History of BSR
Body Stress Release has been researched and practiced since 1981, and the Association (BSRA) was formed in 1987 by the founding members and pioneers of BSR: Ewald and Gail Meggersee.
BSR is currently practiced in the United States, South Africa, England, Ireland, Scotland, Holland, New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, Italy, Belgium and Switzerland.
The Body Stress Release Association (BSRA) controls the mode of practice of practitioners, and is governed by the BSRA constitution. It ensures that high professional standards of practice are maintained by providing a code of ethics, a defined scope of practice, and disciplinary powers to deal with misconduct. Only practitioners registered and in good standing with the BSRA may legally practice BSR.
Ewald Meggersee B.Sc. (RSA), D.C. (USA)
Gail Meggersee B.A. U.E.D. (RSA), D.C. (USA)
Fear of becoming totally paralyzed while still in his 30’s led Ewald Meggersee, together with his wife Gail, to pioneer the body-wellness system known as Body Stress Release (BSR).
“I had the distorted posture of a 120 year-old and would frequently wake up paralyzed from the waist down,” says Ewald.
“And all my life—from the age of five, when I fell out of a tree and lay unconscious for a week—no one had been able to find the source of the continuous shooting pains and cramping I suffered in my lower back and legs.”
Ewald qualified as an industrial chemist, and met and married Gail, a teacher. His body pain didn’t let up. “Sometimes,” says Gail, “Ewald would scream out in his sleep and leap out of bed in the grip of intense cramping in his calf muscles.”
“Our blackest moment came the day he woke up feeling no sensation from the waist down. I watched in horror as he rolled out of bed onto the floor, pulling himself up via the wardrobe for support while he waited for sensation to return to his legs.” The nightmare became a regular occurrence for Ewald. “You can imagine my fear of going to sleep at night when I didn’t know if I was going to wake up permanently paralyzed,” he says. “Eventually it got so bad that I faced losing my job and spending the rest of my life in a wheelchair. We felt we had nothing to lose, so we decided to pack up everything and both trained as chiropractors in the United States.”
Over the years, Ewald had received temporary relief from regular chiropractic treatments, but the pain would always return. Now they hoped to discover something, which perhaps others had missed and find a way to identify the source of Ewald’s pain and reverse his worsening condition.
“During our studies in America we had the good fortune to meet Dr. Richard van Rumpt, a retired chiropractor who had researched an approach completely different to chiropractic manipulation,” says Ewald. “He talked about listening to the body and using it as a biofeedback mechanism that would be self-healing.
When we returned to South Africa, we built on his method of reading the body’s feedback response to areas of muscle stress and contraction.” The technique became known as Body Stress Release.
“What we discovered is that the body protects itself from stress in a highly organized way.” Although it can normally adapt to the various stresses and strains of everyday life—falls, jerks, heavy lifting, bad posture—if the stress gets too severe, the body suffers overload and locks the stress into itself in lines of tension and contraction.
This tension – or body stress – leads to pain, numbness or stiffness and it also interferes with the body’s self-healing defense mechanism. The body is less and less able to cope with or adapt to added stress, and begins to deteriorate further. This is why a person with long-term body stress may also feel tense, tired, and lacking in energy and enthusiasm for life. Headaches, backache and indigestion may follow. Sometimes a person suffering stress overload no longer feels stiff or sore – but just comes to accept as normal a sense of having less than 100% well being.
Word soon spread when Gail and Ewald started their BSR Practice in Cape Town in the 1980’s. Many of their clients, like Ewald himself, had tried other avenues of treatment without success. After a few years in practice they could no longer accommodate new clients and Gail and Ewald realized that in order to assist more people they were going to put their energy into training new BSR Practitioners.
But now the couple had found a gentle, almost miraculous way of enhancing the body’s own healing powers by releasing long-held stress locked in the muscle system. They knew it worked because Ewald himself, had gone from the constant fear of permanent paralysis to regaining his strength and the pain-free body he now describes as being as fit as a teenager’s.
“It is with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude that I reflect back and review the period from that fateful morning when I woke with the shocking realization that I was paralyzed from the waist down. That moment in time contrasts dramatically with the experience nine years later when I woke with a total absence of pain for the first time in my life. The wisdom gained over the past thirty-five years is that of trusting life and listening to the messages from the body, our most prized possession. It is a sophisticated bio-machine, and has enormous capabilities of self-healing. My awareness is enhanced as the layers of stored tension are released and the communication network improves. We all have this capacity to allow more of the potential within each of us to express itself. My wish for everyone is that your journey to health may also be wondrous’, said Ewald.
Excerpts were taken from Gail Meggersee’s book “Self-healing with Body Stress Release—Unlocking stored tension,” Claremont, New Africa Books, South Africa, 2007. For more information check: www.bodystressrelease.co.za