The Chest And Diaphragm

  Cough exhale


  Gasp inhale belly


  Croak hold and flick

  Double croak hold and flick

No helper action needed. The helper can point out if the gasp is slow. The worker may not be able to sense that the gasp is a quick inhale rather than a gasp. The helper can also point out if the flick is really a flick (recall, of the diaphragm, not the belly) or is instead a short distension of the belly (but not a flick as such).

Obviously the helper can be of use to bring on sneezes (by tickling the nose with a feather or by a pinch of pepper). If the worker is leaning into the gag rather than sitting straight up, this can be pointed out.


Pressure on the diaphragm is easy and is, by comparison to other muscles, light. The diaphragm is a very thin muscle and thus prolonged light (for a whole session) pressure is sufficient to make it sore and thus to make it let go of some of the tension. The placement of the finger and direction of pressure is shown in Figure 148. Note that the fingers are just below the ribs (left) and are pointing upward (right).

Pressure on the diaphragm has another highly useful property, one that I use routinely. If I got a report from a patient that they are starting to deal with anger in such a way that it is causing them trouble at work or at home, then I spend one full session with pressure on the diaphragm. That almost always corrects the problem. I have already said why that works, but it can be said again. The diaphragm is associated with anxiety. Anger and anxiety play against each other. If anger is excessive, then increase the level of anxiety and it will damper the anger.

Pressure 170

Figure 148


roll the pelvis

No helper action needed. The helper can, however, watch that the pelvis is being rolled by use of the front leg muscles (the quadriceps femoris) rather than by abdominal tension or by spreading the legs.

If the legs are being spread then simply placing an arm across the legs will prevent their use in this way (Figure 149).

roll the pelvis 171

Figure 149


Pressure on the abdominal muscles is often helpful. There are two kinds of pressure used here. One is very light pressure. That is shown in Figure 150. Some surprisingly strong feelings can arise from this pressure.

Pressure 172

Figure 150

The other pressure is hard. The abdominal muscles are big and strong and thus usually fairly strong pressure can be used. There are actually two areas of pressure. One is directly designed to work on the front abdominal muscles and the other the muscles at the side of the abdomen. Pressure on the muscles on the side of the abdomen is especially helpful if the worker is unable to get much movement in the chest with the inhale. The muscle at the side of the abdomen runs from the pelvis to the lower ribs and thus can act to keep the chest held down.

Pressure 173

Figure 151

The Pelvis

roll the pelvis

toss the pelvis

roll the pelvis (stomach)

slam the pelvis (stomach)

coin in the ass

No helper action needed. As with other exercise, the helper can mention if the roll the pelvis is being done by using the abdominal muscles or by spreading the legs; the toss the pelvis is being done by lifting the back off the bed and/or if the shout is weak; if the roll the pelvis (stomach) is being done by lifting the body off the bed (as opposed to just arching the back); if the slam the pelvis lacks vehemence or if the shout is weak.


kick with the legs (swim kick)

legs open and close

kick with the legs

slam kick (fast)

slam kick (slow)

No helper action needed aside from the usual comments if an exercise is being done incorrectly. The swim kick can be too slow or the legs lifted too high. The slam kick (fast) can be either too fast or too slow and the height can be too little or too much. The slam kick (slow) can be too fast or with insufficient intensity of the shout. That leaves the legs open and close exercise where the helper can be quite active.

legs open and close

Except for pressure discussed below, no helper action is needed.


The first type of pressure is pressure to further open the legs when they are flopped open. Unfortunately, I don't have a photograph of that so I will just describe it. Pressure is applied with the palms of the hands at the arrows and downward toward the bed (Figure 152). The pressure is steady but not too strong, just enough to stress those thigh adductors (that are tight and therefore do no allow the legs to open more). The pressure is held for about 60 seconds and then removed. It can be done several times during the course of a legs open and close session.

Pressure 174

Figure 152

Pressure on the legs by the helper can be very useful to the worker. There are several areas where pressure can be used. Here because of the size and density of the muscles the pressure must be done with either the knuckle, paired thumbs or a massage tool. The areas of pressure and the use of the knuckle and paired thumbs is shown in the following photographs. As usual, pressure should be applied to the tolerance level of the worker but the worker should attempt to accept the pressure without resorting to masochism or a "look what I can take" character trait or a "you can't hurt me" character trait.

In other words, the worker should be willing to accept the pain (if present) but should also be ready and willing to say "enough" or "stop."

An especially useful way to apply this pressure is to start to the point where there is pain and then lighten up just a bit. Hold that and if you feel the tension in the muscle letting go then go in harder (follow the tension)

Notice in the last photograph in Figure 153 that pressure is being applied to the muscle on the outside (lateral) aspect of the calf. This muscle is called the tibialis anterior and it is surprisingly tight in many people.

Pressure 175Pressure 176Pressure 177Pressure 178Pressure 179Pressure 180

Figure 153

Notice in photograph six above, the gluteal muscles are not ignored.

General Exercises

sense, feel, report (passive session)

  variation 1

  variation 2

    variation 2 way 1

    variation 2 way 2

    variation 2 way 3

tennis racket

No helper action needed.

There are two new exercises that can be done only if there is a helper.

Kick The Pillow (New Exercise)

This exercises uses the same large pillow that was used in Part One of the book to bring the head to the chest. This exercise deals with various held attitudes in the legs.

In the inhale (a normal belly then chest inhale) the legs are drawn upward as shown in Figure 154 (top left). On the exhale the legs are kicked out against the pillow with as much force and vehemence as the worker can manage. The exhale sound is a shout. The exact character of the exhale sound is not important as long as, for the worker, it indicates force and anger, the implied desire to injure the helper (Figure 154, top right and bottom left).

Kick The Pillow New Exercise 181Kick The Pillow New Exercise 182

Figure 154

Note in the upper right photograph in Figure 154 that the helper is holding the pillow. The pillow rests on the bed and against the helper's abdomen. The worker should be positioned on the bed such that the kick not only strikes the pillow but also pushes the helper backwards about a foot.

There are two errors commonly made in this exercise. The first is inadequate force and lack of the intention to (figuratively) destroy the helper.

The second error is that instead of the legs coming straight out (right next to the bed) the legs come up and out. I have shown this in Figure 155. Compare the placement of the feet on the pillow in Figure 155 to the lower left panel in Figure 154.

Kick The Pillow New Exercise 183

Figure 155

Choke The Wrist (New Exercise)

This is another exercise that requires a helper. This exercise gets at the anger or frustration or hate or like character attributes related to the arms and hands.

While the worker continues the breathing, the helper extends his (her) wrist for the worker to choke with both hands. The sound should change from an 'ah' to an angry growl. This growl sound need not be the growl sound discussed in Part One of the book on the breathing and presented on the Sounds of Reichian audio.

Choke The Wrist New Exercise 184

Figure 156

Pressure On The Back Muscles

There are no good exercises for the muscles of the back running along the spine. The only choice here is to use knuckle pressure or to use one of the gouging devices (either the commercial one or the constructed ones I use).

Pressure On The Back Muscles 185Pressure On The Back Muscles 186

Figure 157

While anatomically there are multiple sets of muscles that run along the spine, for this work we concentrate on only two sets.

The first set, shown in the upper right panel of Figure 157 and the lower left panel of Figure 157 run directly along and only slight off the spinal column. The held tension here is usually easy to fell and in its stronger form actually feels to the helper as though there were a round rope running along the spine. This tension can be strong in one area and all but absent just above or below. There is a strange phenomenon in the use of pressure in this work. I observed it myself in my therapy and many of the people I have worked with have commented on it. While the pressure hurts, at the same time it feels good. Perhaps it is like what many people have experienced with a deep massage where the needing of the muscle both hurts and feels good at the same time.

The second set is shown in the upper left panel of Figure 157.

These are the two muscles that connect the wing bone (the scapula) to the spine (the two muscles are the superior and inferior rhomboids). It is surprising how many people have held tension in these muscles. Perhaps it reflects the character trait of stubborn independence; the unwillingness to reach out for help or nurturance (if these muscle are tight, they tend to prevent the rotation of the scapula which is necessary for the arms to reach forward).

The Application Of The Work To Sexuality

Think back to when you were in high school and just starting to experience sexuality. Do you recall how you used to pant while experiencing sexual arousal? Now think about your current sexual activity. Very likely now you breathe heavily only as a function of the exertion of intercourse.

You were right in high school and wrong now. At your next sexual experience breathe deeply and rapidly. Your sexual experience will be unlike anything you have recently experienced.

Holding one's breath is the major way people attempt to control their sexual response. Take your Reichian breathing into your sexual activity and see the difference it makes.

Extra: Overcoming Anxiety Or Panic

One of these methods comes from yoga and the other from medicine.


Inhale fully through the nose on a count of seven seconds. Exhale fully through the nose on a count of seven seconds. That is during both the inhale and the exhale you count seven seconds in your head (one, and, two, and ...). Make sure the count is slow so that you are counting the seconds. Usually about half a dozen breaths is sufficient to stop the anxiety but there is no reason not to continue this slow methodical breathing until you are sure the anxiety is gone.


Inhale slowly just to the belly. Since normal breathing is about

12 breaths per minute, here you will make it about eight per minute. Both parts of this anti-anxiety procedure are needed for it to do its work: (1) the breathing is only to the belly and (2) the breathing is slow. Place your hands on your ribs to see that they are not moving. Just pay attention to your anxiety level as you do the slow belly breathing and continue until the anxiety is significantly reduced or is gone. The anxiety reduction of this technique is the subject of several medical text books.