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Reich’s Map of Body Armor: Cervical Segment


Have you noticed at times that your throat feels tight and squeezed? This is likely because you have a block, or armoring, in the third segment, also known as the cervical segment. This segment includes the tongue and all neck muscles.

We can also experience armoring in this segment as tension or rigidity in our neck. When we hold back feelings and expressions, we can experience a lump in our throat; a lump of pain as we swallow down crying, sobbing or anger. Sometimes our neck can feel stiff, reflecting stubbornness in attitude. We hold our neck rigidly as a way of saying “I won’t give in” or “You won’t get to me”.

Our breath and voice can also reflect this armoring. Our breath can sound harsh as it blows through our tight, narrowed throat and we may cough often to regain a feeling of openness. We might have a raspy voice or a strained quality when we speak. Sometimes, our voice is barely above a whisper as we continue to contain, over a lifetime, our big sound.

The sternocleidomastoid muscles (whew!) are thick superficial muscles on each side of the neck that help us bend, rotate, flex and extend the head. When armored, they can be very tender to the touch and inhibit our vocal sound and neck flexibility.
When the cervical segment is armored, it can affect us in a variety of ways. For example, we may have a fear of choking because our throat feels chronically closed. Some individuals have chronic panic regarding a fear of choking on food. Or, one might have a fear of being choked by another person.

When we are healthy and the cervical segment is free, our voice reflects our feeling of personal authority and a deep commitment to our life expression. As we relate to others in the many roles we inhabit, we need to communicate effectively and we want our voice available in all its intonations. Also, for full contact with others and ourselves, we need our tears and our anger to be accessible.

Orgonomists work on the cervical segment to free it by massaging these tight areas. They also suggest certain vocal expressions to liberate the segment.

If you carry tensions in these areas, consciously relax your neck muscles by rotating your head from side to side – daily if possible. Stretch your mouth open; let out a sound or a sigh from your throat. Sometimes, I suggest yelling in the car or at home into a pillow so you can relieve tension and feelings. Now and again a good scream of anger or fear releases a great deal of tension. Or come in for therapy and we can skillfully push on those muscles to help you release the armor!

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. How are Reich’s 7 energy segments different from Chakras and the bresthing exercises different from Yoga and can you recommend a good beginning book Thank you Bob

    1. How are Reich’s 7 energy segments different from Chakras and the bresthing exercises different from Yoga and can you recommend a good beginning book Thank you Bob

      1. Hi Bob – Thank you for your questions. The simplest way to get more understanding of segments and breathing might be to read more of my posts on those subjects. The 7 segments are not “energy segments” but delineate developmental passages and can become blockages in the body/ mind depending on how development transpired. Then the segments become “armored” and express blocked energy and defensive postures that effect the total functioning. The breath work in Orgonomy is unique and suited for facilitating opening body armor so there can be a free flow of energy along with mental clarity and psychological health. I hope that helps.

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