematography and deserve to be taken seriously as legitimate scientific contributions.

And, an admittedly biased description by Dr. Schwartzman
Wilhelm Reich, Biologist (Harvard University Press, 2015) by James E. Strick is an extremely important book because it has the potential to overturn a number of fundamental beliefs in science. One of these, that is set in stone and if refuted will prove a bombshell, is that life must develop from preexisting life. Reich certainly appears to have proved this age-old maxim false. Exactly how he conducted his groundbreaking experiments—almost 80 years ago—can now be found in this book.

Drawing upon archival material never before available, Strick has provided documentation that confirms Reich was a serious scientist. Material taken from unpublished laboratory notebooks and published reports show his research was conducted with meticulous care.

Working with living matter rather than with dead preparations that had been fixed and stained, Reich was able to produce microscopic vesicles that were non-living, yet capable of replication in culture media. This, according to classical scientific theory, is impossible. If these experiments can be duplicated—and this should not be too difficult as Reich’s methods are clearly set forth in Professor Strick’s book—the implications are staggering!

These “bions” as Reich called them were not just transitional life forms. More importantly, they appeared to be involved in health and disease. This finding has opened the way to an entirely new understanding of why people become ill, or remain well.

Later, taking it even a step further, Reich was able to record with time-lapse filming that dying autumnal moss could lead to the natural organization of life as protozoa. Life from non-life! From this he hypothesized that cancer cells might form in a like manner from dying animal tissue that had disintegrated into bions.

Wilhelm Reich, Biologist calls into question other accepted tenets of biology and medicine, too many to cite here. We can only hope this new publication will interest researchers worldwide and stimulate their curiosity. What remarkable benefits might come from examining health and illness from this different perspective remains to be seen. Now, those wishing to test Reich’s findings need only familiarize themselves with his concepts and then exactly follow the straightforward steps outlined for each experiment.

James Strick has done a masterful job in presenting the development of Reich’s research in a most engaging way. He has deftly interwoven science with history and set both against a backdrop of what Reich was to experience all his life—the reactions of the established “experts” who refused to examine findings they “knew” to be wrong.

Wilhelm Reich, Biologist is so well written that readers may not realize they are absorbed in a scholarly book about a scientific revolution. Rather, to their surprise and enjoyment, they may think they are involved in a fascinating mystery novel, and are eager to find out how the plot unfolds.
And, progress seems solid on the Wilhelm Reich Documentary Project

I'm basically agnostic about the validity of Reich's scientific work, but I'm glad qualified people are now and will increasingly continue taking a serious look.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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10/31/15 9:03 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Paraphrased from a book called The Void, by A.H. Almaas he quotes Margret Mahler who describes the most primordial development of the self-image process as beginning with first the inner body sense and then external body sense and boundaries before the self-image ever becomes cognitive. So the deepest parts of the self-images are really a body image. 

Sounds like you're touching upon deep self/body images. This is again, as what is stated above, the Felt-Sensing is indispensible in any type of bodywork. When you bring the old self images in to the present, that's when transformation occurs. 


I'm coming to a place where I think that this work and others I do (brain entrainment through iawake technologies or Sacred Acoustics) causes a large shock to the sense of self. Especially this conscious connected breathing. What happens I feel is that your body and limbic systems have to sort of find itself again, in space time, boundaries, felt-sense of oneself and so on. It's like doing heavy weight training and needing ample time to recover. 

Every small and large change I have had was after the fact, when I least expected it. I feel that there's a re-discovering one's self on all levels with intense work like it. And it happens in chunks and steps in a non-linear fashion. 

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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11/7/15 8:34 PM as a reply to David.
Does anyone have any thoughts on doing this work, more often, for less time? I find 30+ minutes to very uncomfortable to breathe like this. 

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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11/8/15 6:13 AM as a reply to David.
Hi,

When I used to do Willis' "proper breathing" exercises, I first tried to do them for an hour per session, twice a week. But that nearly always got me so lightheaded that 30-40 minutes in I kept passing out, and losing the momentum of breathing along with the built up sensations. So I decided to split the sessions, doing about 30 minutes per session, one session every other day. Still definitely not what I would call fun, but not as restless. However, I only did this for a few months, plus I did other somatic therapies and meditations on the side, so it's hard to know how much of the improvement I experienced during that time was due to which method.

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11/8/15 1:22 PM as a reply to Sakari.
Yeah, I had a huge awakening of joy and an enthusiastic "libidinalness" in 2013 after first encountering the Willis book and working with it for 4-5 months. I really was only doing the breathing for 15-30 mins at a time. I was also doing a meditative inquiry that involves deep felt-sensing which eventually yielded a "drop" into who I am. I can't tell exactly what was the cause of this, but I know if I do this type of work, especially the conscious connected breaths, this energy/enthusiasm arises eventually. Some therapists in the Reichian/Lowen traditions I've emailed told me that it's completely up in the air, whether doing these techniques for 1 minute or 45 minutes is more effective. Right now, I'm focusing on the daily exercises, which I now do with the connected breaths. Then I lay in the working position, do 20-30 fully breaths, 20-30 chest breaths, 20-30 abdominal breaths, and 20-30 pelvic movements. So as to awaken my core and the corresponding centers. That takes only about 10-15 minutes and it gets me in that highly altered state of hyperoxigenation. I'll try doing this daily. Maybe twice daily. The ultimate goal is to increase energy and feeling in the body, as the ego-personality works to numb the body and feelings. 
I've also reintegrated Kit Laughlin's stretching method and Feldenkrais techniques as an adjunct to my movement/somatic work. 

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11/8/15 7:03 PM as a reply to David.
Wow, you've really figured out this practice well faB. I think my strategy is different but equally valid. I keep going back to shorter sessions to bring up my emotionally cathected material and resistances. Then I go deeper into it and resolve each layer/issue by Focusing or deep felt sensing/inquiry. It's a practice I've learned from the Focusing technique (See Anne Weiser Cornell/Dr. Gendlin) and I integrate: Vipassana, Jungian Active Imagination, and free association into it.

When I practiced this technique while also practicing the Reichian techniques and breathing in 2013, I felt that I was able to come to such a subtle and precise sense of my experience that I was able to find where my practice was in the way of being myself and I let it go into a sense of powerful joy, energy and samadhi. I felt something like powerful electricity go through my body and especially my arms, as it felt like an energy of a different order arose. 

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11/10/15 9:15 PM as a reply to David.
You really seem to be dedicated with this practice, faB. I respect the commitment; bodywork is hard to stick with.

I just changed the OP again. I removed the FAQ as I no longer feel confident enough to attempt to summarize the Reich/Lowen tradition. I removed the Hyatt Undoing set since it can be found in the resources anyway. Added a link to Samsel's site since he's qualified and his site is so comprehensive. Also added a link to a chapter from Nick Totton's book Body Psychotherapy: An Introduction. If anyone would like to see a survey of most of the bodywork schools it's outstanding.

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11/16/15 11:17 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
I did two 10 minute sessions yesterday with a qigong practice afterward the second one. I was so charged that I felt that overwhelming enthusiasm that occurs after a few weeks to months of this practice. It may be helpful for me to do a quick 10 minute charging session before something like meditation or other movement work, as my energy(character) is very contained. And do a longer session until a discharge like you describe once a week or so. 

In any case I'm seeing a breathworker this week who holds a meetup group in my area. It would be nice to get advice from a professional breathworker.

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11/28/15 7:16 PM as a reply to David.
I wouldn't go looking for traumatic pain directly either. Although I have such a difficulty feeling any emotion that I would take something extreme like that just to feel alive. 

I've been ruminating on the idea that meditative, somatic, psychological work is just like exercise. In that recovery is just as important as the input. It takes time for our organism/essential self to integrate and reorganize things in an organic fashion. Maybe that's why change seems to happen when we least suspect it. I rarely have shifts, changes, insights when doing actual inner work. It seems to occur after taking a break much of the time from intense work. 

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1/7/16 9:04 AM as a reply to David.
I've got a general question on this, but first I wanna say thanks to all of you giving such great input on this - I've been following Jack's book for a couple of months now, originally intending just to 'have a look', but I found it so powerful I kept going with it.  
What struck me most is that I considered myself pretty open, physically, mentally, emotionally. I've been doing a lot of yoga and various insight work for over a decade...so I thought all of the warnings of how powerful this work is and "Always too slowly" etc wouldn't apply so much to me...
Well, I was so wrong.  This work really is doing something very different to what yoga and meditation do and I feel I'm beginning to open up in a whole new way.  


My Question:
Jack Willis goes on at length about the dangers of the 'Sense and Feel' exercise if you do it for too long.  He says:
This exercise seems so simple that you may be tempted to try it early in your work; DON’T! This exercise has immense power even though it appears to be almost benign. The power of this simple exercise is so great that the author has seen people thrown into full-blown anxiety after just a few minutes.

Well as far as I can tell this exercise is almost identical to body-scanning vipassana meditation.  
The only difference is in talking out loud reporting all of the sensations you experience.

So, does anyone know about this?  Does speaking your sensations out loud to yourself really make body-scanning that much more powerful?
Or is body-scanning meditation just that powerful and people sometimes go utterly batshit crazy on vipassana retreats or does Jack Willis not know what he's talking about?  Seems like it must come down to the speaking it out.  Right?  What added effect does that have?

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1/7/16 9:38 AM as a reply to cian.
I think one thing many of us have gathered on this thread is that the author assumes that there will be people with severe PTSD who have never done therapy or inner work and will re-traumatize themselves. I think he could've just had many warnings about not doing this stuff if you're so disturbed that you will lose it in some way whenever you do inner work. The same goes for any deep meditation. I've heard stories of people leaving meditation halls screaming just from simple zen sitting. 

I'm now seeing a breathworker who does somatic work secondarily to breathwork. Many of us have found that there's a point where the forms become another prison and it helps to simply default back to the breathing. This way of breathing is like nothing else. I was doing it wrong for years until meeting this breathworker. It helps to have someone to work with you. 

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1/28/16 10:11 AM as a reply to David.
I've heard stories of people leaving meditation halls screaming just from simple zen sitting. 
Right. Good point.  


And working directly with a breathworker sounds like great advice yeah. I would love to do this at some point.  I still feel like I'm making lots of progress by myself.  At first I could barely even just lie there and even think about doing that breathing - like my whole being just wanted to escape it!  Lots of automatic body movements and strong reactive emotions just after a couple of breaths.  Doing it for a complete hour seemed totally impossible.  Now I can keep going with just a few breaks for an hour.  The whole process seems to really work through things inside me.  I feel more alive.  

But when I get to a certain point with it some expert guidance might really be invaluable.  
Thanks David 

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4/1/16 7:14 AM as a reply to cian.
I'm kind of stopping with the breathworker. I'm not getting much out of it. I breathe until I'm in an altered place, and not much really seems to happen, if I don't add the somatic component. 
Right now, I'm doing 20-30 min sessions of the Reichian book techniques 2-3x's/week. 
I'm doing the daily exercises but I add about 7-10 breaths doing the Bioenergetic bow and forward bend. 

It's already bringing up more unexpected material and self-states than I've felt in a year or two. 


Question: does anyone have theories on the daily exercises? 

My idea is that out mental tensions tend to be held in out shoulders, neck, throat and face and that these cognitive tensions are endlessly reinforced by our information age, mental society. 

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4/1/16 8:38 AM as a reply to David.
I have more questions too.

What is the place for the feelings of love (as in "deep acceptance") and the ability to feel love, and feel affection... in these Reichian work?

And are there other techniques (perhaps "metta" meditation) that would be more effective for that?

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4/1/16 10:38 AM as a reply to faB.
Reichian work and much of somatic and emotion focused psychotherapeutic techniques are different from many meditative techniques, where the former focuses on removing blocks to full expression of one's nature, when the latter may focus more on cultivating states from scratch. That's why some transpersonal thinkers have likened modern somatic/experiential (eg: Gestalt Therapy) therapies to a modern tantra. Although tantric approaches may appear that they are cultivating states, they are really removing blocks to transformation. Some have a more yang or yin flavor, see Bruce Frantzis's comparison of water vs. fire methods. I consider Reichian work, boiling water. Fluid and organic but very yang. 

I don't want to compare methods of cultivating states vs removing blockadges as better or worse, apples to oranges. 

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4/1/16 12:20 PM as a reply to faB.
 That’s a really cool question that I have been thinking about recently. Note that I’ve been considering it especially from the standpoint of the schizoid character structure. So, the heady type, who has difficulty feeling and is at times out of touch with one’s body. Probably very obvious from the following that this is the type I’d see myself in ;)

Anyway, I think there’s three ideas which could be applied there.
  1. Bhante Gunatarana’s idea of Mindfulness being like a stream of light and love pushing behind a rigid brick wall of illusion. The key idea is, that the bricks hold each other in place, while the stream keeps gnawing on the wall. Over time (Vipassana) practice takes out more and more of the bricks , more light can shine through, until eventually the whole wall crumbles. And what’s more - one actually stops to identify with being the wall, and re-identifies with being the stream of light.
  2. Lewin’s model of change management in organisations : Unfreeze – Change – Refreeze. There’s coagulated structures, processes and views in an organisation that need to be unfrozen first before you can change them to a more functional state which we then would like to freeze again. I think the model could possibly apply quite nicely, since Ive heard a few times that a person’s personality parts are actually similar to persons in a real world organisation – so there’s different roles and they all interact either functionally or dysfunctionally.  [I'm having a hard time posting in pictures, please have a look at the attachmend "lewin.jpg"]
  3. Spontaneous self-organisation (when spirit is allowed to act on loosely connected parts). This includes personality parts and personal energies, which are located in the different body parts. Character armouring is then what prevents this healthy self-organisation from happening, as it assumes a rigid position and prevents the spontaneous spirit to act on it.
 
What I think Reichian therapy does really well is to go after the big, key parts of the brick wall by bringing them up to the light so that they can be worked at. That could possibly help take them out first and lead to a quicker destabilisation of the whole wall. In a way it seems a bit like a crowbar which then allows the less fine-tuned instruments to go to work – i.e. the metta practice you describe.
Assuming the Lewin model holds true, it would then be interesting to integrate methodologies in a direct sequence according to the Lewin model. First unblock the flow (Unfreeze), then allow for optimal reorganisation of personality parts. This already happens through dreams (as Willis describes) but could probably be helped a ton using Metta practice (which encourages parts to come out) and Feldenkrais (which exposes the freed-up bodymind to designed learning situations for self-organisation). There’s also probably a need for a supportive social environment for the new character structure to stabilise in the refreeze-phase.

[I'm having a hard time posting in pictures, please have a look at the attachmend "ganz.jpg"]
 
Anyways, that’s my geek-out. What I did a few times was to combine a session of Reichian first with Vipassana second and it seemed to have an effect, judging from the weird dreams I had that night. If anyone wants to try this template it would be fantastic to hear your experiences.
 
 

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4/1/16 5:01 PM as a reply to faB.
The motto Reich put in many of his books was, "Love, work and knowledge are the wellsprings of our life. They should also govern it." Roughly, Lowen and Reich considered love to be related strongly to sexuality and pleasure. I.e., that it's impossible to love to the degree that one is blocked from pleasure and sexual feeling. Functionally they considered love to heal and melt blocks.

Pierrakos had a more spiritual understanding of love as influenced by his wife who was a spiritual teacher.

There's more to be said about it but I'm too lazy to mine quotes. Maybe later

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4/1/16 6:05 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Any thoughts on the daily exercises?

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4/2/16 2:42 PM as a reply to David.
What sort of theories were you wondering about? Theory about which to do or why they work?

For the former I'd say there are basics that would be helpful for everyone: grounding, the bow, feet, neck rolls, something with the face, some deep breathing. Maybe a few more. The rest would be context dependent: time, person.

For theories I'd say read some of the sources, do it yourself, and draw your own conclusions

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4/2/16 9:34 PM as a reply to David.
On the daily praxes:

Christopher Hyatt, in his usual sublime and subtle candor, suggests that the face exercise (5 mins making faces in the mirror) breaks up the "mask" of the day. Here's some absolutely superb theory (as well as practical instruction) on it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6SAtMkH_uo

It really is a very very unique, and utterly invaluable exercise. "Feeling your face to be alive", rather than the status quo mask, really changes the nature of social interaction, as well as having emotions and moods. If you really get into this exercise, its worth checking out the works of Paul Ekman (the leading expert on facial expression and emotion on the planet).

I like the shoulder exercises for opening up the breathing (which ties into mood, emotion, energy-levels, and voice). The bow, grounding, and pelvic circling also gives me a sense of being centered in my hara (lower belly).
Being really conscious of posture and breathing throughout the day is also really important for working in this system. Sitting at a computer in bad posture for several hours is just going to build up armour in the shoudlers etc.

And of course, the daily exercises are never going to have the hardcore deep-level impact of a 1-hour on-ya-back session, but they do work really well for the surface stuff.

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4/8/16 4:26 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
it says on the description there was a link added to a comparison of reichian therapy with yoga and tai chi however i followed the links and i cant seem to see that one, am I not looking properly? can someone kindly tell me where to find this link as i am very interested to read thankyou 

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4/12/16 3:02 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
For the eye exercises, do you do every emotion every day? And also, how much time do you do each one for? There isn't clear guidance on this in the book...only that the daily exercises take 15 min or so

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4/12/16 8:05 PM as a reply to Austin.
I do 5-6 eye expressions or emotions and hold for 2-3 breaths. For the face I move slowly between 5-6 expressions or stretches and hold for several deep breaths. I don't count to 20 for the shoulders, I do 8-10 deep connected breaths.

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5/3/16 10:36 AM as a reply to David.
On the subject of integrating western somatic work with eastern contemplative practice, I'm getting away from specific techniques to more dynamic ways of working with somatic, emotional blocks and tensions. Right now, doing these techniques seems artificial and ineffective compared to zoning in on exactly where there's some cathected tensions/emotions and working with that. 

When I was a student at the Diamond Approach in 2013, we used to do deep breathing as a group where we would stand and breathe into different parts of our bodies. Then we would find where we feel any sort of energetic/somatic blocks in us and breathe into it and try and feel it deeper. 

In some schools, such as Hakomi, Somatic Experiencing, or Sensorimotor psychotherapy, the approaches are less technique based than a more dynamic exploration and expression. You essentially find where a felt-sense is and try and express it, give it sound and such. It can take a huge amount of sensing to get to where a felt-sense can unfold somatically. I've heard it said that every felt sense in the body that's held is really an action tendency that has been stopped in its full expression. 

Every opening I've had somatically and energetically has never been from doing some sort of yoga, qigong, Reichian, Bioenergetic routine or exercise, but a more spontaneous unfolding and expression of something, after feeling it deeply to the point that it shifts or moves in some way. 

I'd love to explore this way of dynamically removing blocks but there's no real do-it-yourself method that I know of. Most methods, east and west are very top down and about controlling, over a full letting go. 

(I muse sometimes that the Buddha's true pranayama is a simple letting go of controlling the breath in mindfulness meditation, rather than the controlling of it in Hindu Tantra.)

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5/9/16 3:43 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Does anyone have Hyatt's DVDs and can rip/upload them somewhere? 

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5/9/16 7:49 AM as a reply to Paul Smith.
There's a few on YouTube. Those that I seen I haven't learned anything new from Jack Willis' book, besides some small variations like looking left breathing in, looking right breathing out, or with the jaw etc Rather than systematically spending 5 min with the jaw left, then 5 min jaw right.

Found a channel also with a lot of Undoing vids.. but I lost it. Did they remove the vids, I'm not sure. I 'll definitely post it up if I stumble on it again.

---


Interestingly I started massage last December, and the person I'm seeing now is using some form of massage based therapy where she will use dialogue and encourage expressing emotions or try to investigate them if I'm crying or whatever comes up. I told her about some of the Willis exercises but over time I found she basically knows all the same things, just in a different language.

I had some significant blocks to deal with involving abandonment and an abusive family, so the massage/therapy bring up lot of stored emotions.

For me the main value of Willis exercises is that it brought up trauma in a way that made me aware that I really needed to get help , and also to be able to reach out. Otherwise, it was too hard to continue on my own.

I am also seeing a psychotherapist and it's annoying from the perspective of the "seeker" here since you just talk... I think it's important mostly to bring in awareness the projections... but sometimes I find it frustrating (not to mention very costly)... and I wonder if I should seek out a bioenergetics practitioner instead ... there are some in my area in the Lowen tradition it seems.. if they do talking as well..  I feel like maybe the most important psychotherapy happens inthe first month(s) and then after that I'm not sure.

So I stopped Willis book while I do massage and psychotherapy because I felt it sent me on a rollercoaster... and the first two can be challenging enough as it is.

The lying posture is gold though. When I feel like I'm closing up again, and I feel a bit crappy, I'll lie down with the legs bent and immediately feel the stretching and relief in the diaphragm area.

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10/6/16 4:58 PM as a reply to Paul Smith.
Paul Smith:
Does anyone have Hyatt's DVDs and can rip/upload them somewhere? 

Did you find the radical undoing volume dvds (i-vi)? or at least command z accompanying videos?

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11/7/16 12:23 PM as a reply to faB.
It's a shame you've only found a talk therapist, as the standard cognitive and psychodynamic therapies give therapy a bad name. There are some great experiential schools out there, such as Gestalt, Ego State, ISTDP, Coherence Therapy, AEDP, Interpersonal Neurobiology (Dan Seigel), Sensorimotor Therapy/Hakomi, and the like...

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11/8/16 5:21 AM as a reply to David.
I'm seeing both a "talk therapist" and a massage-based therapist. Massage therapy is great, I think she is using a little bit of energy (reiki?), pressure points and standard massage (the website for the method is in french, literally "associates physical and energetic touch to verbal psychotheraoy tools".. we basically talk a bit, and sometimes during massage if something comes up).

Last week was the biggest opening yet. I'm really stuck in the diaphragm area. Day after massage I became aware of this vital energy coming from the belly area whenever I had a angry or sexual thought. It was very encouraging because it seemed as if anger could bt let go of immediately when it was felt as a raw energy? It was almost pleasurable to feel the anger emoticon I know this area is opening along with the breathing because my eyes start twitching a lot.

Talk therapy has been very helpful for me, though I do wonder sometimes how long I should continue, and whether a different kind of therapy would be helpful alongside the massage approach.

I think it really comes down to the individual's desire to wake up, and to change. I can see talk therapy doing nothing, or very little beyond the temporary relief after a session... if the individual is not very motivated or continues to dumb down their consciousness with booze, porn, and so on. Quite a few times, I was doing Byron Katie exercises at home, and watching her video, and it brought about significant release. Then I brought that up in talk therapy, so it kind of drove the point home, or gave me another angle. I think it was potent in that way, but certainly if an individual comes to talk therapy and expect everything to happen there... I could see them going there for years with little permanent change.

Talk therapy was very useful for me I think because I had to have another perspective on the kind of childhood I had. The most healing was probably to understand abuse, as abuse..I internalized so much of the way I was treated, I didn't even see it as abuse. So I went through life belieiving in all the self-development crap that is 95% of the "self development" blog circlejerk on the internet. Believe in yourself, build confidence and all that crap. Completely pointless. In my experience at least, depression and anxiety is caused by anger turned inwards. Or to draw a parrallel to the massage opening I described above, the vital energy is suppressed and turned inwards causing anxiety and potentially depression.

One of the most telling experiences was one day I was angry at my father and left a bunch of messages. And the funny thing is he never even listened to them. But for three days afterwards I felt completely relaxed, all anxiety was gone. That confirmed the insight that indeed, allowing the anger to come out instead of being repressed is key. But the experience some days ago also showed me that perhaps it's not necessary at all to externalize anger dramatically like in some of the bioenergetics exercises. That it's not about kicking the legs, or punching the pillow, it's about becoming aware of the vital energy.

This has implications with the bioenergetics exercises. Unfortunately in my experience, the bio exercises were too strong, or too direct somehow, and made me feel more tense even though in theory they should have given me relief. I'm still curious whether there is a way to just keep an opening going, and basically how do you 

My experiences basically confirm much of the bioenergetics reading I've done and mentioned in this thread (Willis, Lowen...), EXCEPT that I can somehow not come to awareness of the suppressed energy by myself. It had to be Reiki, or the massage therapist, or perhaps more indirectly the resolving of the story / reality filters through talk therapy which over time reduce this tension.

Part of this puzzle likely is the presence of another empathetic person as you mentioned earlier. And when you see it like that you realize that perhaps there really isn't any one therapy that works best, and that the connection with the therapist is half of the formula.

Another concept is the notion of learning to tolerate increased energy which  I've seen mentioned in Stephen Johnson 's book. Perhaps that is supposed to be the focus of Lowen and Willis' exercises. But is there such a thing or is that just another way of saying "undoing the suppression"? In which case I'm back to the same observation, that I can't do this on my own.

...

Still I don't know regarding talk therapy. I'm at the point where I've talked enough about my early life.. and perhaps something more "experiential" would be useful. But you just mentioned so many therapies where do I even begin? And what would be the main difference between experiential and talk therapy?

One thing I am wary of is the desire to change something. Whenever I tried to forcefully "open" the body, it doesn't work. Even as I put my attention on some area of the body where there is tension, it usually doesn't work. What works is when empathy is directed at myself. If I thought about myself as a child, then I would empathy like it was my own child, and something would come up. I would feel a wave of tingling in the body signaling a temporary relief in the holding in the musculature, or I would start tearing up.

So that makes me wary of "experiential" approaches, if that means trying to physically alter the body the same way bioenergetics does. As far as my experience goes, the bioenergetics exercises are more of a "build up" or maintenance approach, for an individual who has no significant blocks; When energy is significantly suppressed, then it creates additional tension, it's very hard to release and open up. The aspect of the psyche that suppresses energy needs ot come to awareness, which is the work of psychotherapy or other approaches that I believe need to incorporate some kind of talk.

But then again you seem to suggest that you've found approaches that bring about awareness of these blocks in a non verbal way?

...

Sorry if my post is all over the place. I'm just sharing some insights / experiences. If I seem to have no definite question or answers, it's because if I could summarize my therapy journey  so far, is that I feel it is really out of my control. I can't speed it up. I can't forcefully "open" anything. I can't bring up something to awareness directly. I can't "feel" the vital energy as much as I try, unless it happens somehow. And in fact in massage therapy at one point I started homing in on that sense of unease, and state of fear in the body, and I told her how I felt I needed to let go of what I should say, should not say, how I should feel even. The key for me seems to be to relax, and to stop trying to control.

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11/8/16 7:43 AM as a reply to faB.
I very much enjoyed listening to your experiences. I'm glad you're having such a positive change experience with these methods of change. I may be speaking from a place of countertransference where I experienced years of "talk therapy" when in a deeply dissociated and avoidant state of an inability to feel and therapy being benign at best, until I discovered experiential psychotherapies. So I have a tendency to judge CBT and psychodynamic types of therapy that end up being two heads talking abstractly. It reminds me of years of my own frustrations with talk therapy. 

You're right, one benefit of talk therapy is another perspective which can assist in reflection and making sense of experience. 

Do you know Focusing? I believe that if a client can simply "drop down" into their direct experience, talk therapy can be supercharged as effective. But most talk therapists are not great at working directly with emotional experience.

Experiential is a term for a variety of approaches that work directly with embodied emotional experience. It's pretty contrary to Lowen's work, where catharsis is not seen as a good thing. My approach works to regulate emotions and anxiety to tolerable levels moment by moment. Emotional experience does not change when it is overwhelming or intolerable, even if expressed.

It sounds like you're working from the "entry points" of the mind and the body which is working wonders. The only difference with what I call "experiential psychotherapy" is that our entry point is the heart directly to then work with the mind and body. No one way is really superior to others, unless you're stuck in your head. 

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2/5/17 4:16 AM as a reply to Dada Kind.
I just did my first successful session with Willis' 'proper' breathing exercise after practising his method for the last week or so. Just, wow. This is incredibly potent stuff. I am now a believer.

During the middle of the session my breathing started to gain intensity, and I started to feel a looming sense of fear. I noted it as coming from a lack of self-control and pressed on, and then all of a sudden I was engulfed in this energetic vibration which shot up with the breath from my pelvis, and was overcome with compulsive full body laughter, as well as this vibrant sense of feeling utterly alive which is only now starting to wear off. This felt extremely similiar to the effects of 5-MEO DMT, although no where near the intensity, and even a bit like the A&P.  

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2/5/17 10:05 AM as a reply to bluedevils.
That's funny, I've just resumed this practice myself and there hasn't been a post on this in a long time. I've come across transformational breathing, which is the Reichian breathing but with less anal retentive restrictions. There's more of a sense of breathing quicker. A breathworker I've worked with emphasizes "allowing the air in" without the extra forcing of it I used to do, and to completely allow the air out which yields a pretty quick outbreath with no effort. 

I've had what I only can describe as shakti or orgone type awakenings from this where I'm in a place of some force in me moving me in joyful ecstacy. I've had chi awakenings and they're very different than this. 

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2/7/17 7:42 AM as a reply to David.
here's an excellent book I've found, that marries the somatic psychotherapy approach with spirituality, in order for bodily knowing to emerge.

John Prendergast - In Touch: How to Tune into the Inner Guidance of Your Body and Trust Yourself
https://www.amazon.de/Touch-Inner-Guidance-Trust-Yourself/dp/1622032071

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2/25/17 10:21 AM as a reply to Dominik J.
@Dominik J

Do you know if / how it differs from "focusing", and "somatic experiencing" approaches?

I feel like they are all describing the same process of turning attention to the sensations, much like what we do in Goenka retreats. But with the addition of using words and images as sign posts to try and unravel threads of unconscious material / trauma.


On the subject of plants
Where do plants and maybe other supplements stand in this picture of bioenergetic health / harmony?

I started taking some chinese plants after doing some research online and man, they do something. I went specifically for "qi stagnating" in the stomach / liver. I can feel a release down there, and my vision becomes clearer quite noticably!

But on the other hand I feel like this is just an aid, and it doesn't do any of this "focusing" work. In fact at first I took this formulas (such as "bupleurum & cyperus") thinking I would feel better. But I think now it is the wrong approach. So instead I try to take them when I know I am availabel to attend to how I feel for the next hour or so.

I will start "somatic experiencing" therapy soon so maybe I'll have some experiences to share on that front. My body is in pain. Has been in pain since childhood pretty much. It's been a crazy year. Much of anxiety is gone and yet trauma persists. Sometimes I lost faith but then I saw the brighter side of it : in the end it is really one and the same path. So those retreats and inquiry were never time wasted. Just at some point consciousness pushes trauma. It's like the story of waking up is the journey of coming out of dissociation. For most people dissociation is emotional troubles, anger, and such. But then of course as we know here, the state of dissociation goes further into our consciousness. Hence one path. At least that's what it appears to me.

It seems I can do the arch lately without too much adverse reactions. Yet it seems like it has the same function as plants in that it is an aid, a way of harmonizing or alleviating energy that is stuck? But I don't think it is a process of waking up. But fair enough Lowen called it the way to "vibrant health".

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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2/25/17 11:01 AM as a reply to faB.
Many of my colleagues in my experiential psychotherapy circle practice SE. It seems like a truly amazing form of therapy. 
Being in a cousin approch to SE, I have some thoughts on how deep trauma focused and rapid "emotional reorienting" psychotherapy fits in with awakening. I feel that one of the main barriers towards the organic flow of awakening (and it's truly about removing barriers, not making something happen) is the vast emotional unconscious. As well as self-hate/judgement/superego structure, and "thinking that one knows" (anything). Thus, these therapies that work deeply on the body and emotional systems have the ability to integrate and shift around material that has been repressed/suppressed and such and lead to much shadow integration. And a side effect seems to be touching on one's true nature at times. But isn't a replacement for the work of awakening and meditation iself. 

The self-help work like this Reichian book are like imprecise DIY techniques to generally change around the system but it takes true precision of work to deal with dissociated traumatic experience. Humans heal the best in a deeply safe, intersubjective space with others. 

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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2/26/17 12:22 PM as a reply to faB.
faB:
@Dominik J

Do you know if / how it differs from "focusing", and "somatic experiencing" approaches?

I feel like they are all describing the same process of turning attention to the sensations, much like what we do in Goenka retreats. But with the addition of using words and images as sign posts to try and unravel threads of unconscious material / trauma.


Hi faB!

The Prendergast methodology is certainly very related to "focussing" and actually makes explicit reference to the process that Eugene Gendlin lays out. I'd say the addition to focussing is, that it a) embeds the process in a spiritual context (mainly the non-dual/advaita school) and b) also focusses it on developing one's intuition/self guidance capacity. The book is surprisingly upfront and uncompromising about the spiritual nature of therapy. I had the impression, that seeing the method with this background makes it more powerful and gives a better understanding on how the process works and what to concentrate on.

Concerning Somatic Experiencing, I dont have a lot of experience with that. I'd assume however that it is really similar and a friend of mine speaks very highly of it

Hope that is of help emoticon

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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2/26/17 12:53 PM as a reply to Dominik J.
Many of these new approaches to Focusing type work innovates the original work by Eugene Gendlin. SE is a great example of this. My work in AEDP therapy is another, neither better or wose but just different variations. These approaches innovate Focusing in one way by having their own ideas of different channels of felt-experience and it looks like this Pendergast book is no different. In my school, we focus on what we call the seven channels of experience: emotional, energetic, movement, physical sensation, vision, auditory/speech, and imaginal. Since the original discovery of Focusing many of these schools of therapy and self-help have expanded upon the original felt sense. As some people just don't seem to be able to experience a traditional felt-sense for a long time, but express their direct "experiencing" in different ways. And different people favor different modes or channels over others. In this way, the newer Focusing teachers and approaches can meet a person where they are at and find out where and why a particular channel of experience is blocked. Usually from trauma. This adds a particular precision over traditional mindfulness. 

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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6/16/17 10:32 PM as a reply to Dominik J.
Dominik J:
I found a documentary / marketing reel for Reichian Therapy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVwhJyJepHg

Interestingly I had similar reactions the last few times as the guy starting from 29:00, ie. murderous rage and completely unanticipated  terror. This stuff is so great.


Has anybody saved this video? It has been removed from youtube due to a copyright of The American College of Orgonomy.

I contacted The American College of Orgonomy, they no longer have this video for sale.

So they deleted it from youtube and made it unavailable to the whole world.

Thank you.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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6/19/17 12:50 PM as a reply to Mike Smith.
Is anybody practicing gagging as a daily routine?

I have just found this article: http://www.rogermwilcox.com/reich/orgone_therapy.html, which goes:
When someone experiences extreme anxiety, it can cause him or her to
vomit.  Reich may have assumed that vomiting — or more to the point,
the convulsive gag reflex that accompanies vomiting — acts to release the
pent-up anxiety.  Thus, one of his therapeutic techniques was to have
a patient stick his own finger down his throat and gag.

There is a possibility that frequent gagging, even without vomiting, may
damage the esophagus.  While it is well-known that bulimics, who often gag
to make themselves vomit, can get esophageal damage similar to that of
acid-reflux disease because of the stomach acid they regularly regurgitate,
what is not so well-known is that bulimics can also get tears in their
esophageal lining from the physical stress of vomiting alone. 
Although I have not been able to find any research in the area of the long-term
effects of gagging without vomiting, the fact that the muscular
contractions of the gag reflex are part-and-parcel of the vomiting process
may mean that gagging by itself might be physically stressful enough
to cause esopahgeal tears too.  Tears in the lining of the esophagus can
become a life-threatening condition if they bleed profusely or cause the
esophagus to rupture.

any informed opinions on this raised concern?

Thank you!

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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6/20/17 2:47 PM as a reply to Mike Smith.
A few years back I did the daily gagging (along with most of the other daily exercises described in Willis' book) for about 4 months. I noticed no problems with my throat before then, no problems during, and no problems since. I've also never vomited from the gagging, probably as I've done it on an empty stomach in the morning, as Willis advises.

I know very little about anatomy, but it occurred to me that, assuming that gagging can cause esophageal tears, perhaps the gagging technique matters. For example, Willis emphasizes to keep the throat open while gagging, which he says is difficult for many. And maybe the frequency of gagging matters? Willis advises to gag about 5 times in three minutes per daily session.

Edit: A week ago I started doing Willis' dailies again, and have noticed that when I don't focus on keeping my throat open while gagging, the throat gets quite tired and tense after just 3-5 gags. Actually, when my throat is open, it takes noticeably longer for the gag to even start.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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6/22/17 2:55 PM as a reply to Sakari.
Sakari:
A few years back I did the daily gagging (along with most of the other daily exercises described in Willis' book) for about 4 months. I noticed no problems with my throat before then, no problems during, and no problems since. I've also never vomited from the gagging, probably as I've done it on an empty stomach in the morning, as Willis advises.

I know very little about anatomy, but it occurred to me that, assuming that gagging can cause esophageal tears, perhaps the gagging technique matters. For example, Willis emphasizes to keep the throat open while gagging, which he says is difficult for many. And maybe the frequency of gagging matters? Willis advises to gag about 5 times in three minutes per daily session.

Edit: A week ago I started doing Willis' dailies again, and have noticed that when I don't focus on keeping my throat open while gagging, the throat gets quite tired and tense after just 3-5 gags. Actually, when my throat is open, it takes noticeably longer for the gag to even start.


Thank you, Sakari. That was helfpul.

I need to figure out whether my throat is open, I'm not sure how to do that. And if it's closing how to keep it open. Ideas?

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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6/27/17 9:42 AM as a reply to Mike Smith.
Glad to be of help.

Have you read Willis' book Reichian Therapy? It's linked in the original post. In the section about Proper Breathing he describes how to visualize breathing to keep the throat open. Note that in some other ways the Proper breathing technique is different from the breathing employed during the gagging exercises.

Also, it may be helpful to learn how a closed throat feels, so you can easier feel what its opposite is. If you happed to have tried some yoga breathing (pranayama), you may have come across a technique where on the exhalation you constrict the throat, and on the inhalation you open it as much as possible.

If you haven't, how about this: On the exhale try to make a sound like you're constipated and trying to force out the shit: A little or no air comes out of the throat. How does the throat feel compared to normal breathing? For me, the closing of the throat includes the moving upward of my Adam's apple, though I don't know if it's a necessary part of the process. Now, on the inhale, try to move the throat in the opposite direction, as open as possible. Alternate the inhale/open with the exhale/closed until you get the feel for it.

Note: Unlike the above yoga technique, Willis' gagging technique instructs to keep the throat open at all times, both on the inhale and on the exhale. He also says that it's hard for many people, especially when the gagging starts, and can take a long time to learn. But at least you now know what the open throat feeling is that you're aiming for.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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6/27/17 11:43 AM as a reply to Sakari.
Sakari:
Glad to be of help.

Have you read Willis' book Reichian Therapy? It's linked in the original post. In the section about Proper Breathing he describes how to visualize breathing to keep the throat open. Note that in some other ways the Proper breathing technique is different from the breathing employed during the gagging exercises.

Also, it may be helpful to learn how a closed throat feels, so you can easier feel what its opposite is. If you happed to have tried some yoga breathing (pranayama), you may have come across a technique where on the exhalation you constrict the throat, and on the inhalation you open it as much as possible.

If you haven't, how about this: On the exhale try to make a sound like you're constipated and trying to force out the shit: A little or no air comes out of the throat. How does the throat feel compared to normal breathing? For me, the closing of the throat includes the moving upward of my Adam's apple, though I don't know if it's a necessary part of the process. Now, on the inhale, try to move the throat in the opposite direction, as open as possible. Alternate the inhale/open with the exhale/closed until you get the feel for it.

Note: Unlike the above yoga technique, Willis' gagging technique instructs to keep the throat open at all times, both on the inhale and on the exhale. He also says that it's hard for many people, especially when the gagging starts, and can take a long time to learn. But at least you now know what the open throat feeling is that you're aiming for.

Thank you for your suggestions, Sakari!

I know how to lock the throat during pranayma, but I guess I never paid attention to the specific feeling of it.

I was also watching myself in the mirror as I was gagging, and I can see my throat contract during the gagging. I wonder whether that means it closes or whether it's just a normal movement and it's still open. I wonder whether there are some videos out there of someone doing the gagging with their throat open. It'd be very helpful to see what it looks like. Like the larynx videos here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_t7M6v7BOY but for the outside of the throat.

I've just started reading the book by Jack, that's where I encountered the gagging exercises.

p.s. to my original question of concern wrt esophagus I also remembered that in Ayrveda for 2 out of 3 dosha types it's recommended to do Vamana Dhauti (actually throwing up after drinking water) every morning. So it probably is pretty safe then.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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6/28/17 9:28 AM as a reply to Mike Smith.
I haven't observed how my throat looks during the gagging exercise and I don't know much about anatomy, but maybe we're making this more complicated than it needs to be. IIRC, Willis doesn't mention how the throat should look or feel, only how it should sound: "There should be no sound with the gag or rather the only allowed sound is a soft "uh" that may occur with the gag." (p56 of the first New Falcon Edition 2013).

So, with all love I say to you: RTFM!, the rest of it anyway, and only after that worry some more emoticon

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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6/28/17 12:20 PM as a reply to Sakari.
Sakari:
I haven't observed how my throat looks during the gagging exercise and I don't know much about anatomy, but maybe we're making this more complicated than it needs to be. IIRC, Willis doesn't mention how the throat should look or feel, only how it should sound: "There should be no sound with the gag or rather the only allowed sound is a soft "uh" that may occur with the gag." (p56 of the first New Falcon Edition 2013).

So, with all love I say to you: RTFM!, the rest of it anyway, and only after that worry some more emoticon
I definitely make a slight croaking sound, will try to relax more into it. Thank you.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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6/4/18 12:06 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Hey,

i just signed up to ask a few questions about Jack Willis book.

Im currently making good progress with the breathing and in a few weeks or months im going to start with the eyes and forehead exercises.

But i dont really get the tonic eyes open  exercise.

In variant 1: When i do the inhale, i have to open my eyes to a normal extend and wirnkle the forehead as much as i can. Then on the exhale it says that i should close my eyes. But what is with the forehead? Should i relax it while exhaling or should i wrinkle it permanently? 

Because in variant 2 it says: "On both the inhale and exhale open your eyes and wrinkle the forehead. In variant 1 you relaxed after each inhale, here you keep the forehead constantly wrinkled." (Jack Willis - Reichian Therapy - The Technique For Home Use, page 185)

So he says that in variant 1 i relax while exhaling, but a few lines below he points out that the goal of this exercise is to unfuse two unrealated muscle groups. But when im opnening my eyes and wrinkleing my forehead at the same time, im not really unfuseing it rather than fuseing it ??!?

And i variant 2 i constantly have to keep my forehead wrinkeld and my eyes are open all the time? Sorry, my english is not that good and i dont want to make profound errors.

Just dont know what i have to do with the forehead in variant 1 and also in varaint 2 im not completly sure.

Best regards from Germany
Matze


Edit: Seems like - if ive understood right - that i have to close my eyes and relax my forehead while exhaling in variant 1. But that wouldnt really be unfusing the muscle. It would rather fuse the muscle more if im not totally wrong??Where is the error in my thinking??

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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8/29/18 8:35 PM as a reply to Matze.
Hi Matze,

This can be one of the drawbacks of following the Willis book rather than getting personal guidance. His written descriptions of the exercises and the process are good, but they inevitably leave room for confusion and can slow people down, sometimes even to the point of preventing progress.

I've been working with this system regularly for 12 years, both alone and with others. The people I've met who have been working alone with the Willis book are usually pretty amazed at how fast they progress with a guided session. It's a different experience. Of course, that isn't for everyone – it depends on your situation and your intention. It's definitely not "one size fits all".

You are correct that in Variant 1 you let everything relax on the exhale. In variant 2, you keep the forehead wrinkled throughout.

Variant 1 does not fuse the muscle groups. It simply works the face in a different way. A lot of tension gathers in the forehead and around the eyes, and Variant 1 is one of the classic core exercises for addressing that tension. It's very powerful.

Not all of the forehead exercises are aiming to un-fuse the muscle groups that Willis is describing in the text. That's just one of very many goals of working the face.

Hope that is helpful.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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9/3/18 3:18 PM as a reply to Andrew.
Hey Andrew,

thank you a lot for replying! Of course, it helps much! Its awesome to talk with someone who has 12 years of experience with those systems. Nevertheless, i have a lot of questions, do you mind if i just ask you a few?

My chest breathing is still with the diaphragm and the accessroy muscles of respriation and  until now i cant really get rid of it ( total work with the book: about 4 1/2 months now ). Can i still go to the eyes and forehead exercises now? Because i can even feel the enormous tension there (on the forehead).

Willis mentioned, that the eyes in direction technique is extremely powerful and one of the most important exercises. Do you know why this exercise is so essential?

I have nobody who can apply pressure. Can i still use the "Working with a helper" chapter and apply pressure on different muscle groups on myself?

Im looking forward to hear from you again! That would be awesome!

Best regards
Matze

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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9/12/18 8:39 PM as a reply to Matze.
Hi Matze, 

I'm pretty sure that Willis says that you can go on to the eye exercises while still working on the breathing. 

In my opinion (and many others who have done this work), Willis is way too cautious with his guidance. He has his reasons for that, which are outlined in his book. It comes down to what your aim is, and what you want out of the work. 

If you were working with me, we'd be addressing the eyes and face and other body segments right away, while also developing the breathing gently over time. I agree with many of his warnings and the basic principles behind his warnings. But Willis is defintiely rather conservative with his pace of progress. That suits his style and his particular aims. 

Yes, Eyes in Directions is powerful. A huge amount of tension is tied up around the eyes. It limits our expressiveness, our connection with the world. The eyes are involved in how we present ourselves, how we deal with our states. We have chronic patterns and habits related to eye movements which we learned from reading left-to-right. Etc, etc. It's incredibly freeing to relax the eyes.

Whatever theory Willis had about the eye work, he took with him to the grave. And theory isn't particuarly helpful when we have practical application at hand. I would say: do the exercise many times and observe for yourself if it is important for you, and why. 

Most of the hands-on work Willis details is rather difficult to do properly on yourself. There are ways to use your hands on yourself during sessions that Willis doesn't cover. Simply massaging the sides of your ribs as you breathe is one simple way of getting at a few of those tensions. Sometimes simply putting a hand or a finger on the area can help bring the tensions into your awareness. As you gain more experience and familiarity with the exericses and the tension patterns in your body, learning something about using your hands on those areas may come naturally. 

Andrew

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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9/17/18 10:30 AM as a reply to Andrew.
Whow, that is really helpful! I greatly appreciate your information! Where did u get all your knowledge from? 

And do you can explain me the role of the nervous system in reichian therapy? I can often recognize people talking about  it in connection with reichian therapy and also Willis intended to write about it in his second book. And do you also have experience with Willis cognitive work?

Best regards
Matze

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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9/18/18 1:24 AM as a reply to Matze.
I've just been immersed in doing the work for a long time, by myself and with others. 

I'm probably not the right person to answer questions about physiology and Reichian work. The theoretical side hasn't been my focus or interest. This work makes profound changes to the brain and body over time in a way that is unlike anything else I've come across -- that I can say with certainty. 

I have explored the cognitive work, yes. Most inquisitive people are naturally drawn to explore that type of work, whether they follow Willis' specific suggestions or not. My focus has been almost entirely on the bodywork -- both exploring and furthering it (by myself as well as in collaboration with others). The bodywork really is remarkably unique. 

Best,
Andrew

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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10/6/18 6:12 AM as a reply to Andrew.
Hey Andrew,

do you can tell me or introduce me to some of your self furthered techniques? How do you know that they work, and how did Willis or his teacher know that when they do an exercise that it will work that way? Simply trying it? Isnt the basic priniciple behind the work to tense a muscle (-group) and then breathing into it?

And what is with the typical body defenses Willis mentioned? Like unnecessary tongue movement (this one is very hard to get rid of in my personal opinion) or closing the mouth after each breath. How do they effect the work (preventing hyperventilation?) and what did u do concerning these defenses? Or will the body regulate them as the work proceeds?

Willis also mentioned that you have to stop the week for one more week than it takes for the dreams to return to normal if your sleep and/or your dreams are heavily disturbed. Is he also overly cautious here  or is it necessary? What would happen if one wouldnt take one week more when the dreams returned to normal?

By the way: Are there any exercises to release tension at the temples?

Sorry for these thousand questions but im really curious about the whole topic.

Best regards
Matthias

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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10/8/18 3:15 AM as a reply to Matze.
Hello Matthias,

You're very welcome to contact me privately to ask about the developments we have made. It's difficult to describe in writing, and I have to be careful about describing the more powerful techniques in public – they may not be appropriate for everyone. (You can write to me at "andrew at reichian dot org".)

When you take a more relaxed attitude to the Reichian work than is to Willis' taste, there is plenty of opportunity for development. After a certain point, the body may simply volunteer something, or when working with someone else they may observe something that suggests a direction worth exploring. 

We know that it works primarily from direct experience – observation of clear results. Knowing the territory from a lot of experience working with others also helps. We know it works because we observed profound changes. 

I didn't do anything about those particular defenses other than be aware of them and keep refining the technique over time. There can be defenses that sometimes need a particular strategy to correct. Having someone guide you and notice the defenses is incredibly valuable and the best way to handle that. Otherwise the key thing is awareness. Nobody does it perfectly to begin with – it's a process of refining over time. 

I've never personally had my dreams or sleep be badly disturbed from the Reichian work. Not for more than one night at a time, anyway. Nor can I think of anybody else I know who encountered that problem. Willis is saying that if the effects of the session seem particularly potent, allow some space before your next session. That is very good advice. 

There are a few different things that can be done with tension in the temples, all tied up with the face and eye work. Too complex to detail here, I'm afraid. You could start with the exercises in the Willis book. Simply massaging the temples and scalp isn't a bad idea either. 

Best,
Andrew

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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10/11/18 10:11 PM as a reply to Dada Kind.
Curious to hear other's opinions on doing the exercises in Hyatt's Undoing Yourself vs going through the details in Willis' book. I'm reading through Angel Tech by Antero Alli which has motivated me to give this stuff another shot. I tried Exercise 1 from Undoing Yourself a few times back in college but found it difficult to find the time and privacy to keep up a practice. Then a couple years ago I tried to settle into the exercises in Reichian Therapy for home use during a period where I was trying out all sorts of mobility work, yoga, and somatic work.  I think I got quite a bit out of the facial exercises and a greater sense of my pelvic region.

Yesterday I decided to stick to Exercise 1 in Undoing Yourself for a month.  Originally I was thinking 3 times a week but after the effects I experiences from one session and reading through this entire thread I may stick to once every 4 or five days.  Any suggestions on determining a proper "pace" when using these techniques?

The session left me feeling amped up, with increased saturation and vibrancy in my vision.  As I lay in bed to fall asleep I started to experience inredibly vivid memories from moments in my life that I hadn't thought about in years but I started to see how they shaped my personality as it is today.  This happens sometimes during or after a meditation session but not with this amount of frequency.  Could have been a coincidence but it sounds like this is the kind of thing that's to be expected. 

I went to bed stressed out, had long and vivid dreams all night, but woke up feeling more refreshed than I have in a long time and my sense of smell (maybe the summer allergies are finally over) was reminding me of how things smelled way back in high school if that makes any sense.  I also plowed through tasks on my to-do list that had been stagnating for a while and almost feel as if I've taken some adderall, without any anxiety or jitters.

Anyways does everyone here have opinions on whether to go the Willis or the Hyatt route?  Reading the thread it sounds like it depends on the individual.  What characteristics would suggest that someone should choose one over the other?  What is is about Hyatt's exercises that make them more potent?

Thanks

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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10/12/18 2:30 AM as a reply to rik.
Hi rik,

It’s always hard to say without actually seeing someone do the exercises, but the effects you describe seem like they are roughly in the realm of normal for the Hyatt approach. If any of those effects were problematic, then there’d probably be changes to make along the lines of “take it easier” and “be more gentle”, “go slow”. 

Those beginning exercises in Undoing Yourself are quite gentle compared to the style of bodywork session given in Hyatt’s dvds. The beginning exercises in the book can really shake things up and get things moving big time, but there is way further to go along that path. That information in itself could be useful in deciding whether you’d like to go the Hyatt route or the Willis route. 

If you are getting potent results from the sessions, then it makes sense to ease off on the schedule. The point is not to overwhelm yourself. 

Three times a week would surely be a maximum for those beginning exercises at the start of Undoing Yourself. For the more in-depth sessions, one or two a week is good. If you need more time between sessions, then take more time. Hyatt recommended 1 or 2 sessions a week, or 2 sessions a month, depending on where you look. 

The key is to listen to your body, take it easy, and make haste slowly. It doesn’t matter what anybody else says or thinks about your pace when you are listening to your body. The effects are non-linear and not entirely predictable, especially with the advanced work, so it’s good to feel it out. 

Hyatt and Willis are different tools for different jobs. The choice between them depends on which style you are drawn to and what you’d like to achieve. 

Willis is presenting a method to make changes to your approach to life using a psychotherapeutic model. 

Hyatt is presenting a method to create much more radical changes than that. The intended result is a massive increase in freedom and awareness. The few people who have seen the whole process through have experienced very profound changes in their functioning. This goal obviously isn’t for everybody. 

Since Hyatt and Willis died, a few people have worked to develop this body of work further. The bodywork changes and new exercises are created every time it encounters the nervous system of a serious and capable experimenter.  

Personally, I began with the Hyatt material and then incorporated the Willis material when it became available. Both have their advantages. Most of the practicalities of the exercises are the same. They disagree in some ways, but they are basically similar tools presented for different purposes. 

One of the drawbacks of the Willis approach is that he is cautious and wordy. His style practically prevents the reader from making easy progress — it’s like he’s trying to slow you down in case you run into problems. If you are longing for the kind of intervention that Hyatt is offering, the pace of Willis could be frustrating. 

Hyatt did not share those concerns about someone running into problems. IF you follow Hyatt’s advice to go slowly, IF you take careful note of his instructions, and IF you are willing to experience significant and unpredictable results, then it’s unlikely you’ll run into any huge problems. I've never seen anybody get into trouble with the Hyatt approach if they follow the instructions. (That said, Hyatt people are generally willing to take some rough waters in order to get the benefits.) 

The issues that we frequently see with Hyatt students is that they go too quickly, or they miss some of the subtleties of the exercises. Hyatt didn’t really present some of the finer details, since his goal was to get a beginner moving and getting results. 

With Willis students we see that, after a lot of effort working on the basics, they’ve gotten comparatively gentle results. They are often primed and ready for a more potent approach, but they've invested a lot to get to that point. 

The great gift of Hyatt’s approach is that he removed all psychotherapeutic context from the bodywork. At least, that is a gift if you are looking for a way to eventually get over yourself completely. With Hyatt, the work becomes a way of changing your brain and body, of radical transformation. On the other hand, some find Hyatt’s style a little hard to take, or simply don’t share his goals.  

So my advice would be to pick whoever you are drawn to, based on the approach and results you want. As you progress, you can sample both and blend them together, like I did. (There are several other sources that also blend well.)

If you’d like a recommendation for someone to work with, you are welcome to contact me. I know a few people I can vouch for — I have seen them put in the years of work, get the results, and gain the skill in guiding others. It’s way easier to make progress and to do the exercises correctly with some high quality guidance. That would be my strongest recommendation out of any option, if you can do it. 

Best,
Andrew

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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10/12/18 8:11 AM as a reply to Andrew.
Thanks for the detailed and expedient response Andrew!

I'm going to start with two sessions per week and go from there.  I had intense dreams again last night, the kind that feel like they hold a stronger significance than usual.

Could you expand on the difference that you mentioned?  You mentioned that they are two different tools for different jobs, and my initial understanding was that they were the same system but applied at different intensities.  What would you say the difference is between someone who aims to "make changes to approach to life using a psychotherapeutic model" vs gaining "a massive increase in freedom and awareness"?  How do the end results differ?

One last question, IIRC the Willis book says that engaging in a weight lifting routine causes progress to stagnate and can even reinforce old armorning that had been dissolved.  Is this a concern when applying Hyatt's exercises as well?

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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10/12/18 12:46 PM as a reply to rik.
Just remember to take it easy and go slow. And listen to your body for clues that you need to back off. This work is unusual in that you don’t make quicker progress by doing more sessions. It takes time for the brain and body to change. You make progress by slowing down and taking it easy. 

For example, I did two sessions a week for years. Eventually the effects of 2 sessions became too much for me, and now I do one session a week. Occasionally I’ve had to take a break in order to let things settle down. It’s different for everybody — it’s something you have to navigate, and working with someone else can help that. 

The exercises presented by Hyatt and Willis are basically the same. They are presenting it with different guidelines, because they have different end goals. They are not opposed, exactly. Willis was a working psychotherapist when he wrote that book and was thinking from that position. Hyatt hadn’t been a therapist for many years — he was more interested in freeing and empowering the right students.  

I can’t speak too well to the results of sticking to the Willis system, because I don’t know anybody who made it through without introducing additional influences. I tend to meet Willis people after they have been doing it a while — they are totally convinced that the work is very powerful and have begun to observe fundamental changes. I meet them because they want some guidance exploring just how deep the cave goes. They seem astonished that they have become more open. 

People who stick to the Hyatt system for long enough tend to undergo enormous changes in their lives. Their interests change. They deal with stress more easily. They have a whole lot more fun than they used to. They’re more creative. They are bolder and stand their ground more. They tend to be more likely to have profound “spiritual” and “psychic” experiences. They have a reduced tolerance for what is false. There’s a lot more space in their inner lives. They have probably been through a lot of shocking self-realization and no longer relate to who they used to be. 

It’s worth noting that very few people have seen this work through by themselves. Both Hyatt and Willis are starting points for most people. If you can manage to work with an experienced guide or in a group, we have seen that it tends to go way more smoothly. (Hyatt or Willis never endorsed anybody, at least not outside a therapeutic framework, so you have to assess a guide based on their experience, results and compatibility. There are only 3 people worldwide I’d personally recommend right now, that I currently know of.) 

I would have to refer to Willis on the weightlifting issue. I've never done the kind of exercise he is referring to (very high weight, few reps). Nor have I observed the bodywork effects in anybody exercising in that way for very long. I can say that I have never seen a problem when using more moderate weights for more reps. The same with bodyweight exercises – no problems that I've ever seen. It makes sense to me that body-sculpting with very heavy weights could build tension into the muscle in a way that could be at odds with this work, but I have no direct experience to back it up. 

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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10/14/18 5:03 PM as a reply to Andrew.
From my experience after my first session this week I think I am going to be sticking to once a week or less after all. My good moods have been more ecstatic, my low moods have been higher in anxiety, and I'm still having intense, long, vivid dreams every night.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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10/20/18 1:03 AM as a reply to Andrew.
I got one more question concerning the chest.

Im still mostly using the diaphragm to push the chest up. Willis exercise "belly out, breath chest only" is not bad but when i try to breathe beyond this technique (just the normal breathing sequence while the exercises) i kind of  not using the proper muscles. I sometimes experinced it, but i have no idea how a real chest breath feels (with the intercostal muscles).

When you do a chest breath, do you focus on the side of the chest? I mean the side of the body under the armpits. Or where do you focus? And do you feel the intercostals with each chest breath?

The issue gets better and better, but i sometimes feel that i cant really use the chest if u know what i mean.

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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10/20/18 8:10 PM as a reply to Matze.
Matze, I'm going to respond to you privately about this particular question. It'll be way easier to address your specific situation with the breathing with a little more information. Look out for an email from me about this. 

Generally speaking, I will say that I personally think the Willis instructions for the breathing are not very helpful for the beginner. He is describing the technique as it would be performed by an experienced practitioner, rather than how it would be performed by a newcomer. The point of the bodywork is to address these kinds of patterns and tensions through exerises over time -- that's the process. Expecting someone to correct the breathing without having them address the chronic tensions that are maintaining their breathing habits is not reasonable. The process Willis recommends for correcting the breathing goes a long way, but it's a rather slow way of going about it. 

Trying to breathe the "right way" can sometimes lead some people to try to force correct breathing on themselves, which is not a great strategy for making progress in this work, and could introduce other issues. I prefer to correct the breathing gradually over time while working on the whole body -- we find that doing it this way, the body tends to get there by itself. The way I do it, we let the body find its own path, supporting it and working with whatever is needed moment-by-moment.  

There is a progression to the development of the breathing, and it is absolutely possible for a beginner to get tremendous benefit from doing the breathing "imperfectly", if they're following directions appropriate for their situation. When I've worked with people who learned the breathing from the Willis book, they are often a bit rigid and controlling with the breathing, and we have to work to loosen the whole thing up and get it flowing naturally. Getting from the Willis instructions to a natural breath is possible, but it's not the easiest path that I've seen. 

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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11/14/18 7:12 AM as a reply to Andrew.
Interesting comments, Andrew, thank you for sharing.

Where do you run guided sessions?

RE: Reichian Therapy - The Technique, For Home Use
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11/14/18 11:43 PM as a reply to Marcos.
Hi Mark, 

Most of my work now is through video calls with people all over the world, and in person in the SF Bay Area. I don't really want to go into details or promote anything here -- I'd prefer to keep this thread informative and useful. Feel free to write to me at andrew@reichian.org with questions if you like.