About the Method: The Principles
The Paula Method of Ring Muscle Exercise is a unique method based on the body's natural ability to heal itself. Exercise based on the method activates the ring muscles (also called sphincters) - muscles located around the various body apertures that function according to the basic movements of life: the pulsing movement of contraction and release, opening and closing.
Paula Garbourg, the originator and developer of the method, discovered that the various ring muscles function as one system that is mutually connected to all bodily systems. The method utilizes this principle to refine skills, to improve quality of life and to heal.
The Secret of Ring Muscles
Paula Method is based on the body's natural ability to heal itself. Paula Garbourg, the originator and developer of the method, discovered that the various ring muscles function as one system that is mutually connected to all bodily systems, and stimulate the body's ability to heal itself.
The system of ring muscles – sphincters – is a functional, not anatomical, system. It includes all the ring muscles around the eyes, mouth, urinary canal and anus, as well as non-ring muscles: eyebrows, eyeballs, nostrils, tongue, ears, hands and feet. The ring muscle system is connected in a unique manner to the diaphragm, and affects the digestive systems, blood vessels, nerves, breathing, urine, sexual organs and all the body's muscles.
The ring muscle system and body mirror one another. Any imbalance in one of them is reflected in the other: an imbalance in a ring muscle will affect all the other ring muscles, and all the connected bodily system, and vise versa: an imbalance in bodily system will effect one or more of ring muscles. In both cases, the condition is corrected by activating a ring muscle.
Exercise – the repeated, deliberate activation of each ring muscle reverberates in the other sphincter muscles and throughout the body. In other words, exercise creates chain reactions that realize the body's potential to heal itself. Each one of the system's muscles can be the key to balancing the entire body.
A ring muscle in proper condition can be the key to balancing a remote ring muscle that is weak, loose or tense. Similarly, we use a properly functioning sphincter as a key to treating the skeleton muscles. We can also use a voluntary sphincter to affect internal, involuntary systems.
Paula method exercises are very simple and repetitive, and their performance is intentional, yet their effects are involuntary.
The method does not provide instructions regarding how to stand and how to hold the stomach or back, but rather gives an exercise for one of the sphincters, and the exercise results in proper posture.
No instructions are given about how to breathe, but an exercise is given that involuntarily affects the diaphragm and the muscles between the ribs, and as a result breathing improves.
The student is not told to deliberately relax his or her body, but relaxation is attainted spontaneously through activation of the sphincters.
According to the Paula method, it is recommended that a special time be allocated every day for exercising. Exercising is performed using one or more of the following approaches:
Exercise with awareness to chain reactions
Exercise, which is performed with attention and concentration, enables observation of the spontaneous occurrences that stem from each exercise, which in Paula method is referred to as chain reactions. As students learn to listen, to pay attention and not to interfere with these chain reactions, we see that exercising one of the ring muscles over time is actually a starting point for endless occurrences or reactions that ultimately reach the weak points and repair them. The chain reactions are unique to every inpidual, according to his or her condition, and are therefore different from one person to another. In addition, the reactions of the same person change at different times and under different conditions.
Since chain reactions address different needs, they are experienced and visible differently in each student. For example, if several people perform an exercise consisting of contracting and releasing their eyelids, it appears that one of them enters a state of deep relaxation, another works on his breathing and may make sounds, a third makes very small movements, and a fourth may make large and agitated movement. Others may find themselves entering emotional or meditative spheres.
This type of exercise is based on the assumption that only when there is willingness to relinquish the need to control the body, to surrender the need to separate and compartmentalize, is true and deep healing possible. Despite this, sometimes healing in fact occurs when students perform the exercises without any awareness of the chain reactions occurring inside their bodies.
Exercise without awareness to chain reactions
In parallel to allowing a variety of reactions, the method permits and allows students not to experience and feel the chain reactions at all. In such cases, the chain reactions occur in a manner that the student, who is concentrating exclusively on performing the exercise, is not aware of them at all.
Exercising without exercises
Working without exercises is called "free work/exercise": without the stimulus of any exercise, the student connects directly with spontaneous movements and with the sources of healing within his or her body. This type of work?exercise does not entail activation of the ring muscles, and stems from an understanding of the great healing potential of chain reactions.
Exercise as a life companion and second nature
The nature of the exercises enables easy integration into daily life:
During vital daily activities: eating, drinking, sitting, standing, sitting down, standing up, climbing and walking.
During activities such as: driving, watching TV, computer work, flights, standing in line, cooking, reading and conversation.
During professional activities: dancing, singing, acting, sports, playing instruments, even if these are hobbies.
While performing all these activities, exercises can be performed mechanically, with minimal attention, and typically no reverberation is felt in the body. The chain reactions to the exercise occur without our attention, and lead to changes in habits, proper posture, breathing suitable for the activity, improved coordination, and executing activities with proper muscle tonus. In addition, these exercises, which are performed on the fly during the various activities, reach the part of the body that requires balancing: they relieve pain, loosen muscles that require relaxation, strengthen weak muscles, and return internal body system to proper functioning.
Assimilating exercises into various activities improves our health and our capabilities, and these exercises quickly become second nature.
Advantages of the Method
Practicing the Paula method requires persistent exercising over time. Persistence develops: attention to details, ability to work within frameworks, discipline, focus, delving deeper, self confidence, self control and strengthening ties with the body.
The need to facilitate chain reactions and "free work" develop: opening up to the unconscious, creativity, openness, observation, attention, flow, self acceptance, sense of self value, authenticity and inpidualism.
The method is suitable for people of any age, mental, emotional and physical condition, and offers students the keys to improved habits, improved health and physical and emotional balance.
After a period of study and guidance by the therapist, the student acquires the tools to help him/herself, improve his/her health and attain a better quality of life.