Body-Mind Centering®

'Body-Mind Centering is an ongoing, experiential journey into the alive and changing territory of the body. The explorer is the mind — our thoughts, feelings, energy, soul, and spirit. Through this journey we are led to an understanding of how the mind is expressed through the body in movement.'
B. Bainbridge Cohen

Activating different bodysystems

Body-Mind Centering® helps us get to know and to sense concrete anatomical and physiological structures. Together with the sensing and feeling of the specific body structures we explore and experience the various emotions that emerge through this process. The blood in it´s different rhythms (arterial and venous) for example, reflects our innate tendency to be more outward looking or extrovert, or more inward looking.
"Each organ embodies a polarity such as acceptance and rejection, love and fear or hatred, courage and timidity, joy and anger, sadness and sympathy. When we bring our awareness to a particular organ we may experience such feelings; we may also perceive the relationship and attitude we have toward those feelings and the organ itself" (Hartley, 1989, 196).
By becoming more aware we expand our range of choice on a physical and emotional level. Different body systems are associated with different emotional themes and we can work with these in individual sessions according to requirements.

We often have preferences for specific body systems and find it harder to access others. During a session we will try together to recreate a balance in order to find support for those systems which have been neglected (= shadow systems). For example in the case of back pain we might try and find support for realignment through the organs or connective tissue and thereby find a way of releasing tension from the muscles and the skeleton.
Tensions and blockages in diverse body tissues can be released through specific touch and subtle movement, new information can be received and transmitted at a cellular level. Our nerve cells have the ability to create new neurological pathways thus expanding our range of movement and action.

Repatterning of developmental movement patterns

Another approach we can work with is the repatterning of developmental movements and reflexes which are the base of our adult movement and alignment. Developmental movement patterns that we missed in our early life can limit our adult movement range as well as our creativity and emotional expression. As we grow up our body often compensates for these skipped patterns by developing strong holding patterns, tensions or pain.
Repatterning through movement can relieve these tensions completely and can help to expand our range of movement experience and flexibility. This stretches across all levels: body, mind and soul.

Where are the origins of BMC®?

Body-Mind Centering® (BMCtm) was developed by the former occupational therapist and dance teacher Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen at the start of the 1970’s in America. During her therapy and dance work the people coming to her for help with both physical and psychological problems were making remarkable recoveries. It was her desire to understand and communicate to others this natural ability, "to perceive and to help people help themselves" that led her into her research.
This desire to learn led her to train as a neurodevelopmental therapist with the Bobaths in England, working with children with severe brain dysfunction. She also studied neuromuscular re-education with Clark and Bernard, Katsugen Undo (the art of training the nervous system) with Haruchi Noguchi in Japan, Laban Movement Analysis and Bartenieff Fundamentals with Irmgard Bartenieff, and dance therapy with Marian Chase. Her studies have been deepened through a wide range of movement and mind practices including yoga, meditation, vocal work, martial arts, and craniosacral therapy. All her studies and research with students and clients led her to develop her own approach:
Body-Mind Centering (more: Hartley, 1989, p.xxiv).

Further reading
  • Linda Hartley: Wisdom of the Body Moving, Berkeley, 1989
  • Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen: Sensing, Feeling, and Action, The Experiential Anatomy of Body-Mind Centering, Northampton, 1993
  • Deane Juhan: Job´s Body, New York, 1987