Body Stress Release (BSR) is a complementary technique, pioneered in South Africa by Ewald and Gail Meggersee since 1981. It has its roots in chiropractics (Ewald and Gail being chiropractors themselves), but is completely different from it in practice. This gentle technique assists the body in its own healing process and brings effective relief against all forms of tension, pain and discomfort caused by the build up of stress in the body ("body stress").
BSR was introduced into Australia by the end of 2000, when the first Australian practitioner arrived back from the BSR Academy in Rondevlei, South Africa.
THE TECHNIQUE ITSELF:
The practitioner makes use of a specially designed couch, that can transfer the client from a standing position to a lying position. In this way, even people with severe backaches, or with impaired mobility (wheelchair clients, for instance), can be lowered smoothly and without pain.
With the person fully clothed and lying down, the practitioner carries out a series of tests to locate the exact sites of the stress, and determine the precise directions in which the lines of tension exist. This is done by applying light pressure to various points on the body, and observing the response. In this way, the body acts as a biofeedback mechanism, supplying the information required.
The practitioner then applies stimuli, by means of light but definite pressure, in the exact directions necessary to encourage the body to release the stored tension. The applies pressure works on nerve impulses in the muscles; it is this activation of the nerves which releases the compression in the muscles and explains the body's rapid response. Thus a more efficiently functioning nervous system assists the body in maximising its self-healing capacity.
HOW DO WE ACQUIRE BODY STRESS ?
In our daily lives we are subjected to various forms of stress:
Mechanical Stresses such as accidents, poor posture, incorrect lifting;
Chemical Stress, such as pollutants, or harmful substances which irritate the nervous system;
Mental and Emotional Stresses, which cause us to tense our neck, shoulders and abdomen.
Even if the stresses are mild, they tend to build up, causing the muscles to gradually lock up. Obviously it is preferable to have the body stress released before it accumulates to the level of causing pain and malfunction.
IN THE ABSENCE OF PAIN, WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF BODY STRESS ?
As the stresses become stored in the body a person will become aware of not feeling completely well. It may manifest as a lack of energy or difficulty in thinking clearly. There may be some stiffness on rising in the morning, which eases as one moves about. Babies may become irritable and children may appear uncooperative and lacking concentration.
WHAT CAUSES AN IMBALANCE IN YOUR BODY ?
Stress causes our energy to become out of balance and is a major cause of illness. It is therefore logical that to maintain health and happiness our bodies require regular release from stress overload. Daily we are all subjected to various stresses. A certain amount is necessary, to provide us with challenges and to stimulate us to strive for survival and progress. Stress becomes a negative, destructive factor when it goes beyond the individual's ability to adapt to it.
The hurried pace of modern life and the competitive environment of both our work and our leisure time creates stresses. Once the body's capacity to effectively deal with this has been reached, it becomes locked into the physical structure. It is like bending your finger backwards; it can only go so far before it breaks!
WHY DO PEOPLE SEEK BODY STESS RELEASE CARE ?
Most commonly people seek Body Stress Release for relief from pain, stiffness or other discomfort. Often it is because of lower back pain or leg pain, caused by stored tension in the lumbar spine; headaches, resulting from body stress in the neck numb fingers due to compression in the lower neck affecting the nerve supply to the arms and hands. However, BSR has a greater purpose than merely the alleviation of symptoms - it is concerned with assisting the body in maintaining health.
OUR BODIES ARE SELF-HEALING AND SELF-MAINTAINING
The body's natural ability to maintain health depends on the co-ordination of all functions - this is controlled by the brain and nervous system. If there is tension locked in the physical structures, the irritation to the nervous system undermines its efficiency. For example, pressure in the lower back may not only cause pain, but also disturbs the nerve supply to the internal organs, such as the digestive and reproductive system. Compression in the neck means that there is an impact on the nerves, which have connections to the eyes, mouth, heart, and so forth. Therefore, to promote efficiency of body function we need to keep ourselves free of stored body stress.
BODY STRESS RELEASE FOR HEALTH MAINTENANCE
Body Stress Release is for everyone, from infants to the elderly, whether sick or healthy. Everyone's quality of life may be enhanced, by being assessed for body stress and having it released from time to time. Regular Body Stress Release sessions can effectively help the body to maintain its inborn sense of balance. It is impossible to overestimate the magnitude of the health benefits once locked in tension has been released from the body.
The body is capable of healing wounds and fractures, counteracting harmful chemicals, adapting to sudden changes in temperature, fighting off infection and more. While stress overload or tension remains stored in the body, the normal tone of the body is disturbed, causing a reduction in its general efficiency. As its defence mechanisms become weakened, the body becomes less and less able to deal with further stresses to which it is subjected daily.
Making a conscious shift to empower change becomes a reality, once the Life Force flows freely again. Releasing locked in tension may result in restoring all vital communication pathways between the brain and the nervous system.
Body Stress Release works with the body's natural striving to be stress free. In this way the individual moves increasingly towards the optimum state of health. Perfect health and wellbeing is the result of a balanced and harmonious body. By enhancing the lines of communication Body Stress Release enables us to constructively adapt to the stresses of life, thereby assisting the body to heal and maintain itself.
It is essential that during pregnancy the lower back must be kept free from tension. If there is body stress present in the lumbar spine, additional tension is exerted on the ligaments connecting the uterus to the sacrum, causing severe discomfort in the lower back. This may also cause irritation to the nerve supply to the legs, resulting in leg pain.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD A PERSON BE ASSESSED FOR BODY STRESS?
When a person has completed the series of BSR sessions it is advisable to have follow-up appointments within a month's time. In this way, we can assist our body to maintain and heal itself and any re-stressing of areas may be released before symptoms arise.
Body Stress Release is not a diagnosis or treatment of any condition or disease. It is concerned only with locating and releasing stored tension, so that the body is assisted in its in-built ability to maintain and heal itself.
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*Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended for general use and for personal interest only. It should not be used or understood as suggestion or medical advice.