It has been accepted that Reichian therapy is psychotherapy. It is not mysticism or meditation, or occult. It is not only about chakras or auras or meridians. It is distinct form of psychotherapy. The major difference in Reichian therapy with the colloquial idea of psychotherapy is that it approaches the psychotherapeutic process by working on the body. The methods of the Reichian therapy were first conceived by Wilhelm Reich, after whom the therapy had got its name, and then added to by various practitioners. Since Reich did not leave any detailed description of his technique, it is till date not possible to say with confidence which of the exercises directly those used by Reich and which were added by other practitioners. But this form of psychotherapy works through the involvement of various bodily exercises.
What to expect?
The proponents of Reichian breathwork believe it to be an effective therapeutic technique for the releasing pent-up stress, anger, and other emotional distress or turmoil. People who have held back or repressed their needs, feelings,and desires might discover this approach to aid them release these. The practice of Reichian breathwork may cause some experience increased emotional well-being and greater self-esteem, making it easier for them to heal from emotional turmoil and create greater acceptance, both for themselves and for others.
How does it work?
People in the initial stage of Reichian therapy sessions typically invest time in exploring present and past areas of turmoil with the therapist. Doing so results in rapport formation with the therapist and helps the individual identify areas of concern, there onwards, breathing exercises will then attempt to address.
To begin with the breathing exercise, an individual is instructed to lie on their backs, with legs bent upward and hands on the respective sides. After locating the areas of problem and difficulty, the therapist actively guides the individual to to address those areas. Active full body breathing, composed of deep inhalation and active exhalation is practised. The therapist instigates the individual in treatment to feel as free or as light as possible while performing full body breathing, allowing any sounds or movements that might occur in the course of the session. The goal is for the individual to achieve a state of safety that allows them to freely release any impulses or emotions they experience during the breathing exercises sessions.
When is it used?
Individuals who are experiencing physical or psychological symptoms of distress might find breathwork a helpful practice for achieving relaxation and calmness and thereby live with a greater well being.
Role of therapist:
The therapist usually guides the person to perform different bodily movements or/and to apply pressure to particular areas of the body, in order to easily release muscular tension and aid the individual to learn to be flexible and achieve a more comfortable state of being with the practice of free-flowing deep breathing.
Reichian breathwork can be practiced by individuals who have taken up Reichian therapy on their own, but the many components of the approach must first be learned properly from therapist . Individuals who begin with the practice Reichian breathwork usually goes for weekly sessions of one hour, until they thoroughly learn the therapy.
Sharaf, M. (1994). Fury on earth: A biography of Wilhelm Reich. New York: Da Capo Press.
Turner, C. (2011). Adventures in the Orgasmatron: How the sexual revolution came to America. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Willis, J. (2013). Reichian therapy: A practical guide for home use. New Falcon Publications.
Douglas-Klotz, N. (1997). "The natural breath: Towards further dialogue between Western somatic and Eastern spiritual approaches to the body awareness of breathing." Religious Studies and Theology, 16(2), 64.