Home july-2019-issue Moving Towards Freedom: Effecting Optimal Health Through Reichian Inspired Exercises

Moving Towards Freedom: Effecting Optimal Health Through Reichian Inspired Exercises


Do you secretly love/ hate to hear about odd things that people do in bed?

If so, this article might make your day! Sexy or not, I love to do a particular set of exercises every morning in order to stay open and feel more alive and to keep vital nectar circulating well in my body.

What is this sexy vital nectar?

Wilhelm Reich is an important influence in what I am about to share so all aspects of our being are part of the process. The gentle movements that I’m writing about help me feel present in my body and ready for the day before I even step out of bed. They loosen segmental blocks that have occurred and continue to occur during my life and keep me lubricated and open from the inside out.

Reich’s Segments

One of Reich’s important discoveries was his theory about the “Segments” of the body. This term refers to muscle groups and plasmatic currents that work together in the biopsychosocial system. They move on a horizontal plane across the body and have the capacity to either facilitate or block our emotional expression.

According to Reich, and true to my experience, our life force moves from the center of the body to the periphery, and then beyond, leading us out into the world. It is the expression of our natural impulse. When this occurs, we feel pleasure. As adults, these segments dictate what we express. When we subdue our impulses over time the segments block our expression and become a protective armoring that comes between our full self and the world, leading us to react habitually instead of in response to what may be best in any given moment.

Segmental armoring is both muscular and emotional. It stops the current of life flow like what occurs when a hose is pinched. Think about the strength in your jaw. You may be able to see how effective a muscle can be in cutting off flow. The spine undulates like a worm and the presence of armoring inhibits spinal movement and expression; it cuts off our life force from inside, trapping our energy in the system.

Reich’s work consisted of laying people down and provoking the blocks through specific physical and breathing exercises. As the muscle groups were stimulated, the emotional material arose to be worked through and expressed, leading to an opening of the segment through catharsis and resulting in life changes. In the work that has evolved into Core Energetics, we understand that the whole person must be addressed. That means that the issues that come up in treatment must be tracked and healed on all the levels of our being: the body, our emotions, our thinking patterns, and our will or the level of behavior, as well as our spiritual perceptions. I call this the 5 levels.

When an issue arises, we examine how the experience leading up to the situation manifests in energy, (most often colored by events from our early life experiences) and how this reactive energy is either expressed or trapped, not just in blocks and the literal armoring, but on all of these 5 levels. When we address each level for a particular set of experiences that led us to unconsciously form a block, we allow for deep grounded change to occur. We incorporate neurobiology and trauma theory to the work in order to avoid flooding the system during the treatment. And yet, in Core Energetics, we believe that expression is key to therapy, even while we understand that expression manifests in many forms. For example, a deep sigh can be a huge opening in the system. And sometimes a tennis racket, pillow, and the movement of long held deep rage is called for. Both effect change for the whole system and make room for life- force to flow anew.

7 Segments, 7 Blocks,

The Ocular Block controls what we see, what we allow into our field. Eyes are the “window to our soul”, our place of expressing and receiving, of bonding and boundaries and reality testing. Proceed with care here. The muscles around the eyes are the first and only ones that a newborn human can control so our youngest information, and our earliest wounding, may be stored and possibly activated through stimulating gentle eye movement. It involves the many muscles around our eyes and the entire ring around our head. Many people with ocular blocks get tension headaches.

The Oral Block affects the mouth, nose, throat, our food intake, smiling, swallowing, the jaw, neck, sternoclydomastoid muscle, and the tongue, which connects to the cervical vertebrae.  Babies explore the world through these muscles when they are 6-18 months old and many of the beliefs and patterns related to asking for and getting our needs met are stored here. It is also related to our libido, our experience/ expression of pleasure, of nourishment and of connecting. It, along with the eyes, are directly connected with the nervous system.

Neck Block, the hotbed of tension, includes the throat, which has the capacity to express the energy of our whole body. Including the gag reflex, it is tied to the diaphragm and also loosens some of the lower segments. When one is safe to express their true experience, there is a deep biological release and opening. It is directly related to speaking our ‘no’ or our ‘yes’, both with our voice and with our arms; to taking in nourishment and pleasure or rejecting what disgusts us.

Chest Segment involves the pectoralis, intercostal, deltoid, trapezius, ramrods, elector spines and other muscles. It integrates our experience with contact, presence, breath, self-compassion, boundaries, and what we can take in. It is our heart center, our feeling center and our center of perception as it is the seat of our largest nerve plexus that allows us to take in information from our senses. Our immune function is highly affected by this segment.

Diaphramatic Block forms a ring around our lower rib. It includes the stomach, kidney and liver. The solar plexus is affected by this block too. It is where the Will meets the involuntary system and regulates how much we can take in . . .


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