ENERGY IN BIOENERGETIC ANALYSIS
© Rainer Mahr
Energy, energetic processes, energetic charging and discharging, blocks and energetic flow are central terms in bioenergetic work and theory.
Our energetic concept is simple clear and you can experience its validity every day working with your clients. After exercises they feel more energetic more powerful. They also look more
vivid after kicking, beating and crying.
It's also evident that deepening respiration will force energetic processes. You will watch it every day everywhere. If there is no energy or too little energy there is no life.
So the energy concept of BA is simple, clear and true. And exact this point is one of its main problems:
The energetic concept talks about people who are watching, thinking, feeling, experience. All runs an the psychological or mental level. But it does not describe what is really going an
in our body anatomically and physically. That is no problem as long as we make psychotherapy relate to mental and psychological issues.
But as body therapists we try to modify human behaviour attitudes or feelings by changing physical patterns of the body. We force the respiration volume by relaxing the muscles of the
thoracic cage. By moving the legs and arms we force the circulation of blood lymph and metabolism. If we describe what is happening by working in this manner, if we will teach other colleagues what they have
to do to become effective in body work, we must talk and teach an the physical level. We cannot use any nice pictures. We have to use the terms of anatomy and physiology, the processes of metabolism and
neuronal structure. If we don't do it ‑and BA doesn't change to this level by talking about its theory ‑ we will never become clear understood and right.
Let it show by the following story:
Look at all those modern computers. Isn't it great what they can do? Not only can they write letters in the finest styles, they paint the most colourful pictures and create the most
exciting melodies. But in fact that isn't true at all! The computer does not write, does not paint and does not sing after all. The only thing it really can do is count. It is a very simple calculating
machine that simply can add or subtract 0 and 1. This is not very interesting for a computer‑user. What counts for him is the fact that he can influence the computer so that it paints pictures or sings
melodies. Only the expert trying to do something else with the computer cannot ignore the fact that he simply has a machine in front of himself. Only his readiness in accepting this and the precise knowledge
of how the machine is structured enables further development or the fixing off errors.
Working with our clients it is of course necessary to occupy ourselves with their mourning, to feel their grief in ourselves ‑ to act an the spiritual level. But if we ever want to
understand what we really are doing, if we want to find ways to influence the action then we have to know exactly how this system ' human being' is structured and how it functions. As long as we
don't ask for the relationship between the psychological phenomenas and its bodily base, our theory has no solid fundament.
So now let us define and describe we are really doing in our energy work.
1. What is energy?
There is nothing our body can do without energy. This universal energy of our body is called ATP (Adenosintriphosphat). It is a chemical product as a result of metabolism. That means our
food will be changed into products of sugar, the sugar will be changed into ATP But the body doesn't need all of ATP for energy. It only extracts a few of its electrons. The only thing the body really
needs for life are electrons and that means electrical energy. So if we talk about energy in B.A. we always must be aware that there is no mysterious power but only the power of electrons.
A very important part of our theory is that of charging discharging and catharsis. With the exercises, by kicking, beating and moving we augment the energy in our body.
Physically it is true, that you can force metabolism by more breathing to get more energy stored in your body. But be aware that every action of the body needs energy. So doing anything
is work and by work you get tired and exhausted and not charged with new energy.
If the body starts working, it first uses energy of the so called creatin metabolism. It is a stored form of energy which is ready to be used very quickly. And its reaches only for about
After that the body changes to the so called anaerobe metabolism. The energy ATP is produced without oxygen. It reaches for some minutes. If this energy is exhausted the body starts to
produce new energy by a metabolism of sugar and oxygen. By this metabolism the body can work for a very long time.
But all energy that is produced by these conditions are needed for work. There is no rest that can be stored. There is no charging of energy.
After work if you lie down for recovery then you can charge new energy. That means all effects of the classic bioenergetic exercises come up by work and exhausting energy but not by
2. What happens with the muscle if it contracts?
Feelings, problems, memories of our history are stored in the muscle system of the body by blocks and tensions which have to be loosened so that they may become alive again. But what is
going an in the muscle if it's blocks lose tension, stored memories etc?
The muscle consists of a lot of muscle fibers. Each muscle fiber consists of many muscle cells and each muscle cell has a special structure. This structure is able to make movement.
The most important parts of the structure of a muscle cell are little strings, called actin filaments. Between those strings there are other ones called myosin filaments. At the end of
these myosin filaments there are little heads. These heads can nick up and dock an the actin filaments. By this nicking and docking, the myosin filament tears the actin filament a little bit and the muscle
becomes shortened. This action needs only a very short time. Then the connection get untied and an new action starts. Of course this little moving creates only very little pull. But after such an action a
new one will starts and a lot of such actions will sum up to big pull and power.
Such an action will only become possible when there is enough energy and control to start to stop, or to define how much power and movement is needed. The muscle cell gets
the needed energy by some electrons of the ATP if it reacts with the heads of the myosin filaments.
This movement now is controlled by a specific structure of the nervous system. Your brain sends some impulses to the membrane of the cell meaning: start contraction. These
impulses will open by some steps a store with Ca‑ions. These iones react with some molecules of the actm filament and enable it to fix the heads. After the contraction the
boundaries loosen and the Ca‑ions are pumped back to its store. Of course, for pumping, the cell needs energy; that means electrons of the ATP If the level ofATP is too low, the
boundaries cannot loosen, the Ca‑ions cannot be pumped back and the muscle will become stiff
Another function of the Ca‑Ions is to prevent pulling of the muscle with only very few impulses of the nerves. With a very low Ca level the muscle starts contraction very quickly.
It is the state of tetany If the level becomes too high, the excitability of the muscle becomes reduced. If the impulses of the nerves come very quickly so that the flow of Ca‑ions
into the cell is faster than the pulling back, the contractions will merge to one tense contraction‑tetanus.
3.Measuring of contraction
To control the contraction the brain needs data about the state of contraction or tension of the muscle. For this there are sensors the so called muscular spindles. It measures the
state of the muscles and sends it mostly not to the brain but only to the spinal cord where it will be changed into another impulse which will start a new action of muscular activity
an another part of the muscle or of the body. It is called a reflex arc which is able to act and react independent from the brain.
So now wich this information of the physiological structure and functioning of the muscle, we must try to describe our concept of blocks, tension, charging, discharging and vibration.
1. I have already told you that the effects of classic bioenergetic exercises are the result of work which exhausts but does not of charge the body with energy.
2. How does the body create a block.?
If there is too little energy ready for work, the actin filaments cannot nick and dock and the Ca‑ions cannot be pulled back into its score.
If there is enough energy but maybe there is a defect in the control system, either there is no energy to start the process with the CA‑ions, or the score of Ca‑ions is empty, or the
nervous system blocks the impulses to start the control system. That means there is a problem of the program; its a case of mind.
Another problem may be with the system of the muscular spindles. Perhaps there are defects or the program (software) of the reflex arcs don't allow the muscle to move.
3. How can the body lose the blocks?
Perhaps the body needs more energy, more or better food. You can do some exercises for better breathing. With more oxygen in the body, the metabolism will run in a better
way and produce more ATP You must fill up the empty stores of the Ca‑ions in any way that the control system may work. By mental or psychological work you can modify the
program of the control system so that the muscle may lose tension.
If you push the muscle or if you have a massage perhaps you can activate the process of muscular contraction too. It is like pushing your car if the starter itself is damaged. By this
way you will activate and move the actin filaments or give impulses to the nervous system or you will activate the muscular spindles with its reflex arcs.
4. What's about vibration?
Doing exercises very often we see and experience fine to rough vibrations in parts of the body and we say that it's a sign of loosening tension and flow of energy. But keeping an
the level of physiology, we must say that there cannot be any flow of energy like the flow of blood or lymph. In our body there are no leads for electric energy, and talking about
energy we must mention of electrical energy.
We need to return to the reflex arcs to find out what really is happening during vibration. There are two muscles in connection with a reflex arc.
One's muscle function is perhaps to hold anything; the other one is to bow. Going into a stress position means to put the body into a situation that the information of the muscular
spindles are not clear. The reflex arc doesn't know what do. It starts oscillating from one position into the opposite. The muscle becomes confused and exhausted. I think that the
effect of vibrations comes up by exhausting energy and by an inner massage of moving the muscle, but not by a flow of energy.
I talked about modifying the muscular process by pushing the muscular spindles. But doing this, be aware that you never can push a single spindle. You only can push the skin
where you think that there are important spindles for your work. But the skin is full of other sensors. There are sensors for pain, for hot and cold, for pressure etc. That means
pushing the skin and releasing an unknown effect; you never know which sensor is responsible for the effect.
This fact describes a very important issue to realize when we handle the structures and functioning of the human being: There are different levels of going an . Some of them are
known to us and others we don't know or don't think about. But even if we don't know them they will be vivid. And perhaps their influence is very important for the issue we try
to explain. Then of course our concept will never become perfect or right because we omit the influence of those levels.
Asking if there are still some other systems important to our work is very exciting not only good in modifying our bioenergetic theory but in sharing our BA understanding with
psychotherapy in general.
Did you ever realize the meaning of our label: bio‑energy? Why do we call a psychotherapy method in this manner? Well I talked about our work with the muscles and that they
need energy and that this energy is electrical energy.
But one of the main hypothesis of modern physics says that there is nothing in this world but energy. Your skin, your hairs, your bones, this table, everything in this world is a
structure of the same energy . Every thing you are doing is modifying energy. So it is very clear and simple that psychotherapy is always energy work, whichever kind of
psychotherapy you use. With this implication Lowen tells to the psychotherapeutic world that there is no case to separate bodily processes from psychological or mental ones. If
you will take care of the unit of body, soul and mind, you must not talk about any relationship of them. There are no connections‑there is only one thing‑even energy. Following
such an hypothesis means to accept an revolution of our ideas of the human being as the crown of the world with its mental and psychological abilities. Nothing special but only energy.
Describing more precisely the human being as an energetic system may demonstrate now how to handle it for our bioenergetic theory.
You don't need to leave the level of classical medicine to find energetic structures in your body. So the nervous system is really a modern electronic information system. Every
information of the brain is sent to any place of the body in a digitalized manner. The information is changed into little units the so called bits just like in the computers and the
internet. The net to transport these informations are our nerves. There is still another information net with not digitalized informations but it also works an an electronic base.
Our cells only can exist as an electrical system. Between the interior and the exterior of the cell must always be a voltage of minus 90 millivolt, if the cell is not activated in a special
manner. This voltage is established by the so called calium‑natrium pump. The cell membrane has special channels opening spontaneously and pumping ca or na ‑ions into the cells
or reverse so that the state of voltage is well regulated. This opening and closing of the channels and pumping of different ions creates a frequency. A frequency is defined by a
defined number of inputs in one second or a special level is repeating in a defined time, like waves.
So now it seems that each cell cellgroup and each organ has its own characteristic structure of frequency. But the main important thing of frequencies is their ability to radiate.
They send out impulses which always are information clusters. These information clusters can be received by other structures tuned to the right frequency. What is going an is
similar to radio or television signals and reception.
Even today this information system of the body is not well noted by the medicine and the science of the human being.
But if you will accept such an concept you become able to explain the energy flow of the traditional Chinese medicine, the flow through the meridians though there are no leads in
If I am right that every cell is oscillating an a special frequency and each cell radiates, I can say that the whole body is a gigantic pot of radiating frequencies or of electromagnetic
energy which is nearly the same thing.
So it becomes understandable when there are people who can see radiation around your body and called it aura.
In that way you can also understand what is going an when people come into a relationship, and why in psychotherapy, relation between client and therapist is so important. If the
transceiver and the receiver of both is well tuned, there will be a perfect exchange of informations a real interchange and understanding an a very deep and basic level even
without talking or watching each other. For the therapist it is very important to become able to tune himself very precisely to the frequencies of the client. Every problem of himself
not known to him and not worked through will disturb this tuning.
I think that the concept of transference and countertransference will work in the same way.
Now our body is not only a system of different well integrated organs.
Each organ is a very complex system of molecules. The molecules consists of atoms and these atoms are made of even smaller elementary particles of which many have been
discovered to date. Now experiments have shown that these ideas of different stable parts which all matter and the world are made of no longer apply. Matter is not a concrete,
objective, unchangeable and exactly definable construction. It does not exist at certain places an the subatomic level but shows only a tendency to exist. All elementary particles
can flow into one another. They are formed by energy, transform into other elementary particles and dissolve again into energy. Where and when this happens cannot be precisely defined.
How can we have an idea of what is happening an this level and which meaning this could have for the understanding of our therapeutical work?
In the following we will have a view an the neutrons, photons and electrons the most important particles for our question.
The neutrons and photons are particles without mass and volume. They have a certain portion of energy that transport linear impulses into a certain direction with the speed of light
and they have a spin. They form the smallest units of electro‑magnetic waves and so they have a certain frequency. Neutrinos and photons are the most common particles in the
universe. They are omnipresent. If the photon reaches a certain level of energy (by acting and spinning) it changes into an electron or positron. In this process happens something
similar to what Einstein has described in his theory of relativity as the "black hole". What does this mean?
Einstein proved that in the universe space is contorted by the presence of a great mass. In a strong mass‑concentration space will be contorted so much that parts of the
room‑physicists speak of space‑time‑are dissolved from its surroundings. This would be as if a single drop of water were to dissolve from the ocean. The `black hole' develops, a
new space‑time with completely new characteristics. Space behaves like time and time behaves like space. In the "black hole" time runs in reverse. Because of that, other physical
laws change to the opposite: For instance, the second principal of thermo‑dynamics states that nature has a tendency to adjust the concentration of energy in certain areas. If, for
instance, there is a cup of coffee an a table, the coffee will cool down after a while. The thermal energy of the coffee flows into its surroundings. Inside the "black hole" the
opposite would happen. The coffee would draw energy from its surroundings and become even hotter. While in nature known to us there is a tendency to greater disorder (chaos
) in the "black hole" all physical processes tend to a greater and greater order.
It seems now that exactly the same physical processes which take place in the universe also exist an the sub‑atomic level, in the atomic structure of our human bodies. The great
masses of the universe that cause the `black hole' through the inter‑action between space and matter do not exist here. But the inter‑action between the photons produces such a
great density of
energy that similar physical effects may happen.
What can these phenomenas of the theory of relativity mean for our psychotherapeutic questions? If it is true that our bodies are filled with electrons, then there are unbelievably
many "black holes" in us‑ie. events with another physical reality to the one which we experience daily. Our future and our past are inside us and constantly present because there is
no time in the "black holes" according to our idea of past, present and future. The mysterious unconsciousness that we like to examine in psychotherapy has a real physical structure.
Now if two electrons meet an inter‑action takes place between the two of them. During this inter‑action an impulse is exchanged between the photon of the one and the photon of
the other electron. This process can be compared to two balls that collide. The colliding ball remains still but loses its energy and stops. The second ball will start to move and
takes over the energy from the first ball. This exchange of impulse changes the involved electrons in a certain way. Impulses are exchanged and these impulses are stored. This
means the electrons make something like experiences, they can learn. But I think that are basic parts of mental processes for taking in, storing , working through, giving
informations are the most important steps of mental activities.
But this means that this subatomic level‑the whole matter‑is made of such mental structures and are capable of mental processes.
Now I think that psychic experiences have a similar structure as mental processes, i.e. taking in, storing and giving of experiences and informations. Then you may say that an the
subatomic level there are structures similar to the psychis or mental level or that matter is mental.
This point of view about structure and functioning an the subatomic level means there is basically no separation between soul mind and body. The unifying element is the mental
and psychic structure of energy.
Therefore I come to the position that psychotherapy, whichever method you use, is always energy work. You are always engaged to modify and optimize the energetic structures
in the human being.
I hope that B.A., while developing its concepts and methods, will never lose this position that the human being is an energetic being and that psychic phenomenas are always the
expression of energetic processes and these processes don't differ from those going an everywhere in the universe.
Following such an concept will change our work, our understanding of men and of psychotherapy . But perhaps it will unify us wich everything going an in our universe. We really
will become part of it.