alp      A Brief History of Ortho-Bionomy in Australia

The gentle, safe and unique system of bodywork was developed by an Osteopath, Arthur Lincoln Pauls (1929 – 1997). In his words Ortho-Bionomy is ‘the corrective application of the natural laws of life. From humble beginnings, Ortho-Bionomy is now practised in Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, New Zealand, South America and USA.

Arthur started teaching his Phased Reflex Techniques in the San Francisco Bay area of the USA in 1976 and it was introduced to Australia shortly after. 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 including a presentation at the first Down-to-Earth Festival Conference near Canberra in December 1976.


Inspired by its simplicity and effectiveness, some of Arthur’s protégés – Kathy Kain (from 1986), Zoee Crowley (from 1988) and Ian Stevenson (from the late 1980′s) presented classes locally in Australia. Other classes were taught by instructors who had travelled to the US to gain qualifications there.


Initially training in Ortho-Bionomy was conducted in Australia under the auspices of the Society of Ortho-Bionomy International Inc. Ortho-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.

History Quote One

Ortho-Bionomy classes continued to spread in Australia supported by additional visiting American instructors: Luann Overmyer in 1995 and Bruce Stark in 1998. Bruce now lives in Sydney and continues to practice and teach. Progress continued with the formation of a New South Wales based Society of Ortho-Bionomy (1996) and  Janice Taylor began editing a regular Australia-wide newsletter. Ortho-Bionomy® and the Sand Dollar logo were registered as trademarks within Australia in 1998.

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. At this time, however, the training program and certification of Practitioners, Advanced Practitioners, Instructors and so on was conducted by the international society located in the US.

History Quote 2

During 2010, as a result of several member feedback sessions, it was felt that Australia now needed its own organisation to independently oversee the training and certification process. Having a local organisation would mean that all paperwork could now be processed in Australia rather than by the international board in the US. So, in conjunction with the Board of Directors election held on 14 June 2011, the members unanimously decided 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.