FIGURE 2.2. The Chinese exercise of the stool to activate breathing in the lower abdomen.
A vignette on Lowen’s method. Lowen asks a male patient to undress down to his underwear, then to lie down on a mattress. Lowen notices that the patient is not breathing spontaneously from the abdomen. He asks the patient to breath from the lower abdomen. The patient cannot do this. He then asks the patient to keep his feet flat on the mat, knees bent, and to lift his bottom as high as possible; and then to hold this position, at all cost, as long as possible while letting the respiration 20 develop. He recommends to the patient to breathe deeply with an open mouth; for this way to breath mobilizes the vegetative and emotional reactions. Typically, within five minutes, the participant complains of painful stress. Lowen proposes that the individual face the pain of the stress by expressing the pain and rage that is being experienced by screaming No!â while hitting the mat with the fists, and by shaking the head from side to side without losing the basic position. At the end of ten minutes, in a rather spectacular way, the respiration of the lower abdomen releases itself and memories of childhood trauma rise to the surface.
This way of doing things is sometimes useful, but if the goal is to liberate the abdominal respiration, then this method is uselessly shocking and sometimes retraumatizing.