A conversation with the body


  • How long does an Ortho-Bionomy session last in terms of effectiveness? An Ortho-Bionomy session can “last” different lengths of time, depending upon the resident health of the individual. Usually after a first session I’m interested to see how well the work “held” – meaning, say if we were working with a damaged shoulder, how long was the shoulder pain-free after a session. Some cases take longer than others to actually “hold” – in the case of severe acute injury, it may take many months to heal, but all the while we are strengthening the entire system with bodywork to aid in healing. You will see small improvements along the way – better posture, sleeping better, etc. During this time we are increasing the body’s ability to rebound, to regain health, to bounce back.
  • What can I expect from a session? Ortho-Bionomy sessions are done completely clothed, only the shoes removed. In an introductory session, the practitioner will check all body systems and pay particular attention to the area that the client is concerned about. Even people who feel they don’t have anything “wrong” with them report that they feel a greater sense of well-being and connection after a session. Those who come for specific issues may report that their back, shoulder, neck, etc. is doing better. A session runs generally from 50 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Is there anything I can do to prepare? Wear comfortable clothing. For the horse, have them on a halter and lead.

    Palpating the shoulder blade
    Palpating the shoulder blade
  • Should my horse receive a session before a competitive event? It is often a good idea for a horse to receive a session about a week before an event. Ideally, if a horse has not received work from me before, I might like to see him/her a couple of times before an event, so that the work is nicely integrated into the body.


  • Should my horse receive a session after a competitive event It is often a good idea for a horse to receive a session after an event, just to give him/her additional resources.
  • How often should I or my horse receive a bodywork session? This really depends upon the condition being addressed. I have clients that I see once weekly initially, while they are in an acute phase of injury or recovery, and that will taper off to once every two-three weeks as they become more resourced and healthy. Some with ongoing conditions, I continue to see every other week. And others that are on more of a maintenance schedule and are relatively healthy, I see once every month to six months.
  • What does it mean when you say “release?” A release is the release of energy from tension patterns and knots in the structure. The body will spontaneously self-correct, and a release is one way in which it exhibits its move toward self-correction. Not every response, i.e., sighs, blinking, etc. is a release, but rather a response to work.


  • Can I or my horse receive other forms of bodywork while receiving an Ortho-Bionomy session? Yes, but it is best to not schedule them too close together, otherwise the body is working too hard to integrate too much information, which can also be conflicting information.
  • What types of exercise are appropriate for injury recovery? Exercise will depend upon the ability of the individual and the type of condition being addressed.
  • Is Ortho-Bionomy energetic or structural? My answer: “both.”

It is an important question to me because many times people think that a form of bodywork has to be one or the other. If you are doing a massage, then the work primarily involves musculature and fascia. If you are doing chiropractic, then you are working on the spine. If you do acupuncture, then you are working with “chi,” or life force and work on organs and specific conditions.

In each of these modalities and in Ortho-Bionomy structure is at the heart of the work. A system based on structure provides a road map to health.

To understand the body, not just one aspect of it, but to have an understanding of all its systems, grounds the practitioner in his or her work. Concurrently, there are many energetic things going on in bodies, as a result of accidents, trauma, emotional upsets, just life in general, so there is always an energetic aspect. The body holds the story, and bad memories or trauma may never be erased, but we can get it to where the trauma is not firing randomly or when certain things happen. There is a certain grace in this.

A client of mine just recently said, “I know I need a session because I can feel one leg is longer than the other and my shoulder is up near my ears.”

This person started two or three years ago not knowing that Ortho-Bionomy was any different than massage or chiropractic. He just knew he needed some help. Now his body knows what it is feeling and where, so it has become educated in a very basic way to guide him.











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