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Biodynamic massage was first developed in Norway during the 1960s by Gerda Boyesen, a physiotherapist and psychologist. Through her research she discovered the way in which the gut and digestive organs are involved in the process of dealing with feelings and the effects of stress.
Boyesen introduced the use of a stethoscope so that, during the massage, the therapist can listen to what Boyesen called psychoperistalis – usually referred to as tummy rumblings – which occur during the process. These tummy rumblings help the therapist to monitor the client’s inner state as the Biodynamic massage progresses.
How does it work?
Each Biodynamic massage treatment is specifically designed to meet the individual needs of each client on the specific day on which the massage is undertaken. This means that there is no fixed formula, but rather that the therapist works with the client to address the client’s needs and concerns at the time of the appointment.
On some occasions, therefore, the therapist will provide a gentle, flowing massage; on others the massage movements will be deeper and more penetrating; and on other days the therapist will combine the two. No two biodynamic massages are ever the same. The aim of the therapy is to restore muscle tone, improve breathing, bring the nervous system into equilibrium and achieve a balance between relaxation and energy.
What does it involve?
At the very first session the client will begin by telling the therapist about their medical history and lifestyle. Then the client will be asked to lie on a couch or massage table, either fully or partly clothed. The decision about whether or not to remove any clothing is always made by the client, and will depend entirely on their frame of mind on the day of the treatment.
The therapist will use a range of massage techniques including touching, lifting and holding and will pause, at frequent intervals, to use a stethoscope to listen to the rumbling and gurgling noises the client’s stomach is making. These noises allow the therapist to monitor how the massage is progressing, and whether or not the client’s body is releasing long-held tension and stress. Each session will last for about an hour, and the client should expect to participate in a course of treatments that could last for a number of weeks.
What is it good for?
Biodynamic massage is particularly recommended for treating conditions which are thought to have a mind–body connection. These include headaches, migraine, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, digestive problems, hypertension, depression, anxiety, stammering, panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
What are the benefits?
Biodynamic massage dissolves tension within the body, especially energy blocks, which have accumulated as a result of past stress and emotional trauma. It is often used in conjunction with counselling or psychotherapy.
What are the side effects and when should it be avoided?
Because clients often release old emotional blockages during the session be prepared to experience tears, shivering, sweating or shaking during the massage. This is simply due to the release of stress or tension that has been held in the body and is a normal part of the healing process.
Anyone who is receiving treatment from a psychiatrist, counsellor or psychotherapist should discuss, with their counsellor or psychotherapist, their intention to have biodynamic massage before the treatment actually commences.
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