A woman in her seventies had x-rays taken which showed advanced osteoarthritis of the spine – regeneration of the vertebrae with many osteophytes – bony outgrowths, especially in the neck region. She had been in constant, increasing pain over the years. After two sessions of BSR, her neck was more mobile and she was free of pain. It had been assumed that the osteophytes had been encroaching on the spinal nerves. However, the fact that the pain withdrew after the releases showed that in this case the bony spurs were not exerting pressure on the nerves. The pain was caused by the compression effect of the tension stored in the back structures. 

Older people often blame pain and malfunction on ageing, and learn to ‘live with’ their problems.  When they talk about being too old to expect any improvement, they need to be reminded that, just as a cut on the skin heals itself, no matter the age of the person, the healing process remains active throughout the body.  

(An excerpt from BSR Founder Gail Meggersee’s book:  Body Stress Release, Unlocking tension – Restoring self-healing)

Stiff Necks and Tension Headaches

Stiff Necks and Tension Headaches

Stiff necks and tension headaches are common enough symptoms of stress and are all too often dismissed as the norm of modern living. The
bad news is that stress can in fact do us serious physical damage and increasingly it is being cited as the modern day evil at the root of many chronic ailments. This prompted me to book my first session at The Body Stress Release Centre in Rivonia, Johannesburg, where I found that more and more people are finding relief from painful ailments in Body Stress Release technique. By Wendy Major.

Ewald and Gail Meggersee, both qualified chiropractors, began research into body stress release in 1981 and seven years later technique was introduced. Body Stress Release is a technique whereby pressure and human touch are used to release stress that has built up in the muscles in the body. The result is a greater sense of well-being and in many cases the complete healing of chronic ailments.

While our bodies need a certain amount of stress,” says Samantha Quigley, one of the practitioners at The Body Stress Release Centre in Rivonia, “stress overload causes the muscles of the body to react in a way that is detrimental to our health.”

The body’s reaction to stress starts in the muscles. Work pressure may cause the muscles in the neck to tense up, or bad posture may put the muscles of the lower back under strain. If this stress is not released it becomes locked in the afflicted muscle which eventually seizes up.

“When this happens we are seldom aware of it,” says Samantha. “As the muscle tenses up, the compression on the nerves actually inhibits the messages of pain and discomfort to the brain. The affected muscles are in fact numb.”

With Body Stress Release, muscles are stimulated in a way that takes the pressure off the nerves and life comes back into the muscles. This is why after a first session, the client may experience some pain and discomfort. With the release of tension, feeling starts to return to the muscle as it adapts to a new state of suppleness and sensitivity. At a second session patients frequently report a dramatically heightened sensitivity to pressure in the muscles. This is a good indicator to the practitioner that healing is taking place.

While body stress in the muscles can cause considerable pain and stiffness, the problem does not end there. “Muscles do not act in isolation,” says Samantha. “They support the organs of the body and other functions are blood circulation and the nervous system. Stress and compression in the muscles can very well hamper the healthy functioning of the body, giving rise to related and possibly serious ailments.”

To use an example, the muscles of the lower back support the organs in that region. If there is muscle tension in the lower back, the supply of nervous impulses and blood in the abdominal and reproductive areas is obstructed. This may result in problems like constipation, indigestion or infertility. Similarly, body stress in the neck may affect the shoulders, arms, hands and head. Symptoms range from headaches, dizziness and vision impairment to shoulder pain, pins and needles or numbness in the arms and hands.

Many are familiar with the mental and emotional stress of a hectic day or a traumatic experience. But there are other forms of stress which are frequently overlooked. Bad posture or incorrect exercising can put considerable and unnatural strain on the muscles.

Our body is also constantly under attack from chemical pollutants in food and cosmetics. The body’s intolerance to certain chemicals may give rise to a physical reaction in the muscles which causes a similar build up of body stress.


You stand up against a specially designed bed that is gradually lowered. Samantha explains, “It may be necessary to lower a person slowly in the case of a severe lower back problem. Also, at times, after body stress is released, there is a rapid relaxation of tensed muscles and the restoration of nerve impulses may cause a few moments of dizziness.”

It may seem puzzling to feel the practitioner poking sites along your spine and then hastening to look at your feet. What the practitioner is in fact doing is locating the exact sites of body stress by carrying out a series of pressure tests and observing the body’s response.

“The stimulation of the muscle causes a reflex action which shows in the feet,” explains Samantha. “The result is a slight shortening of the leg on that side of the body. This enables us to locate the source of tension.”

Having located the precise sites of body stress, light but definite pressure is applied in specific directions. The technique is not a massage. The applied pressure works on nerve impulses in the muscles: it is this activation of the nerves, which releases the compression in the muscles and explains the body’s rapid response. Each session involves a complete stimulation of the muscles of the body to improve the body’s own healing mechanisms.

“Effects may be dramatic,” says Samantha, “with instant relief of pain or straightening of distorted posture. But if the body stress has been present for a long time, it may take several sessions to release the layers of locked in tension. Once the stress has been released, clients are advised to return for body stress three or four times a year for health maintenance.” Alternatively you could treat yourself once a month to a session that really makes you feel great.

Body stress release does not diagnose or treat specific ailments. It only identifies areas of tension. But the technique involves a complete stimulation of the muscles of the body to improve the body’s own healing mechanisms.

Body Stress Release has played a crucial role in healing a wide range of ailments. One interesting case was a 28 year old man who had lost his voice completely. Doctors knew it was stress related but did not know how to treat it. A session of Body Stress Release revealed that the muscles in the neck which affect the larynx were in a state of such severe body stress that the functioning of the larynx was being obstructed. The result, three sessions of Body Stress Release and his voice returned.

In school-going children, body stress has frequently been found to be the cause of restless and disruptive behaviour, difficulties with concentration and so-called “growing pains” in the legs. “Children are very susceptible to body stress,” says Samantha. “Apart from their tendency towards having accidents, tension builds up quickly in their little muscles. Many children with these symptoms have been referred for Body Stress Release with very successful results.” At childbirth the baby is extremely prone to muscle strains. A difficult birth frequently leads to body stress, which causes extreme discomfort for the infant. The result is constant crying. “Body stress release has had phenomenal success with babies,” says Samantha, “a baby being very receptive to the technique”

Body Stress Release is a preventative school of thought. Practitioners advocate a healthy diet, frequent exercise and strategies for managing stress to build the body’s resilience and to assist the body in its natural ability to heal and maintain itself.

One or two sessions of Body Stress Release may be followed by aches and pains throughout the body. This is the body’s reaction to the stimulation as the muscles undergo an adaptive period and toxins are released. ”

The body is geared for stress and is always striving towards a state of balance,” says Samantha. But modern life brings with it so many forms of unnatural stress that our bodies don’t actually know how to cope, which explains the proliferation of modern day illnesses. Body Stress Release provides some gentle intervention which boosts the body’s healing ability and restores the balance.”

Blantyre, Malawi Synod of Livingstonia and the Deaf School

Blantyre, Malawi Synod of Livingstonia and the Deaf School


After all the traveling prior to our arrival in Blantyre, the brief rest was a blessing and renewed our energy and allowed for some much needed repairs to our car. Our host was kind enough to source some smiths from a nearby township to help out. We picked up my colleague Renee from Lilongwe Airport and realised that we had miscalculated a good two hours driving from Blantyre, making us a bit late, but not all was lost.

This was it, we were on our way. Ever since we left Cape Town I was so worried that we would fail. The whole  journey up till Lilongwe included an armed military protected convoy through Mozambique. It was a seven hour journey to the Embangweni Deaf School and the day was already gone. We stopped by the great lake of Malawi for a night.

The next day we left delayed, after having to draw money and refuel. Only one bank accepted our bank cards and the queue for the only working ATM was long and it moved slow. Despite this setback, we were happy to see that in general, the people on the streets of Malawi are happy and helpful. It is nice to experience this country which is rather peaceful and loving. We were told that where we were going, would be a remote, impoverished area, a small village in the Northern region of Malawi.

Driving into the village, finally coming closer to our destination, the sun started to set. Vincent, James, Renée, and myself were exited to meet the school pupils, but exhausted after a long day on the road. A beautiful tree alley led us to the Embangweni School for the deaf.

The kids were excited to see us too, many of them were standing around us, signing their names. After a short while the school director led us to setup camp. We converted glass bottles into oil lamps and dug out a makeshift fire place, bricks built into the sides and a grill holder made by my brother, resting ontop.

School starts with a morning service every day, after which we were introduced to the students and teachers. We explained what Body Stress Release is (which is why we were there) – our translator had a bit of a challange putting that into sign language so that the children could understand.

Our first group for the day were  older learners who was about to graduate. One teacher per group would come to translate for us so that we could communicate with the pupils in trying to locate their various physical problem areas. We were surprised and happy to see teachers and learners all showing enthusiasm and a keenness to be helped.

The next morning we had a church service where some children would pack out bells, starting a bell choir. The kids say they can feel the vibrations of the different octaves of the ringing bells – the teachers motivate the children to talk or make noises as much as possible.

One morning, a guy came running around our camp shouting ayaya ayaya ayaya over and over again, it turned out that the ayaya had become our new thing to say when one of us is happy or wants to remind each other of ayaya.


The Kids from the day before must have told the other children that there was nothing to be worried about, because suddenly we had a queue of people waiting to see us! This was beneficial, as we realised that if the children observed the procedure, we would not have too much trouble communicating to them what they should do when it becomes their turn.


This was a tough day, as we were tired and full of aches and pains from not sleepng in proper beds. But practising some breathing techniques made a huge difference and we pushed through.


This was the second session for the learners from day 1 and the first sessions for another group of students. We had to start the sessions at 7am already. Blessings was a learner and very keen to help us gather the students for their sessions – which really was a blessing, as many students did not understand that they needed to come back for more BSR sessions.


We had indicated that if there was a desperate need, we would see some of the neighbouring villagers for Body Stress Release. That was a big mistake, because we were almost finished with the first days of releasing groups and after day six there was no way we could take in more people, because they would not get the full three sessions with the needed time between. Too many people with minor, or no problems at all came to see us. We helped where we could but sadly, we were not able to see everyone who gathered at our camp.


I showed a few of the students some simple yoga moves. Malawians are known for copying anything, you see that especially in their wood carvings. And the students copied my moves perfectly. They just could not hear my leading commands, I decided not to bother with that, but rather to observe how they do. This was one of the instances where I realised how good it is to practice sign language.

I hope you enjoyed my experience and will read my next story about the end part at the school for the deaf.



Life-Changing : Body Stress Release and Love

Life-Changing : Body Stress Release and Love

My journey to BSR and South Africa had some amazing effects on myself and my family. The story of my youngest daughter Gudrun is even exceptionally beautiful. She suffered from Anorexia for years…Hereby you’ll find her testimonial. So precious! It makes me cry every time I read it.


My youngest daughter Gudrun is 23 years old. She came to see me in South Africa in July 2013, during my training course to become BSR Practitioner. A visit that brought a turning point in her life. Hereby her testimony about her life-saving battle against a horrible disease. Recently on October 1, she was officially declared cured by her psychotherapist. She enjoys her life more than ever before… I feel tremendous gratitude and love. I pass it on. Every day, on every client.


For over 12 years I was a prisoner of my own mind. It already started in primary school, from a vibrant young child, full of life, I turned into a shy,
fearful, insecure little girl. Years and years passed where a constant voice in my head kept telling me I wasn’t good enough, never, with everything I did I constantly felt the fear that it wouldn’t be good enough because it wasn’t perfect. After a few years of hiding inside my little shell and building up a huge wall around me, sadly enough I found another way to express my feelings … I began taking it all out on my body. Perfectionism took its toll on my body and made me struggle with anorexia and EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified), for approximately 7 years. Somehow this eating disorder developed into my ‘safe place’, my escape from reality, my way to gain back control over something in my life.

About 1,5 years ago, in June 2013, I reached a breaking point. Over time the eating disorder took over my life and everything was ruined because of it, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t go out with friends, I couldn’t go out for diner, I couldn’t study, I just couldn’t do anything anymore because the worry about food and exercise never ever left my mind. I was tired, tired of living this life and I just couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel anymore.

But fortunately, 1 week after this breaking point I could go to my mother who got the crazy idea to quit her job and go to South-Africa to study a weird thing called Body Stress Release. I thought well okay, it’s just a midlife crisis and it’ll blow over,
crazy mother of mine.

When I arrived at the airport, my mother gave me the biggest hug one can imagine, but as she was hugging me I felt her heart breaking and she started crying. A while ago she told me that was because she realised on that moment that she could lose me, because I felt so fragile and broken. Frankly at that point she wasn’t that far off… because the week before, I lost hope that I would ever get out of this big black hole that my life felt like.

But as she was hugging me, the huge amount of love I felt somehow made me decide that I wouldn’t give up yet, that I would give everything my tiny body had to offer to get out of it, that I would give myself one last chance to fight.

And I did, I fought harder than I ever did. My battle began in South Africa, where the joy of my mother gave me the desire to get there too. She looked so incredibly happy, happier than I’ve ever seen her before and it completely blew my mind. I wanted to feel like that, I wanted to be able to smile again without having to fake it, to feel as free as my mother felt.

Little by little I started to challenge myself to do things I was afraid of, to let go of control and to ignore the demons in my head. Then, my mother asked if she could practice her anatomy on me, at least that was one benefit of me being so skinny! Of course over the years tension inside my body kept building and she told me my muscles were like stone. She asked me if Boetie Toerien could give me a “release”.

I was a bit sceptic given my background in medicine (I was a medicine student), but I went for it anyway. As I was lying there on his bench, and his hands were doing all those weird movements on my back, I felt my body relaxing and it felt good, it felt safe. Somehow that “release” not only started to relax my muscles (because well, my muscles would need a lot more sessions to completely relax), but somehow it released hidden emotions inside me too and I cried like a baby in my mothers arms that night.

The experiences I had in South Africa were amazing, I will always carry this vacation deep inside my heart, because for me it was a turning point in my life. When I came back home I continued getting Body Stress Releases from Christiane Hanssens, my mother’s BSR practitioner, in Belgium. Little by little the stones that my muscles once were began to disappear and my body became relaxed again. Fighting my battles against my mind became easier as my body was more relaxed.

Of course when my mother came home she started practicing on me again, but now for real and I loved every minute of it. Because for me this was not only about the BSR itself, it was about the love I felt from my mother while she was doing it, not only for me, but for the “art” of BSR itself too. She found something she was passionate about and she went for it, although it would maybe mean a little less money… she was so happy.

My mother became an inspiration for some huge decisions I made in my own life too, decisions that were life-changing and hard, but also decisions that set me free. Free from the burden of constantly living my life to please others and doing what others were expecting me to do, but finally making some choices for me, just for me.

Now we are almost 1,5 years later and with the help of intensive psychotherapy, BSR and most of all, love, I became a completely different person. From a shy, insecure girl, I changed back into that vibrant young child again, full of life, full of energy, just a little bit older. My mother got her ‘bulldozer’ back again, because that was how she called me as a child, a girl not afraid of any-thing and ready to handle the world.

I’m free, I’m happy and most of all: I love myself again and I feel good enough. I finally got out of the prison I was keeping myself in for 12 years and this woud have never been possible without my loving and caring mother, who handed me the key to get out of it, I just had a lot of doors to open before I reached the exit.

Words can’t express how thankful I am.

Mommy, I love you, you’re the best.