Breema is both a hands-on and self-movement system that activates the body's self-corrective reflexes to create a balanced state of energy.
Breema originated in a mountain village in the Near East and was established in the United States with the founding in 1980 of the Breema Center in Oakland, California. Jon Schreiber, D.C., a graduate of the Palmer College of Chiropractic, has been the director since then. He incorporates Breema into his clinical practice because of its ability to vitalize and heal the body. He has been teaching and writing about the Breema system for over 20 years. As of 2000, Breema classes and workshops have been offered in many European countries, as well as in Canada and the United States.
According to the Breema Center, the primary benefit of Breema is bringing individuals to a level at which they feel nurtured rather than drained by their relationship to their body, surroundings, people, feelings, and other aspects of life. Breema's nurturing atmosphere allows the mind, body, and feelings to become present, receptive, and vital. Secondary benefits that stem from this nurturing include:
- renewed vitality
- increased mental clarity and focus
- relief of tension
- increased flexibility
- mental and emotional balance and harmony
- gentle musculoskeletal realignment
- reduced stress
- improved nervous system function
- improved circulation and digestion
Since Breema regards the body as an energy system, the bodywork is intended "to enhance the flow of life energy and bring one to the present." A person receiving a Breema treatment is fully clothed and works with the instructor or practitioner lying down or seated on a padded floor. The bodywork is a harmonious choreography of supported movements, gradual leaning, gentle stretching and bending, holding postures, "nurturing brushes," and rhythmic tapping. Breema treatments are tailored to each recipient at each visit; there is no standard program or sequence. Treatment sessions can last from about 30 minutes to an hour.
Self-Breema exercises are done individually, so that the person can "experience being both the practitioner and recipient at the same time." The program emphasizes the naturalness of all Self-Breema moves and postures. No muscular force or unusual contortions of the body are involved. Like the bodywork sessions, Self-Breema exercises are customized for each individual to support and balance the flow of life energy through the body, release tension, and increase vitality and dexterity.
Breema maintains that its universal principles govern all of life as well as bodywork and health maintenance. They include:
- mutual support/mutual benefit
- no judgment
- full participation, or using the whole body
- body comfortable
- single moment/single activity
- gentleness and firmness
- no extra
- no force
- no hurry/no pause
The Breema principles are intended to free people from the conceptual body, defined as "the ideas and images of our body that we carry in our mind." The aim of Breema is "to increase vitality, not to fight sickness, and to create an atmosphere which allows the body to move toward a natural state of balance."
Working with the nine principles of Breema is thought to create a receptive mind, supportive feelings, and a relaxed body. The energy that is usually consumed by conflict between mind and feelings and physical tension becomes available.
Breema treatments don't require special preparation other than the wearing of loose and comfortable clothing that allows free movement.
Common sense precautions for any kind of body-work include seeking advice from a qualified medical practitioner before starting a new program. This precaution is particularly important for persons with chronic heart or lung disease, persons recovering from surgery or acute illness, or persons with arthritis or other disorders that affect the muscles and joints.
There are no known side effects of Breema therapy in healthy people.
Research & general acceptance
As of 2000, no published information is available regarding independent scientific studies of Breema.
Training & certification
The Breema Center in Oakland is the world headquarters for training and certifying instructors and practitioners. It offers a 165-hour practitioner certificate program in Breema bodywork. The required hours include a series of classes that lead to proficiency in a wide variety of sequences and Self-Breema exercises, along with a thorough knowledge of Breema principles. The certificate program takes a minimum of six months to complete. The Breema Center is a vocational school licensed
The Breema Center. 6076 Claremont Ave. Oakland, CA 94618. (510) 428-0937. Fax (510) 428-9235. http://www.breema.com.
Rebecca Frey, PhD