Bioenergetics is a psycho-corporeal technique in which respiratory techniques, particular physical exercises, positions and bodily contacts are used in an attempt to dissolve the “energy blocks” and the defensive mechanisms that crystallize over time on a physical level and on a psycho-emotional level.
Its purpose is the integration between body and mind: a fundamental thesis in Bioenergetics is that the body and mind are functionally identical, what happens in the mind reflects what happens in the body and vice versa, thus identifying a correspondence between the structure of the character and bodily attitudes of the individual, and a functional identity between psychic and somatic processes.
The practice of Bioenergetics is a way of interpreting the personality through its energetic processes which originate from breathing, metabolism, movement and sexual activity which represent the basic functions of the life of each individual.
In the course of bioenergetic work, the person is helped to get in touch with himself through his body. Using specific exercises it begins to perceive how it inhibits or blocks the flow of excitement in the body; how he has limited breathing, movements, self-expression. In other words, how it has diminished one’s vitality.
The analytical part of the therapy helps the subject to understand the reason for these blocks and inhibitions, mostly unconscious, by relating them to childhood experiences. The person is helped and encouraged to accept and express repressed emotions in the environment controlled by the therapeutic situation.
Vibration and motility
A healthy body is in a constant state of vibration both when awake and during sleep. If you look at a small child who sleeps you can observe light tremors crossing the surface of his body and small jolts in different parts of the face, but also on the arms and legs. This spontaneous motility comes from a state of internal excitement that surfaces continuously in the form of movement. When excitement grows, there is more movement; when it falls, the body becomes quieter. Vibratory activity is a manifestation of the innate motility of the organism which is also responsible for spontaneous actions, emotional abandonments and internal functioning. This intrinsic motility is not under the control of the ego or will, but is involuntary. One of the basic exercises in bioenergetics and also the simplest to perform is to start the vibrations in the legs and help to feel them. It is also the basic exercise of “grounding” or contact with the ground.
Grounding is the key to bioenergetic work and is related to breathing. Having “grounding” is a way like any other to say that a person has their feet on the ground. It can also be used to indicate that a person knows where he is and therefore knows who he is. When he has his feet on the ground he has contact with the basic reality of his existence. He is rooted in the earth, identified with his own body, aware of his own sexuality, and is inclined towards pleasure.
“Grounding” implies that a person “lets himself down”, that he lowers his center of gravity, that he feels closer to the earth. The most immediate result is to increase your sense of security.
The importance of having your own “center” in the lower abdomen is recognized by most of the Orientals. The Japanese use the word hara, which means belly and also the quality of the person as centered in this area and therefore balanced both physically and psychologically.
The zen disciplines of archery, the art of arranging flowers and the tea ceremony, aim to help you achieve hara.
Good breathing is essential for vibrant health. The aim of bioenergetics is to help you feel and release the tensions that keep you from breathing naturally.
This practice tries to bring the person back to a deep and calm breathing in which the inhalation proceeds from the pelvic area and goes up to the mouth. The expiration, on the contrary, carries out the opposite path starting from the mouth and going downwards. This serves to ease the deep tensions and allow the free expression of emotions.
Bioenergetics can help all people to deepen the contact with themselves to live fully and consciously the essential energy flows in their body. The consequence, almost natural, is to allow oneself to open up to contact with the outside world, becoming more sensitive, understanding, but also more direct in the relationship with others.
Franco defines itself as a person trapped in a sedentary lifestyle, however, he is an avid fitness “addict” and like, many more in his environment spends vast parts of his leisure time on a gym, running, cycling.