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A Brief History… Ortho-Bionomy® in Australia

Arthur Lincoln PaulsThe work of Arthur Lincoln Pauls (1929 – 1997), continues to inspire people today with its simplicity and effectiveness. Ortho-Bionomy is ‘the corrective application of the natural laws of life’, and Arthur devoted many years to developing this gentle, safe and unique system of bodywork.

Ortho-Bionomy’s history in Australia began soon after Arthur started teaching his Phased Reflex Techniques in the San Francisco Bay area of the USA in 1976. On the recommendation of an Australian who had heard one of his speeches, Arthur was invited to participate in a lecture tour of Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. Sponsored by the then Deputy Prime Minister, Jim Cairns, Arthur presented his work at the first Down-to-Earth Festival Conference at Cotter River Reserve near Canberra in December 1976.

Ortho-Bionomy continued to grow through regular teaching visits made by Arthur’s protégés – Kathy Kain (from 1986), Zoee Crowley (from 1988) and Ian Stevenson (from the late 1980′s). The regular visits from American instructors meant that formal Ortho-Bionomy training was, and is still, conducted in Australia under the auspices of the Society of Ortho-Bionomy International Inc.

historyquote1Ortho-Bionomy was also incorporated into programs organised by the somatic psychotherapy communities in Sydney and Melbourne. Courses were also held in Tasmania and Adelaide. Allison Baensch became a participant and co-coordinator of Kathy Kain’s early workshops in Victoria. She trained with Arthur to become Australia’s first registered Ortho-Bionomy teacher in 1994, practising in Melbourne. Dorothy Rooney from Sydney became Australia’s second teacher.

A peroid of consolidation in the mid 1990′s brought the various communities and training programs together. Janice Taylor began editing a regular Australia-wide newsletter. Additional visiting American instructors arrived: Luann Overmyer in 1995 and Bruce Stark in 1998, Bruce now lives in Sydney. In 1996, a New South Wales based Society of Ortho-Bionomy was formed and in 1998, Ortho-Bionomy® and the Sand Dollar logo were registered as trademarks within Australia.

In 2000, the first Australian instructor training seminar was held in Brisbane, an important milestone in the development of Ortho-Bionomy. The seminar brought together practitioners from several states, some of whom were meeting each other face-to-face for the first time. By this time, there were Ortho-Bionomy communities in Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Newcastle and Sydney. Interest was also growing in Darwin. This gathering led to the launch of the Society of Ortho-Bionomy® Australia in 2001. The Society set out to promote and establish an Ortho-Bionomy community, and to educate practitioners in the principles, philosophy and practice of Ortho-Bionomy throughout Australia.

historyquote2During 2010, as a result of a number of member feedback sessions conducted by a working group, it was felt that a name and organisational structure change was required. This lead to the recommendation to form a not-for-profit limited liability company as well as changing the name. It was agreed by the board to let the members decide on a possible name change in conjunction with the Board of Directors election held on 14 June 2011. It was unanimously decided by the members to change our name to “Ortho-Bionomy Australia Ltd”. The registration of the new organisation began on 26 July 2011.

Today, qualified practitioners, advanced practitioners and teachers provide a resource to the Australian public. Classes are held regularly in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin and Townsville. The ever-growing core of Australian Ortho-Bionomy clients, students, practitioners and teachers is backed up by the expertise of American instructors. Qualifications gained in Australia are recognised by local and international societies. The Society of Ortho-Bionomy® International, based in Indianapolis, USA, recognises practitioners internationally on the basis of an accredited curriculum. Ortho-Bionomy is practised in Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, New Zealand, South America and USA.

From the time of Arthur’s first and only visit to Australia, many people have contributed to Ortho-Bionomy’s progress, as formal and informal supporters, students, workshop co-coordinators and teachers – all generous in sharing their time, talent, effort and expertise. Ortho-Bionomy continues to grow and to benefit people, with committed communities of individuals from around the world sharing Arthur’s compassion, philosophy, creativity and sense of community.