THE SPIRITUALITY OF THE BODY: Bioenergetics for Grace and Harmony by

THE SPIRITUALITY OF THE BODY: Bioenergetics for Grace and Harmony

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A psychiatrist rehashes some old Reichian theories. With 12 previous books under his belt, including such seductive titles as The Betrayal of the Body, Fear of Life, Narcissism, Pleasure, etc., Lowen's 13th covers much of the same material, drawing on his nonstop case histories--interestingly presented but with little novelty--to discuss the psychic values of correct pelvic alignment, deep breathing, and yin-and-yang balance. But his fundamental thrust is that most physical and mental ills can be attributed to immature genital sexuality, unresolved Oedipal conflicts, repressed anger, and inadequate nurturing. These views seem oddly dated in the light of changes and advances in psychiatry over the past 20 years or so, and Lowen's emphasis on the critical role of deep orgasm in psychic and physical health takes no notice of some feminist thinking that this lynchpin of classic psychiatry was an example of male bias without scientific basis. In fact, it ignores recent women's literature that takes a more relaxed view of the clitoral orgasm. Nevertheless, Lowen strains a little to keep up-to-date, particularly in offering comments on the integration of body and spirit such as this one: ""A basic bioenergetic principle states that the flow of excitation upward and down in the body is pulsatory, which means it cannot extend more in one direction than the other. In terms of feeling, we cannot be more spirital than we are sexual."" He provides readers with a series of do-it-at-home exercises, ranging from hula dance movements to the simple grasping of another's hand, which he believes are useful in integrating the body and the spirit, releasing energy, and achieving general well-being. Not much new here, but of some appeal to those recently into spiritual healing with a highly sexual orientation.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1990
Publisher: Macmillan