mental/emotional stress

    Body Stress Release is a gentle yet precise wellness technique that is safe and suitable for people of all ages and in all states of health. It releases stress locked in the body and enhances the body’s communication and co-ordinating abilities. John and Colleen Beck tell us how it works.


    In 1982 I was told that I had to have spinal surgery because of excruciating leg and lower back pain that prevented me from walking and even driving. This was performed, but only three months later the pain and paralysis returned. On refusing to accept further surgery I was told that I would have to take powerful painkillers and might have to spend my retirement in a wheelchair.

    After more than seven years of pain, a friend urged me to try Body Stress Release (BSR). I was sceptical, but made my appointments, and after only four sessions with Ewald and Gail Meggersee, the founders of BSR, I was totally free from all pain and discomfort. I had personally experienced the miracle of the body’s amazing self-healing ability! This life-changing experience led me and then later my wife to resign from our long teaching careers. We were trained by the Meggersees and now run fulfilling practices from our home.

    Body Stress Release


    BSR is a non-therapeutic, complementary health technique concerned with assisting the body to release tension that becomes stored in physical structures when the body fails to adapt to the stresses to which it is subjected.

    These may be mechanical, chemical or mental/emotional stresses. In this way the body’s ability to maintain and heal itself is enhanced. When the body is subjected to stress overload, instead of the stress being dissipated out of the system it becomes ‘locked’ into the body.

    This ‘body stress’ manifests as lines of tension at specific points, which may bring about postural distortions, pain, stiffness, numbness, degeneration and illness if not released. The impact on the nervous system disturbs the body’s lines of communication, thereby undermining its efficiency of function.

    At the first consultation the practitioner takes a client case history. While the client is lying down fully clothed, the sites of body stress are located by observing the body’s response to a series of pressure tests. With the information obtained the body stress is released by applying light but definite pressure at precise points in specific directions.

    The process takes between 15 and 30 minutes. Generally three consultations are carried out, which may be sufficient in those cases where the body stress is mild or has been present for a relatively short period. In the case of severe or longstanding body stress, another consultation is necessary within a week, followed by further sessions, with the number and frequency depending on the body’s response. Thereafter it is advised that clients be assessed for body stress three to four times a year for health maintenance.

    Stored stress interferes with the flow of life-energy throughout the body and often causes fatigue or lack of vitality. This energy should be used for enjoying life – not for protecting the body.

    Once the body stress has been released there is improved muscle tone, reduction in compression of nerves and circulation, and thus relief from pain and stiffness. The effects may be swift and dramatic or may take place gradually over a series of consultations, as tightened muscles relax at deeper levels. Thus after BSR there is usually a general upgrading of function, and clients experience improvement or relief from a wide range of ailments.

    The majority of people initially consult a BSR practitioner for relief from pain and to improve flexibility, e.g. lower back, leg or abdominal pain, upper back and shoulder ache, neck pain and headaches. However, the purpose of BSR is not concerned merely with pain relief, but with enhancing the body’s communication and co-ordinating abilities and thereby promoting health.



    Stomach problems:

    Lower back tension often impacts on the diaphragm, causing pressure on the oesophagus. This registers in the brain as food entering the stomach, so acid is produced in the stomach. This causes a persistent need to eat, and could lead to ‘acid tummy’, bloating, stomach ulcers and heartburn.

    ‘Growing pains’:

    Children may complain of pains in the legs, and younger children may refuse to stand or walk for no apparent reason.


    In many cases, people with long-term lower back problems also suffer from constipation or irritable bowel syndrome.

    Energy levels:

    Stored stress interferes with the flow of life-energy throughout the body and often causes fatigue or lack of vitality. This energy should be used for enjoying life – not for protecting the body. Once their body stress is released, many people report that they have more energy and that their joie de vivre has returned. This is because the body no longer needs to waste valuable energy by involuntarily tensing muscles.


    We must take responsibility for our own health. Unless our bodily functions are fully co-ordinated, assimilation, respiration and elimination cannot function as efficiently as they should. BSR focuses on assisting the body to release locked-in tension, which can then bring about an improvement in the body’s co-ordination.

    BSR is a non-therapeutic, complementary health technique and limits itself to its own area of expertise, i.e. the location and release of body stress. It is not involved in diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions, thus it does not duplicate, nor position itself as an alternative to medical services. In view of this, BSR has always enjoyed a co-operative relationship with medicine, with BSR practitioners referring to and receiving referrals from GPs, physiotherapists and various specialists, including orthopaedic surgeons and paediatricians.

    A version of this article was first published in the in-house magazine of the SureSlim Wellness Clinic (South Africa) in 2006.

    Recommended reading

    1. Meggersee G. Self-healing with Body Stress Release. Cape Town: New Africa Books, 2007.

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