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Reich’s Map of Body Armor: Diaphragmatic Segment


As we travel down the body designating the bands of armor, we have passed the thoracic segment (see my last post) and are now at the diaphragmatic, or fifth segment. This band of muscles separates the upper body from the lower half. It is the gateway to the pelvis. It affects the openness of our breath. If this band is tight, our breath is stopped from easily moving into our abdominal cavity. Even if our chest is mobile, we can still have immobility in the diaphragm.

The diaphragmatic band, or ring, travels over the lower sternum and goes along the lower ribs to the tenth, eleventh and twelfth thoracic vertebrae. This fifth segment includes the organs underneath the diaphragm as well. It contains the stomach, solar plexus, pancreas, liver, gall bladder, kidneys and muscles along the lower vertebrae.

You can visualize this band as holding you stable, yet if it is armored, you could feel as if you were in a vise grip. Breath would push against this unforgiving muscular ring and therefore be restricted. The constriction would pull on the back muscles and vertebrae, creating pain and back distortion.

Orgonomic therapy helps loosen all these bands of armor so you can be free to expand in your breath, movement, expression of sound, and feeling. Through Orgonomy, you can offer the organs of the body full breath, and free circulation of nutrients and oxygen through the blood and lymph. If there are constrictions, every system is impacted, most importantly the autonomic nervous system.

When you lay down, does your belly balloon out more than your chest rises? Both should be able to freely rise and fall together. If just the belly balloons, you may have a tight diaphragm. Frequent nausea and some stomach disorders can be reflective of a block in the diaphragm. Also, freedom to vomit speaks to this segment being more flexible.

The diaphragmatic segment is addressed after the upper segments have been opened and before the pelvic area is approached. It is an important bridge between the upper and lower segments in Reich’s map of body armor. Orgonomic therapy is a methodical approach that works essentially from top to bottom. Beginning with the eyes, the therapist intervenes with the top segments. When those become more open, the therapist can move directly to the lower segments, starting with the diaphragm. Often, we lightly loosen the diaphragm right away in order to allow the breath to expand, thus energizing the body. Deep work on the diaphragm begins later in treatment. By the end of treatment, the client can feel movement in a lively way that circulates throughout the body and enhances sexual functions.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Hello, thank you for a very informative posts , I am broadly interested in this therapeutic approach, it is especially interesting cause it can be applied as a self-therapy . I also added this method to the self-help resource

    1. Thank you for your interest in my blog and this post. I disagree with your assessment that this is a self-therapy. This type of therapy is conducted with the help of a trained therapist in Orgonomy. Application of these techniques without the therapist conducting both character analysis and somatic interventions is not what Reich intended. Please consider my input.

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