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Annotation on Dr. Reich’s case: The Orgasm Reflex

Annotation on Dr. Reich’s case: The Orgasm Reflex

One of the essential books on Orgonomy and Psychiatric Orgone Therapy, is The Function of the Orgasm written by Dr. Reich in 1940 shortly after arriving in the United States.  It is a good, basic book for students of Orgonomy containing condensed valuable information.   In this book, Dr. Reich describes the gradual evolution of his theories starting from psychoanalysis when he was first a student of Freud, and his growth and evolution into character analysis.  He describes the development of the theory of character armoring, muscular armoring, and the development of vegetotherapy and psychiatric orgone therapy. In short, the book reveals the historical evolution of Dr. Reich’s theories and techniques.

In a section of this book, Dr. Reich elucidates the theory and technique of psychiatric orgone therapy, describing a patient that he treated with this approach. This case encompasses many clinical aspects that we may see during psychiatric orgone therapy in different patients. However, considering the fact that this one case encompasses many aspects of psychiatric orgone therapy, describing and analyzing it will be informative and interesting for the students of psychiatry and psychology who are not well acquainted with the theory and technique of psychiatric orgone therapy.  Excerpts from Dr. Reich’s book, The Function of the Orgasm, are printed below in block quotes followed by an annotation.

The Orgasm Reflex – A case History

To describe the direct release of sexual (vegetative) energies from the pathological muscular attitudes, I am choosing a patient in whom orgastic potency was established rapidly. I want to make it quite clear at the outset that this case does not claim to represent the great difficulties which are usually encountered in overcoming disturbances of the orgasm.


The clinical theories of Dr. Reich are based on 2 major theories.  Orgasm theory and the theory of armoring.  Orgasm theory is the continuation of the libido theory of Freud. Freud, in order to explain certain observations and phenomena in his patients, in children including new born children, had to assume the presence of a psychosexual energy that he named “libido energy”. Without such a hypothesis, these observed phenomenons could not be explained.  However, psychoanalysis, psychiatry and medicine in general have avoided dealing with these phenomena and moved away from the theory of libido.

Reich however did not flinch from facing such questions and phenomena and continued elaborating on libido theory realizing that the presence of a psychosexual energy is indispensable. He called it “orgone energy”.  Orgone energy, it’s expansion, contraction, and pulsation are mediated by the vegetative nervous system in the human organism. Therefore he equates it with vegetative energy. The second theory, the theory of armoring, explains the chronic physical and muscular contractions that happen in the process of containing the flow of this energy.  The vegetative energy becomes anchored and contained  in these contractions and encrustations.  Resolution of the muscular armoring brings a release of this vegetative energy.

A  twenty-seven-year old technician came to me because of his addiction to alcohol. He suffered from the fact that he had to give in almost everyday to the urge to become inebriated; he feared the complete ruin of his health and capacity for work.  When he was with his friends, he could do nothing against the temptation to get drunk. His marriage was a shambles. His wife was an extremely complicated hysteric who did not make life easy for him. It was immediately evident that the wretchedness of this marriage constituted an important motive for his escape into alcoholism. He further complained that he “did not feel life.” In spite of his unhappy marriage, he could not bring himself to form a liaison with another woman. he did not derive any pleasure from his work;  he performed it mechanically, listlessly, without any interest. He said that if it went on like this, he would soon “breakdown”. This condition had already lasted a number of years , and had become appreciably worse in the last months.

Conspicuous among his pathological traits was the fact that he was incapable of any aggression. He always felt compelled to be “nice and polite,” to agree with everything people said, even when they expressed opposite, mutually contradictory opinions. He suffered under the superficiality that ruled his life. he could not really and seriously devote himself to any cause, idea or work. He spent his leisure hours in cafes and restaurants, engaging in empty, meaningless chatter and exchanging stale witticisms. True, he sensed there was something pathological in his attitude; at the same time, he was not fully aware of the pathological meaning of these traits. He was suffering from the widespread illness, a misconstrued contact-less sociality, which becomes rigid compulsion and inwardly devastates many people.

The general impression given by this patient was marked by the uncertainty of his movements; the forced jauntiness of his walk made him appear somewhat awkward. The attitude of his body was not rigid; rather it expressed submission, as if he were continually on his guard. His facial expression was empty and without any particular distinguishing features. There was a slight shininess to the skin of his face; it was drawn tight and had the effect of a mask. His forehead appeared “flat.” His mouth gave the impression of being small and tight. It hardly moved in the act of speaking; his lips were narrow as if pressed together. His eyes were devoid of expression.


In psychiatric orgone therapy, we give the utmost importance to the patient’s demeanor, appearance, the way they walk, talk, and behave in general. Facial expressions, eye movement, etc.  These are all expressive of people’s attitudes that are reflective of their lifetime of experiences. In psychiatric orgone therapy, the most importance is given to the patients appearance and attitude in general, his character, physical and muscular attitude. This is in contrast with the psychoanalytic approach  or other psychological approaches which rely mostly on words and on “what patients express” through talking. As Reich says “words may lie, the attitude and character never lies.”  The reason Reich is describing the patient’s attitude and appearance in such detail is based on the above mentioned principles.

In spite of this obviously severe impairment of vegetative motility, one sensed a very lively, intelligent nature beneath the surface. It was doubtlessly this factor that enabled him to tackle his difficulties with great energy in therapy.

The ensuing treatment lasted six and one half months, with one session each day. I want to try to describe its most important stages.

At the very first session, I was faced with the question of whether I should first consider his psychic reserve or his very striking facial expression. I decided in favor of the latter, leaving it to the further course of the treatment as to when and in what form I would deal with his psychic reserve.


In psychiatric orgone therapy, we face the problem of  the resolution of armor. Armoring in general, consists of the sum total of attitudes, demeanor, as well as muscular attitudes, contractions, muscular tensions, expression of the eyes, etc. Armor consists of two counterparts.  Character armor which is functioning in the realm of psychology, and muscular and physical armor that is it’s counterpart in the physical realm.  The character armor is a reflection and an expression of physical armoring, therefore the resolution of the armor can be approached either by attacking the character and characterological specificities or directly approaching and resolving the muscular armor, of which the character armor is a  consequence, and in which it is anchored. Here Dr. Reich states that initially he was contemplating whether first to approach his character armor by exploring the patient’s psychic reserve, or his muscular and physical armor by approaching his facial attitude, the contour of his face, skin, the form of his mouth, etc. Reich decided in favor of the latter. Either approach in many cases leads to the resolution of armor.

Following the consistent description of the rigid attitudes of his mouth, a clonic twitching of his lips set in, weak at first but growing gradually stronger.. He was surprised by the involuntary nature of this twitching and defended himself against it. I told him to give in to every impulse.  Thereupon, his lips began to protrude and retract rhythmically and to hold the protruded position for several seconds as if in a tonic spasm. In the course of these movements, his face took on the unmistakable expression of an infant. The patient was startled, grew fearful, and asked me what this might lead to. I allayed his fears and asked him to continue to give in to every impulse and to tell me whenever he sensed the inhibition of an impulse.


In the process of psychiatric orgone therapy, we face muscular twitching , certain sensations in the muscle or the body that are often unfamiliar to the patient, usually not painful or discomforting, often pleasurable. However such unfamiliar movements and changes alarm and concern the patient.   At times, patients themselves are able to recognize its meaning.

During the following sessions, the various manifestations in his face became more and more distinct, and they gradually aroused the patient’s interest. This must have some special meaning, he said. What was very peculiar, however , was that he appeared not to be emotionally affected by these somatic manifestations; indeed, he was able to speak to me calmly following such a clonic or tonic excitation of his face. During one of the subsequent sessions, the twitching of his mouth increased to a suppressed crying. he also uttered sounds like the outbreak of a long-suppressed, painful sob. My insistence that he give in to every muscular impulse bore fruit.  The described activity of his face grew more complicated.


As described earlier, muscular contractions contain the anchored, suppressed feelings.  By that we mean the energy that is attached to the feeling which energizes the feelings. By gradual resolution of muscular armoring, the energy which is initially suppressed by the muscular  contraction is released, and the energy surfaces with it’s original form of feeling, concomitant with movements and fasciculation of the muscle which is an indication of the resolution of  the armor.  The affect is thus released, in this case by crying.

While his mouth became twisted into spasmodic crying,  this expression did not resolve itself into tears. To our surprise,it passed over into a distorted expression of anger. Strangely enough, however, the patient did not feel the slightest anger, though he knew quite well that it was anger.

When these muscular actions grew especially strong, making his face blue, he became apprehensive and restless. He repeatedly wanted to know where  this was leading and what was happening to him in these actions. I began now to draw his attention to the fact that his fear of an unexpected happening was entirely in keeping with his general character attitude, namely that he was dominated by a vague fear of the unforeseeable, of something that might suddenly overwhelm him.

Since I did not want to abandon the constant pursuit of somatic attitude once I had attacked it, I had first to ascertain how his muscular facial actions were related to the general defense attitude of his character. If the muscular rigidity had not been so distinct, I would have begun by working on the character defense as manifested in his reserve.

However I was now forced to conclude that there was obviously a split in the psychic conflict which dominated him. The defense function was performed at this time by his general psychic reserve, while that which he warded off, i.e., the vegetative excitation, was revealed in the muscle actions of his face. Fortunately, it occurred to me that not only the warded off affect but also the defense was represented  in his muscular attitude. The smallness and cramped attitude of his mouth could of course, be nothing other than the expression of it’s opposite, the protruding, twitching , crying mouth. I now proceeded to cary out the experiment of consistently destroying the defense forces, not from the psychic but from the muscular side.


Dr. Reich explains here that the muscular contractions and physical attitude represent hidden affects such as sadness, the urge to cry, etc. But it also represents it’s defense. It is the sum total of the forces that are warding off the impulse and the impulse that is trying to get liberated from the defensive attitudes.  For example, the smallness and cramped attitude of his mouth is an indication of him trying to suppress his feelings and is also indicative of the feelings that are trying to be expressed.  Reich also said that he proceeded to carry out the experiment, consistently destroying the defensive forces. Resolution of the defensive forces is essential in liberating the impulses that are embedded in the conflict.  Analyzing and detecting, or comprehending the impulse only will give an intellectual understanding of it while defensive forces are still operating.

Thus, I worked on all the muscular attitudes of his face which, I assumed, represented spasms, i.e., hypertonic defenses against the corresponding muscular actions. Several weeks passed before the actions of the musculature of his face and neck intensified into the following picture: the contracted attitude of his mouth first gave way to a clonic twitching and then became transformed into a protrusion of the lips. this protrusion resolved itself into crying, which, however , did not break out completely. In turn, the crying was replaced by an exceedingly strong reaction of anger on his face. His mouth became distorted, the musculature of his jaws became as stiff as a board, and he grit his teeth. In addition, there were other expressive movements. The patient sat half up on the couch, shook with anger, raised his fist as if he were going to strike a blow, without, however, following though. Then, out of breath, he sank back exhausted. The whole action dissolved into a whimpering kind of weeping. These actions expressed “impotent rage,” as is often experienced by children.


Here again Dr. Reich explains the significance of the patient’s attitudes and movements, and therapeutic acts gleaned from observation. The fact that the patient raised his hand but did not strike a blow is expressive of his inhibition, similarly he was not able to express the rage and instead his actions dissolved into whimpering weeping. These are a reflection of the defensive structure that is still operating in the patient.

When this attack had subsided, he spoke about it tranquilly, as if nothing had happened. It was clear that somewhere there was a break in the connection between his vegetative muscular excitation and the psychic perception of this excitation. Naturally , I continually discussed with him not only the sequences and the content of his muscular actions, but also the strange phenomenon of his psychic detachment from these actions. What was particularly striking to both of us was the fact that , in spite of his lack of emotional involvement, he had an immediate comprehension of the function and meaning of these episodes. I did not even have to interpret them to him. On the contrary, he surprised me again and again with elucidations that were immediately evident to him. I found this most gratifying. I recalled the many years of painstakingly work of interpreting symptoms, in the process of which the analyst inferred an anger or anxiety on the basis of associations or symptoms, then through months and years, tried, at least to some extent, to make the patient aware of it. How seldom and how ineffectively one succeeded in those days in arriving at anything more than an intellectual understanding.


Here Dr. Reich compares vegetotherapy and character analytic approach to a psychoanalytic approach, which he was once a student of.  Psychoanalysis relies on free association and words.  Reich indicates here that in psychoanalysis, the analyst had to interpret or assist the patient to comprehend the meaning of the symptoms, however since defensive structure persisted, the accompanying affect remained anchored and bound  in the muscular contractions, and the symptoms persisted and the result often was only an intellectual understanding of it.

The patients often comprehend the meaning of their muscular attitude when it is pointed out to them and it’s resolution starts. Once a patient of mine who had squinted eyes and was unable to open his eyes wide enough, when confronted with this feature, stated, “doctor, there must be a shit load of shame in me, I’m unable to open my eyes.”

Thus, I had good reason to be pleased that the patient had an immediate grasp of the meaning of his action, without any explanation on my part.

He knew that he was expressing an overwhelming anger which he had kept locked up in himself for decades. The emotional detachment subsided when an attack produced the memory of his older brother, who had very much dominated and mistreated him as a child.

He understood now without any promptings from me that he had at that time suppressed his anger against his brother, who had been his mother’s darling. To ward off this anger, he had adopted toward  his brother an agreeable and loving attitude , which was at violent odds with his true feelings. He had not wanted to incur his mother’s displeasure. The anger which had not been expressed at that time now rose up in his actions, as if unaffected by the intervening decades.

At this point we have to pause a moment and form a clear picture of the psychic situation with which we are dealing. Analysts who use the old technique of symptom interpretations know that they work with remembrances and have to leave it more or less to chance whether.

The corresponding remembrances of earlier experiences also emerge, and  the emerging experiences are actually those in which the strongest and, in terms of the patient’s future, the most important excitations were developed.

In vegetotherapy, on the other hand, the vegetative behavior necessarily produces the memory which was decisive for the development of the neurotic character trait.

It is known that the approach which proceeds solely on the basis of remembrances accomplishes this task to a very limited degree. in assessing the changes in a patient after years of this kind of treatment, one realizes that they are not worth the expenditure of so much time and energy. The patients in whom one succeeds in getting directly at the vegetative sexual energy bound in the musculature produce the affect before they know what affect they are dealing with. Furthermore, the memory of the experience which originally produced the affect automatically emerges without any effort.


The affect gets released before the memory of the corresponding event to which the affect is related to.  However the memory often emerges automatically, concomitant or soon after the release of the affect. Reich once said, that in fact today, our goal is the same as it was in psychoanalytic treatment,  to resurrect the earliest childhood memories, however, the approach is different.

An example of this would be our patients remembrance of the situation with his brother, who was preferred by the mother.   This fact cannot be overemphasized; it is as important as it is typical. It is not that under certain circumstances a memory brings about an affect, but that the concentration of a vegetative excitation and its breakthrough reproduces the remembrance.  Freud continually stressed that, in analysis, the analyst was dealing solely with “derivative of the unconscious,” that the unconscious was like “a thing in itself,” i.e., was not really tangible. This contention was correct, but not absolute. It pertained to the methods used at that time, by which the unconscious could be inferred only through its derivatives, and could not be grasped in its actual form. Today, we succeed in comprehending the unconscious not in its derivatives, but in its reality, by directly attacking the binding of vegetative energy.


Here Dr. Reich equates the vegetative energy as a tangible form of the unconscious that really exists in the body.

For instance, our patient did not deduce his hatred of his brother from vague associations having but little affect.  Rather he acted as he would have acted in the original situation, as he would have acted if his hatred of his brother had not been off set by the fear of losing his mother’s love. Moreover, we know that there are childhood experiences which have never become conscious. It became evident from the subsequent course of the analysis that, while the patient had always been intellectually conscious of his envy of his brother, he had no awareness of the extent and intensity of the rage he had actually mobilized in himself.


This again stresses the fact that remembering childhood or traumatic memories without experiencing the affect that is attached and bound to it, has very little therapeutic affect, perhaps only an intellectual understanding of it.

As we know, the effects of psychic experience are determined not by its content, but by the amount of vegetative energy which is mobilized by this experience. In the compulsion neurosis, for instance, even incest desires are sometimes conscious. We contend, however that they are “unconscious” because they have lost their emotional charge. And we have all had the experience that, using the conventional analytic method, it is not possible to make the compulsion neurotic conscious of the incest desire, except in the intellectual form. Frankly speaking, this means that the repression has not been eliminated. To illustrate, let us return to the further course of this treatment.

The more intense the muscular actions of the face became, the more the somatic excitation, still wholly cut off from psychic recognition, spread toward the chest and abdomen. Several weeks later, the patient reported that in the course of twitching in his chest, but especially when these twitching subsided, he sensed “currents” moving toward his lower abdomen. During this time, he left his wife with the intention of forming a liaison with another woman. However , it was revealed in the course of the following weeks that the intended liaison had not materialized. Initially , the patient was indifferent to this. Only after I had drawn his attention to it did he try , after venturing a number of seemingly plausible explanations, to take an interest in the matter. But it was quite evident that an inner prohibition prevented him from dealing with this problem in a really affective manner.  Since it is not customary in character-analytic work to deal with a subject, no matter how topical, unless the patient enters upon it of his own accord in a fully affective way, I postponed a discussion of this problem and continued to pursue the approach dictated by the spreading of his muscular actions.

The tonic spasm of the musculature spread to his chest and upper abdomen. In these attacks, it was as if an inner force lifted him up from the couch against his will and held him up. The muscles of his abdominal wall and chest were board like. It took some time before I understood why a further spreading downward of the excitation failed to occur. I had expected that the vegetative excitation would now spread from the abdomen to the pelvis, but this did not happen. Instead, there were strong, clonic twitchings of the musculature of the  legs, and a marked intensification of the patellar reflex. To my complete amazement, the patient told me that he experienced the twitching of his leg musculature in a highly agreeable way. Quite involuntarily, I was reminded of epileptic clonism, and my view was confirmed that in both the epileptic and epileptiform muscular contractions, we are dealing with the release of anxiety which can only be experienced in an agreeable, i.e., pleasurable manner. There were times in the treatment of this patient when I was uncertain whether or not I was confronted with a true epileptic. Superficially, at least, the patients’ attacks , which commenced tonically and occasionally subsided clonically , showed very little difference from epileptic seizure. I want to stress that , at this stage of the treatment, which had been in progress for roughly three months, the musculature of his head, chest and upper abdomen, as well as the musculature of his legs, particularly of his knees and upper thighs, had become mobile. His lower abdomen and pelvis were and remained immobile. The gap between his muscular actions and the patients’ perception of them also remained unchanged,. The patient knew about the attack. He was able to comprehend its significance, but he did not experience it emotionally. The main question continued to be: what caused this gap?  It became increasingly clear that the patient was resisting the comprehension of the whole in all of its parts. We both knew that he was very cautious. It was not only in his psychic attitude that this caution was expressed, nor in the fact that up to a certain point he was cooperative and adapted himself to the requirements of the work, and that when the work transgressed certain limits he somehow became unfriendly and cold.  This “caution” was also contained in his muscular activity; it was so to speak, doubly preserved.


Here again Dr. Reich describes the emotional condition and its anchoring in the somatic state as physical and muscular contractions.

He himself described and comprehended his situation as follows: he is a boy being pursued by a man who wants to beat him. While making this escape, he dodges to the side a number of times, glances apprehensively over his shoulder, and pulls in his buttocks, as if to put them out of  reach of the pursuer. In conventional analytic language, it would have been said that behind his fear of the blows, there is a fear of a homosexual attack. As a matter of fact, the patient had spent roughly a year in symptom interpretation analysis, during which his passive homosexuality had been continually interpreted. “In itself,” this interpretation had been correct.  From the point of view of our present knowledge, however, it is clear that it had been meaningless. There were too many factors in the patient which opposed a really affective comprehension of his homosexual attitude.  For example, his characterological caution and the muscular binding of his energy, which were still far from resolved.

Now I began to deal with his caution, not from the psychic side, as I am usually in the habit of doing in character analysis, but from the somatic side.

Annotation: Here Dr. Reich again mentions, the approach of psychiatric orgone therapy in two different ways.  The character analytic way, and the muscular/physical (vegetotherapy) way, attacking the muscular and physical contractions and spasms.

For instance, I pointed out again and again that, while it was true he revealed his anger in his muscular actions, he never followed through, never really struck with his clenched and raised first.


Earlier in the case Dr. Reich brought to the attention of the reader that while he was angry he raised his fist, but did not strike it down.

Several times, at the very moment the fist was about to strike the couch, his anger disappeared. From now on, I concentrated my effort on the blocking of the completion of the muscular action, always guided by the understanding that it was precisely his caution which he was expressing in this inhibition.  After consistently working on the defense against the muscular action for a number of sessions, the following episode from his fifth year of life suddenly occurred to him: as a small boy he had lived near a cliff, which dropped off precipitously to the sea.  One day, he was intensely involved in building a fire at the edge of the rocks; he was so immersed in his play that he was in danger of falling into the sea. His mother appeared in the doorway of their home, saw what he was doing, was frightened, and sought to draw him away from the cliff. She knew him to be a hyperactive child, and , precisely for this reason she was very much afraid. She lured him to her in a sweet voice, promising to give him candy. When he ran up to her, instead of keeping her promise, she gave him a terrible beating. This experience had made a deep impression on him, but now he understood it in connection with his defensive attitude toward women and the caution he demonstrated toward the treatment.

Yet this did not put and end to the matter. The caution continued. One day, in the interval between two attacks, he humorously told me that he was an enthusiastic trout fisherman. He gave me a very impressive description of the joys of trout fishing; he enacted the corresponding movements, describing how one catches sight of the trout and how one throws out the line. In the act of telling and demonstrating this to me, he had an enormously greedy, almost sadistic expression on his face. It struck me that , while he gave an exact description of the entire procedure, he omitted one detail, namely the moment at which the trout bites into the hook. I understood the connection, but saw that he was unaware of the omission. In conventional psychoanalysis, the analyst would have told him the connection or would have encouraged him to comprehend it himself. For me, however it was precisely this point that was of utmost importance, namely to find out why he had not described the actual catch, why he had omitted this detail. Roughly four weeks elapsed before the following took place: the twitching of various parts of his body lost more and more their spasmodic tonic character. The clonus also diminished and strange twitchings appeared in the abdomen. They were not new to me, for I had seen them in many other patients, but not in the connection in which they now revealed themselves. The upper part of his body jerked for ward , the middle of his abdomen remained still and the lower part of his body jerked toward the upper part. the entire response was an organic unitary movement.  There were sessions in which this movement was repeated continuously.Alternating with this jerking of his entire body, there were sensations of current in some part s of his body, particularly in his legs and abdomen, which he experienced as pleasurable. The attitude of his mouth and face changed a little. In one such attack, his face had the unmistakable expression of a fish. Without any prompting on my part, before I had drown his attention to it, the patient said “I feel like a primordial animal,” and shortly afterward, “I feel like a fish.” what did all this mean: Without having any inkling of it, without having worked out a connection through associations, the patient represented in the movements of his body and obviously hooked, flapping fish. Expressed in the language of the analytic interpretation, it would be said “he acted out” the caught trout. Everything about him expressed this: his mouth was spasmodically protruded, rigid, and distorted. His body jerked from the shoulders to the legs. His back was as stiff as a board. Not entirely intelligible in this phase was the fact that, with each jerk of his body, the patient for a time thrust his arms forward as if embracing someone. I no longer remember whether I drew the patient’s attention to the relationship between these actions and the story of the trout, or whether he grasped it of his own accord. But he very definitely felt the connection immediately and had not the slightest doubt that he represented the trout as well as the trout fisherman.

Naturally, the whole incident was directly related to his disappointments in his mother. From a certain point in childhood, she had neglected him, treated him badly, and often beaten him.  Quite often, he had expected something very nice or good from her, and had received the exact opposite. His caution became understandable now.  He did not trust anyone; he did not want to be caught. This was the deepest reason for his superficiality, his fear of surrendering, of assuming real responsibility, etc.  In the process of working through this connection, his personality underwent a conspicuous change. His superficiality disappeared; he became serious. The seriousness appeared very suddenly during one of the sessions.  The patient said  literally, “I don’t understand; everything has become so deadly serious all of a sudden.” Thus, he did not merely recall the serious emotional attitude he had had at a certain period of his childhood; he actually changed from being superficial to being serious. It became clear that his pathological relationship to women, i.e., his fear of forming a liaison with a woman, of giving himself to a woman, was connected with this anxiety which was rooted in his character and had become part of his structure. He was a man whom women found very attractive; strangely enough, he had made little use of this fact.


The behavior of the person becomes dictated by that distorted characterological structure which inhibits the expression of primary feelings, in this case distortion exhibited itself by superficiality without any depth in making relations. From now on, the somatic sensations of current increased visibly and rapidly.  First in the his abdomen, then also in his legs and upper body.

The defensive structure, the physical and characterological armoring, is falling apart and giving in to the understanding of his character.  Correspondingly, his muscular blocks and contractions are loosening up and vegetative currents are spreading from the head toward the abdomen and towards the pelvis, as expected in the process of psychiatric orgone therapy.

He described these sensations not only as currents, but also as voluptuous and “sweet.” This was especially the case when strong, lively, and rapid abdominal twitchings occurred.

Let us pause a moment to review the patient’s situation at this stage of the treatment.

The abdominal twitchings were nothing other than the expression of the fact that the tonic tension of the musculature of his abdominal wall was subsiding.  The entire reaction was like a reflex. When his abdomen was tapped lightly, the twitching was immediately evoked. After several twitchings, the abdominal wall was soft and could be pressed in deeply. Previously,  it had been extremely taut and displayed a phenomenon which, conditionally, I should like to call abdominal defense. This phenomenon exists in all neurotics, without exception, whenever they are told to breathe out fully and a slight pressure is applied to the abdominal wall approximately three centimeters below the end of the sternum. When this is done, there is either a strong resistance inside the abdomen or pain is experienced similar to that felt when pressure is exerted on the testicles. A glance at that the position of the abdominal contents and of the solar plexus shows us that, together with other phenomena still to be discussed, abdominal  tension has the function of enclosing the plexus. The abdominal wall exerts pressure on it. The same function is fulfilled by the tense and downward-extended diaphragm. This too is a typical symptom. A tonic contraction of the diaphragm is  discernible, without exception, in all individuals who are neurotic; it is expressed in a tendency to breathe out only in a shallow and interrupted manner. The diaphragm is raised in exhalation; the pressure on the organs below it, including the solar plexus, is diminished. Apparently, a freeing of the autonomic plexus from the pressure exerted upon it is dependent upon the relaxation of the diaphragm and the musculature of the abdominal wall. It is manifested in the appearance of a sensation like that experienced in the upper abdomen in swinging, in the decent of an elevator , and in falling. On the basis of my experiences, I have to assume that we are dealing here with an extremely important phenomenon. Almost all patients remember that as  children they held down and suppressed these sensations in the upper abdomen which are felt quite intensely in anger or anxiety. They learned to do this spontaneously by holding their breath and pulling in their abdomen.


In the treatment of patients with psychiatric orgone therapy, Reich has divided body structures to seven segments.  The segments are divided as ocular, oral, cervical, thoracic, diaphragmatic, abdominal and then pelvic.  The treatment usually starts with the point furthest from the genitals, from ocular, oral and cervical segments.  The diaphragmatic segment occupies the body region between the thoracic cavity superiorly and the abdominal cavity inferiorly.  The abdominal segment extends from below the diaphragm to the brim of the pelvis. (See “Emotional Armoring” by Dr. Morton Herskowitz)

The bio-psycho-sexual energy, orgone energy, that energizes the instincts which feelings draw their energy from, is vegetative in.  The vegetative nervous system, in the human organism, has a major role in producing and withdrawing the energy and in expanding and contracting the organism as a whole.  The lower part of the abdominal cavity is rich in vegetative (autonomic) ganglia, which are considered to be the center, the most condensed area with autonomic ganglia where the energy is emitted with pulsatory impulses.  Contraction of the abdominal walls by contracting the musculature and inhaling and holding the breath causes suppression of the solar plexus and resolution of the production of energy therefore abating the anxiety.

Knowledge of how pressure on the solar plexus develops is indispensable for an understanding of the further course of our patient’s treatment. What followed was definitely in agreement with the above assumption; indeed, it confirmed it. The more carefully I had the patient observe and describe the behavior of the musculature in the region of his upper abdomen, the more intense the jerking became, the more intense also became the sensations of currents following their cessation, and the more the wavelike, serpentine movements of the body spread. But his pelvis continued to remain, stiff, until I began to make the patient aware of the rigidity of his pelvic musculature. During the movements , the entire lower part of his body jerked forward. The pelvis, however, did not move by itself; it moved together with his hips and thighs. I asked the patient to pay attention to the inhibition which obstructed the separate movement of his pelvis. It took him about two weeks to thoroughly perceive the muscular block in his pelvis and to overcome the inhibition. He gradually learned to include his pelvis in the twitchings. Now , a previously unfamiliar sensation of current also appeared in his genitals. He had erections during the session and a strong urge to ejaculate. Thus, the jerkings of his pelvis, his upper body, and abdomen were the same as those which are produced and experienced in orgastic clonus.


In psychiatric orgone therapy, resolution of armor from the upper most segment of the body starts and gradually proceeds to the lower segments. Resolution of armor corresponds with the release of feelings and memories that are anchored in the contraction of those musculatures.  The resolution of armor in the pelvic area is the last and deepest segment that the therapist deals with;  Resolution of it, frees the orgasm reflex. The orgasm reflex constitutes the involuntary movement of the pelvis back and forth in the state of heightened sexual excitation which is beyond one’s voluntary control. Resolution of armor in this segment, becomes possible when psychiatric orgone therapy progresses to the stage that all other segments are free of armoring and pelvic armor is resolved, the treatment is considered to be successfully completed. Dr. Reich described the character emerging after such resolution of the armor as “incapable of lying, and having Jesus Christ qualities”.

From this point on, the work was concentrated on the patient’s behavior in the sexual act, which he was asked to describe precisely. This description exposed what is found not only in all neurotics, but in the overwhelming majority of all men and women: movement in the sexual act is artificially forced, without the person being aware of it. Usually, it is not the pelvis itself that moves, but the abdomen, pelvis, and upper thigh as one unit. This does not correspond to the natural vegetative movement of the pelvis in the sexual act; it is , on the contrary, an inhibition of the orgastic reflex. It is voluntary movement, as opposed to involuntary reflex action. Its function is to reduce or to wholly cut off the orgastic sensation of current in the genitals.

Proceeding on the basis of these experiences, I was now able to make rapid headway with the patient. It became evident that his pelvic floor was held in a state of chronic tension. It was this case that finally enabled me to understand an error which I had committed formerly. In my previous efforts to eliminate the orgastic inhibitions, I had , of course, treated the contraction of the pelvic floor  and had attempted to loosen it. However, I had been continually haunted by the impression that this was not enough, that the result was somehow incomplete. Now I understood that the pressure exerted upon the solar plexus from above by the diaphragm from the front by the abdominal wall and from below, by the contracted pelvic floor considerably reduced the abdominal cavity. I shall speak later about the significance of these findings with respect to the development and preservation of neurotic situations.

After a few more weeks, I succeeded in completely dissolving the patients muscular armor. The isolated abdominal twitchings decreased to the extent to which the sensations of current in the genitals increased. His emotional life grew more serious. In this connection, he remembered an experience from the time he was about two years old.

He was alone with his mother at a summer resort. it was a clear starry night. His mother was asleep and breathing deeply; outside he could hear the steady pounding of the waves on the beach. The mood he had felt then was the same deeply serious, somewhat sad and melancholy mood which he experienced now. We can say that he remembered one of the situations from earliest childhood in which he had still allowed himself to experience his vegetative (orgastic) longing.  Following the disappointment in his mother, which had occurred when he was five years old, he had begun to fight against the full expression of his vegetative energies and had become cold and superficial. In short, he had developed the character which he presented at the outset of the treatment.

Following the increase of the sensations of current in the genitals, the feeling of a “peculiar contact with the world” intensified. He assured me that there was a complete identity between the emotional seriousness which over came him now and the sensations which he had experienced as a small child with his mother, especially on that night. He described it as follow: “it is as if I were at one with the world. It is as if everything inside of me and outside of me were whirling. It is as if all stimuli emerged much slower , as in waves. It is like a protective husk around a child. It is incredible how I now sense the depth of the worlds.” There was no need for me to tell him; he grasped it spontaneously: the feeling of unity with the  mother is the same as the feeling of unity with nature.  The equating of mother and earth or universe takes on the deeper meaning when it is understood from the point of view of the vegetative harmony between self and world.

On one of the following days, the patient experienced a severe attack of anxiety. He jumped up, his mouth contorted  with pain; beads of perspiration covered his forehead; his musculature was as stiff as a board.  he hallucinated an animal, an ape.  in doing so, his hand had the bent attitude of an ape’s paw, and he uttered sounds from the depth of his chest, “as if without vocal cords,” he himself said afterward. It  was as if someone had come very close to him and threatened him.  Then, trance-like, he cried out, “Don’t be angry, I only want to suck.” The anxiety attack subsided, the patient grew calm again, and in subsequent sessions, we concentrated our work on this experience.  Among many other things, he remembered that at about the age of two (which was established by the fact that they had lived in a particular apartment at that time), he had seen Brehm’s Tierleben for the first time and had looked at a gorilla with great admiration and astonishment.  He was not aware of of having experienced the same anxiety then, but the anxiety that occurred in the session undoubtedly corresponded to that experience.

In spite of the fact that anxiety had not become manifest at that time, it had subsequently dominated his entire life. Now it had finally broken through. The gorilla represented his father, the threatening figure who wanted to obstruct his sucking. Thus his relationship to his mother had remained fixated at this level and had broken through right at the beginning of the treatment in the form of sucking movements of his mouth. But this did not become spontaneously intelligible to him until after his entire muscular armor had been dissolved. It was not necessary to spend five years searching for the early sucking experience on the basis of memory traces. In the treatment, He actually was an infant with the facial expression of an infant, and the anxieties he had experienced as an infant.

I can briefly summarize the remainder of the treatment. Following the dissolution of the two main fixations in the childhood situation, his disappointment in his mother and his fear of yielding, genital excitation increased rapidly. WIthin a few days, he met a pretty young woman, with whom he easily formed a friendship. After the second or third sexual act, he came to the treatment beaming and reported in complete amazement that his pelvis had moved  “so curiously by itself.”  From his detailed description it was apparent that he still had a slight inhibition at the moment of ejaculation.  However, since the pelvic movement had already been liberated, it required but little effort to eliminate this final inhibitory trace. It was a matter of not holding back at the moment of ejaculation, but of surrendering himself completely to the vegetative moments. He had not the slightest doubt that the twitching he had experience during the treatment had been nothing other than the suppressive vegetative orgastic movements of coitus. However as it was later shown, the orgasm reflex had not developed wholly free of disturbance. the orgastic contraction were still jerky. He was still very hesitant to allow his head to fall back, i.e., to assume the attitude of surrender. However, the patient soon overcame this resistance against a soft, coordinated course of the  movement. Following this,the final trace of his disturbance, which had not appeared so clearly before was resolved. The hard , Forceful form of the orgastic movements correspond to a psychic attitude which said, “a man is hard and unyielding; any form of surrender is feminine.”


The patient had a slight inhibition at the moment of ejaculation.  “it was a matter of not holding back at the moment of ejaculation, but of surrendering himself completely to the vegetative movement.”  This is an important concept that armored individuals have difficulty submitting to pleasurable currents.  The inability to ejaculate, or ejaculation that is without convulsion, are all secondary to patients inhibition and fear to surrender to the full sexual excitation.  These concepts are unfamiliar to contemporary medicine and psychiatry, some seventy years after publication of this book, still there is no explanation by psychiatrist or sexologists or contemporary medicine, why a person becomes incapable of ejaculating although they may be erectively potent.  But as the reader sees, blocking the feelings, blocking the pleasurable sensations, and the fear of submitting to pleasurable sexual sensations,  which is a consequence of armoring constitutes the core of many sexual dysfunctions.

Immediately following this realization, his infantile conflict with his father was resolved. On one hand, he felt sheltered and protected by his father. He knew that , no matter how difficult matters might be, it would always be possible to “retreat” to the parental home. At the same time, he strove to stand on his won feet and to be independent of his father. He looked upon his need to be protected as feminine, and he wanted to rid himself of it. Thus, the desire to be independent and the need for passive-feminine protection conflicted with one another. Both were contained in the form of the orgasm reflex. The resolution of the psychic conflict took place hand in hand with the elimination of the hard thrust-like form of the orgasm reflex, and its unmasking as a warding off of the genitals, surrendering movement. when he finally experienced surrender in the reflex, he was deeply baffled by it. “I would never have thought,” he said, “that a man can surrender, too. I had always regarded surrender as a characteristic of the female sex.  In this way, his own warded-off femininity was connected with the natural form of orgastic surrender, and thus disturbed the latter.


The last few paragraphs are referring to the patients memories from childhood, his recognition of his impression of his father as a threatening figure like a gorilla, and his fear to get closer to his mother because of that.  The memories that were broken though correspond with the psychoanalytic concept of the odipal complex, which is of central importance in psychoanalysis. The fixation of libidinal energy in different stages of child development, as a consequence of the traumatic effect of the environment is also a theoretically important and crucial matter in psychoanalysis. In orgonomy, the concept of libido energy is given utmost importance and is understood as the real energy concept that exists tangibly and anchors in the tissues and contractions of the tissues.  However in psychoanalysis in general, elaboration on the libido theory is avoided. Psychoanalysts do not know what to do with the concepts of Freud’s libido theory. They talk about libido theory not as a real energy or entity, but something  in abstract, not tangible, something metaphysical. That is why no technique has developed about loosening up or removing that libidinal fixation.  When theoretically it is needed for the explanation of many psychiatric illnesses, psychoanalysis resorts to the libido theory and it’s fixations, but then never consider it as a real energy and talk about it in abstract, hypothetical and unreal terms.  However, this case indicates how recognizing the psychosexual energy as a real energy as it is recognized in orgonomy, leads to clinically therapeutic results that otherwise are unattainable.

It is interesting to note how society’s double standard of morality was reflected and anchored in this patient’s structure. In customary social ideology, we also find that surrender is emotionally associated with femininity, and unyielding hardness is associated with masculinity. Accordingly, it is inconceivable that an independent person can give himself and that a person who does give himself can be independent.  Just as , on the basis of this false association, women protest against their femininity and want to be masculine, men rebel against their natural sexual rhythm out of fear of appearing feminine; and it is from this false assessment that the difference in the view of sexuality in man and in woman derives its seeming justification.


Here one can see how the principles of orgonomy which are applied in human psychology transcend psychology and enter into the realm of sociology and culture.

During the ensuing months, every change became integrated in the transformation of his personality.  While he did not deny himself an occasional social drink, he ceased to drink excessively. He made a suitable arrangement with his wife and formed a happy liaison with another woman.  Most important, he showed great interest and enthusiasm in a new job.

The superficiality of his character had completely disappeared. He was no longer capable of engaging in empty talk in cafes or of undertaking other things that did not have some objective interest.  I want to make it quite clear that it would not have occured to me to guide or to influence him morally. I myself was surprised by the spontaneous transformation of his personality. He became objective and serious. He grasped the basic concepts of sex-economy less on the basis of his treatment, which was of short duration, than spontaneously on the basis of his changed structure, the feeling of his body, i.e., on the basis of the vegetative motility he now experienced.

Over the course of the next four years, the patient showed considerable improvement in the integration of his personality, in his capacity for happiness, and in the rational management of difficult situations.

I have now been practicing the technique of vegetotherapy for six years with students and patients and can see that is provides great advantages for the treatment of character neuroses.  The results are better than they were previously, and the duration of the treatments are shorter. A number of physicians and teachers have already learned to use character-analytic vegetotherapy.

Posted in Biopathies & Psychiatric Orgone Therapy, Case Studies4 Comments

Annotation on the Orgonomic Concept of The Carcinomatous Shrinking Biopathy.

Annotation on the Orgonomic Concept of The Carcinomatous Shrinking Biopathy.

Introductory Notes:

Doctor Reich in the book of Function of Orgasm, explains the evolution of Ogronomy from psychoanalysis. This evolution has been summarized in articles which were published in this journal (1). Evolution of psychoanalysis into orgronomy reveals that the Psyche and the Soma grow out of one entity and are functionally identical. They both originate from biological plasma system which functions autonomously. Schematically, this concept is depicted in orgonomy by Dr.Reich with the following diagram.

Diagram depicting psychosomatic identity and antithesis (2)

Doctor Reich, in the book “The Cancer Biopathy” relates many physical and psychological illnesses to the malfunction of this primary and basic life apparatus, the vegetative nervous system. In the book, “The Cancer Biopathy,” as well as articles that Doctor Reich wrote in the “International Journal of Sex Economy and Orgone Research,” in the years between 1942 to 1945, he described the illnesses which originates from malfunction of vegetative nervous systems as “biopathies.” Dr. Reich defines biopathy as the following: "The term biopathies refers to all disease processes caused by a basic dysfunction in the autonomic life apparatus. Once started, this dysfunction can manifest itself in a variety of symptomatic disease patterns. A biopathy can result in a carcinoma, (carcinomatous biopathy), but it can just as easily lead to angina pectoris, asthma, cardiovascular hypertension, epilepsy, catatonic or paranoid schizophrenia, anxiety neurosis, multiple sclerosis, chorea, chronic alcoholism, etc. We are still ignorant of the factors that determine the direction in which a biopathy will develop. Of prime importance to us, however, is the common denominator of all these diseases: a disturbance in the natural function of pulsation in the total organism.” (3).

This concept corresponds with clinical manifestations of the patients in medical practice, i.e., patients who develop psychological problems such as depression, anxiety or other forms of neurotic or psychotic illnesses, often develop physical illnesses and physical deterioration as well. Many patients used the phrase ‘Doctor, I am falling apart’. The phrase “He/She died of a broken heart” is a familiar phrase in the English language. Similar phrases are used in other languages reflecting the recognition of the relation between the psyche and soma among different cultures and societies.

Comprehension of the concept of biopathies lead Doctor Reich to do research in the disease as we know in medicine as “cancer”. To familiarize the reader to Doctor Reich’s concept of the disease “cancer” I will reflect in this article parts of the paper that Reich wrote, in the International Journal of Sex Economy and Orgone Research which was published in 1942 under the topic of “The Carcinomatous Shrinking Biopathy.” (4) This was also incorporated in the book “The Cancer Biopathy” under the same title. In reviewing parts of this paper, I have made annotations explaining some of the concepts for the reader who may not be familiar with theories of Dr. Wilhelm Reich. Annotations are in italic; the bold characters signify the emphasis which is done by Dr. Reich.

Here is the Paper of Dr. Reich with my annotations:


The cancer tumor is no more than a symptom of the cancer disease. Therefore, local treatment of tumor-be it operation or irradiation with a Radium or X Ray – affects not the cancer disease as such but only one of its visible symptoms. Similarly, death from cancer is not due to the presence of one or more tumors. Rather, it is the ultimate expression of the systemic biological disease “cancer” which is based on a disintegrative process in the total organism….

Annotation: From the ogronomic point of view the tumor is only the end stage of a systemic disease, cancer, which has been in progress far before the tumor becomes evident.

Under the term biopathies, we subsume all those disease process which takes place in the autonomic apparatus. There is a typical basic disturbance of autonomic apparatus which – once it has started – may express itself in variety of symptomatic disease pictures. This basic disturbance, the biopathy, may result in a cancer (cancer biopathy) but equally well in angina pectoris, asthma, cardiovascular hypertension, an epilepsy, a catatonic or paranoid schizophrenia, an anxiety neurosis, a multiple sclerosis, a chorea, chronic alcoholism, etc. What determines the development of a biopathy into this or that syndrome we do not yet know. What interest us here primarily is that which all of these diseases have in common; a disturbance of the biological function of pulsation in the total organism.

Annotation: Here, Reich is explaining the term “Biopathy” that did not exist in the medical literature prior to its use by him. Reich stated that it was necessary to introduce this new terminology because it encompasses a new concept of all illnesses which are caused by the disturbance of the functioning of the autonomous nervous system and hence the capacity of pulsation. (5)

A fracture, an abscess, a pneumonia, yellow fever, rheumatic pericarditis…etc.; are not biopathies. They are not due to a disturbance of the autonomic pulsation of the total vital apparatus; …

Annotation: Although, the cardiac pulsation is the most conspicuous pulse in the human organism, however, each body organ has its own pulsation. Rhythmic pulsation is a reflection of the propagation of a biological energy; a disturbance in the propagation of this energy causes the emotional and physical disturbances that were named under biopathies.

We shall speak of biopathies only where the disease process begins with a disturbance of the biological pulsation, no matter what secondary disease picture it results in…..

The cancer disease lends itself particularly well to the study of the basic mechanism of biopathy…

The confusing variety of manifestations presented by the cancer disease only hides a common basic disturbance. The same is true, as we know, of the neurosis and functional psychosis which- in all their variety of form- have one common denominator: sexual stasis.

Annotation: Sexual function is an essential biological function of the living organism which adjusts energy equilibrium in the organism. Disturbance of this ability, disturbance of orgastic potency, disturbs the energy equilibrium in the living organism and causes different biopathies. Here, Dr. Reich is referring to sexual stasis which is the common denominator in all psychiatric illnesses of neurosis and psychosis.

Sexual stasis represents fundamental disturbance of biological pulsation. Sexual excitation, as we know, is a primal function of the living plasma system. The sexual function has been shown to be productive life function per se. Thus, a chronic disturbance of sexual function must of necessity be the synonymous with biopathy.

The stasis of bio-sexual excitation may manifest itself, basically, in two ways. It may appear as an emotional disturbance of psychic apparatus, that is as a neurosis or psychosis. But it also, may manifested itself directly in the malfunctioning of the organs and express itself as organic disease. As far as we know it can not produce actual infectious disease. The central mechanism of biopathy is a disturbance in the discharge of bio-sexual excitation.

Annotation: Discharge of bio sexual excitation is a crucial function which is necessary to brings the energy system of the body to its equilibrium and prevent stasis of energy or excess stagnated energy in the body.

Biopathic Shrinking:

Living functioning in man is basically no different from that in the ameba (6). Its basic criterion is biological pulsation, that is alternating complete contraction and expansion. … In metazoan it is most readily seen in the cardiovascular system; The pulse beat represents the pulsation unequivocally. In various organs, it takes the different form, according to their structure. In the intestine, it shows itself as a wave of alternating contraction and expansion as “peristalsis.” In urinary bladder, the biological pulsation functions in response to the mechanical stimulus exerted by the filling of the bladder with urine. It functions in the striped muscle as contraction, in the smooth muscle as a wave-like peristalsis. In the orgasm, the pulsation takes hold of a total organism in the form of orgasm reflex… The autonomic movements are comprehensible only under the assumption that the autonomic nervous system itself is mobile.

Annotation: Based on the observations of the worms under the microscope, Doctor Reich indicates that the automatic nervous system is mobile and pulsates. This is also reflected in the paper published in 1961, by Zamiatine,N (7).

Biopathic shrinking begins with a chronic preponderance of contraction and inhibition of expansion in the autonomic system. This most clearly manifested in the respiratory disturbance of neurotics and psychotics: The pulsation (alternating expansion and contraction) of lungs and thorax is restricted; the inspiratory attitude predominates. Understandably enough the general contraction (sympatheticotonia) does not remain restricted to an individual organ. It extends to the whole organ system, their tissues, the blood system, the endocrine system as well as the character structure. Depending on the region it expresses itself in different ways: In the cardiovascular system as high blood pressure and tachycardia, in the blood system as shrinking of erythrocytes (formation of the T- bodies poikilocytosis, anemia), in the emotional realm as rigidity and character armoring, in the intestine as constipation, in the skin as pallor, in the sexual function as orgastic impotence, etc….

Annotation: Respiratory disturbances in neurotics and psychotics is often evident in patients by shallow breathing and, specially, difficulty of expiration. This difficulty is reflected in the common expression of the people as "I was so scared, I couldn’t breathe" or "I couldn’t exhale." I had psychotic patients with significant difficulty of expiration which was unexplainable by pulmonologist. Holding the breath is a common way for children and adults to suppress their feelings and impulses…

The biopathic shrinking in cancer is, in fact, the result of chronic contraction of autonomic apparatus.


The connecting link between sexual function and cancer disease is formed by the following facts with which sex- economic clinical experience has made us familiar:

Annotation: The term vegetotherapy was coined by Dr. Reich to emphasize the shift in the treatment of patients from the psychological realm (character analysis) to the physiological and somatic realm to stimulate bio-energetic movement in the organism, which is mediated by the autonomic(vegetative) nervous system. The phrase "sex economy" in ogronomy is used by Dr. Reich to reflect the body of knowledge which deals with the metabolism and movement of biological energy (orgone energy) in the organism.

1. Poor external respiration which in turn leads to the disturbance of internal respiration in the tissues.
2. Disturbed function of bioelectrical charge and discharge of autonomic organs, particularly the sexual organs.
3. Chronic spasm of musculature.
4. Chronic orgastic impotence.

Up to now, the connection between disturbances in the discharge of sexual energy and cancer has not been investigated. Experienced gynecologists are well aware of the fact that such connection exists….

Sex economic observation of character neurosis showed again and again the significance of muscular spasms and the resulting devitalization in the organism. Muscular spasm and deficiency in bioelectrical charge are subjectively experienced as "being dead". Muscular hypertension due to sexual stasis regularly leads to diminution of vegetative sensations; the extreme degree of this is sensation of the organ "being dead". This corresponded to a block of biological activity in the respective organ. For example, the blocking of bio-sexual excitation in the genital always goes with spastic tension of the pelvic musculature as is regularly seen in the uterine spasm of frigid women. Such spasms often result in menstrual disturbance, menstrual pains, polyps, and fibroma. The spasm of the uterus has no other function than that of the preventing the bio-sexual energy from making itself felt as vaginal sensation.  Spasms representing inhibition of vegetative currents are seen particularly frequently wherever we find annular musculature, for example, at the throat, at the entrance to and the exits of the stomach, at the anus, etc. These are also places where cancer is found with particular frequency… The spasm prevents biological energy from charging the respective site.

Annotation: Physicians are familiar with patients complaining of spasms in the throat which they can find no medical reason for, or spasms of the stomach, inability to eat, or complain of numbness in different parts of the body and pains that can not be explained by any conventional medical evaluations. Such complaints often lead to numerous medical evaluations and often unnecessary procedures including surgeries.  Physicians are also familiar with the complaints of patients that feel numb or dead. Once a patient of mine, while under analysis, laying on the couch, was manifesting such an apathetic facial feature resembling a dead person. I have been a physician for many years and I have seen many dead corpuses. His face was pale, dry, immobile and sunken, he was unmistakably reflecting a dead person. When he opened his eyes, I held a mirror in front of his face and asked him what he thought of his own facial expression. He didn’t answer then, but at our next session he said "Dr. I was frightened when I saw myself in the mirror, I thought I had died." In orgonomy, we try to help the patient recognize the expressive language of his body. The patient first has to recognize the expressive language of his body in order to recognize the defensive function of that expression.

In a woman whom I treated vegetotheraputically, Xray showed a beginning cancer of the 4th costal cartilage on the right side. This was due to a chronic spastic contraction of the right pectoralis muscle. This contraction represented as strong holding back in the shoulders because of repressed beating impulse. The woman had never experienced an orgasm and suffered from compulsive flirting.

Annotation: The fundamental principle in treating patients with psychiatric orgone therapy is the dissolution of body armoring. The armoring manifests itself as a character armor in the realm of the psyche, and physical and muscular armor in the realm of the soma. They are counterparts of each other. The technique of the dissolution of muscular armor is called vegetotheraphy because it is mediated by vegetative(autonomic) nervous system.

In vegetotherapy , we see not only character neurosis, but also ,of course ,schizophrenic ,epileptic, Parkinson-like, rheumatic and cancerous disturbances. If an organic disease develops, this may take place during the course of treatment or afterward; in the latter case, one will remember the signs that foreshadowed the disease. The most frequent finding is spasm in the pelvic musculature in women, resulting, in the majority of cases, in benign tumors of the genital organs.

Vegethotheraputic clinical observations raised the question as to the faith of the somatic sexual excitation when its normal discharge is barred. We know only that the biosexual excitation can be reduced or inhibited by chronic muscular tension. In female patients, these tensions often show in the form of hard lumps in the uterus. The spasm of uterus usually spreads to the anal sphincter and the vagina, and beyond that, to the adductors of the thigh. The pelvis is always retracted, the sacral spine often stiff and ankylotic. Lumbago and pathological lordosis are typical manifestation of this condition. In the pelvis any vegetative sensation is absent. During expiration the wave of excitation is inhibited by pulled up chest and tense abdomen. The excitation of the large abdominal ganglia does not progress to the genital organs and thus, a disturbance of biological functioning necessarily results. The genitals are no longer capable of biological excitation.

Many women who suffer from genital tension and vaginal anesthesia complain of feeling that "Something is not as it should be down there". They relate that during puberty they experienced the well-known signs of biosexual excitation; and that later they learned to fight these sensations by way of holding their breath. Later, so they relate in the typical manner, they began to experience in the genitals a sensation of "deadness" or "numbness" which in turn, frightened them.

Annotation: One female patient of mine, was constantly complaining of an uncomfortable and irritating sensation in her vaginal area whenever she was sexually stimulated. She explained it as" when I get sexual, I feel an uncomfortable sensation down there, as if my cat is angry"-referring to her genitals.  She was not willing to go through psychiatric orgone therapy and sought a gynecologist’s advice, who ended up giving her injections in the area to block or kill the local nerves to stop those feelings.

As the vegetative sensation in the organs are an immediate expression of the actual biological state of organs, such statements are of extreme importance for an evaluation of somatic processes. (The fact has to be kept in mind that patients are rarely able to comprehend or describe their organ sensation spontaneously; it takes character-analytic exploration to make them able to do so).

Annotation: Patients often either do not realize certain organ sensations or features as alien or unnatural or don’t know it’s significance. An example of it will be the aforementioned man who was manifesting a facial feature as a dead person. Another example would be a patient that always keeps his neck in a contracted and stiff manner often who may not know that he is presenting some unusual feature of stiffness of the neck as if he is ready to defend himself. Similarly, a patient who keeps his eyes squinted, usually is unaware of this feature, let alone knowing it’s functional meaning. Patients should be made aware of these features so that he or she can understand their defensive function.

The generally prevailing sexual inhibition of women explains the prevalence of cancer in the breast and genital organs. The sexual inhibition may have existed for decades before it manifests as cancer.

The following case illustrates in a singularly simple manner the immediate connection between character armoring, muscular spasm and the onset of cancer tumor.

Annotation: Character armor is a term used by Dr. Reich to depict the character attitude and rigidities of a person which serves as a defensive measure against his own emotional impulses as well as against others’ emotional states. Character armor which operates in the psychological realm has a physical counterpart, by muscular attitudes and contractions which is called muscular armor.

A man of 45, came to my laboratory because of complete obstruction of the esophagus by cancer tumor. He was unable to take solid food at all; liquid food he soon vomited. X-Rays showed a shadow the size of a small fist and the complete obstruction in the middle of the esophagus. The patient was rapidly losing weight and strength; there was a severe anemia and T-bacilli intoxication. The anamnesis revealed the following facts: Several months previous to the unset of the complaint, his son had been drafted for the army. This son, was the patient’s favorite; he became worried and deeply depressed. (He had always had a tendency to depression.) In the course of few days, he developed a spasm of esophagus. He had difficulty in swallowing; this disappeared, however, when he took a drink of water. At the same time, he had a sensation of oppression in the chest. These disturbances, kept coming and going for some time, until finally they became stationary. The difficulty in swallowing increased rapidly. He went to see a physician who found the constriction and small tumor. Treatment by X-Ray did not help, and in the course of a few months the man got to the point of starving to death. I should like to add that he had suffered since childhood from severe spasm of his jaw musculature; His face had a hard, rigid expression. Correspondingly, his speech was inhibited; As a result of the tension in his jaw muscles, he talked through his teeth.

Annotation: T-bacilli, is a product of decomposition of the cancer cell which is observable under microscope. Reich has described the presence of T-bacilli in the blood of cancer patients and the detailed description can be found in the book "The Cancer Biopathy."(8) Also, Armando Vecchietti, MBiol, has described it in the article which was published in this Journal under the topic of "Reich Test for Early Cancer Diagnosis" (9)

The extent of the devastating results of the inhibition of the natural biological rhythm- as it is expressed in respiration and the alternation of sexual tension and gratification- can as yet not even be guessed at. Deficient external respiration must of necessity lead to deficient internal respiration of the organs, that is, a deficient supply of oxygen and elimination of carbon dioxide.

When some years back, I began to comprehend the significance of the respiratory disturbance for emotional disturbances, I remembered the findings of Otto Warburg (10) concerning the metabolism in cancer tissue. Warburg found that all the various cancer producing stimuli have one thing in common: They produce a local oxygen deficiency as a result of which there is a disturbance of respiration in the respective cells. Thus, the cancer cell is a poorly breathing cell. … From this correct finding of Warburg, we cannot, however, draw the conclusion that the cancer cell is nothing but a normal cell taking on a different mode of growth under the influence of oxygen lack. In reality the cancer cell is- biologically speaking- basically different from the normal cell.  It is nothing but a protozoal formation. (This will be shown in detail elsewhere).

As stated before, these facts form the connecting link between the autonomic functions and the disease of cancer.


I shall now, give the history of a cancer patient which lends itself particularly well to a demonstration of the nature of the shrinking biopathy.

The patient’s brother related that her first complain was a violent pain in the right hip bone. The pain was constant and "pulling". At this time, her weight was about 125 lbs. Her physician diagnosed a sacro-iliac spasm. She was incapable of rising from the examination table. She was given injections of morphine and atropine, to no avail. The pain continued unabated and the patient was unable to leave her bed, where she lay flat and immobile. Three months after the unset the patient began to vomit. At about the same time, the pain moved to the region of the fifth cervical vertebra. X-Rays showed a collapsed vertebra. An Orthopedic surgeon put the patient in a plaster cast. He was the first, to find a collapse of tenth dorsal vertebra, a metastasis from a cancer of the left breast. A biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of cancer. The patient was given X-Ray treatment of the pelvis and the spine and was sterilized by X-Ray. She was constantly in bed. When she left the hospital after the X-Ray treatment, the patient weighted 90 pounds.

The hospital case history showed, the following data: Four months before admission, there were pains in the right hip which increased with walking and which made it difficult for the patient to sit down. The following is striking: The pain which kept the patient in bed for over two years did not set in originally at the place where the tumor was diagnosed. The pain was in the right hip: The primary tumor however was in the left breast and several metastases were in the spine.

The patient also suffered from vomiting. The records states that she would lie flat in bed and was unable to move on account of her pains. She had no enlarge lymph gland. The tumor of the breast measured about 3x2x6 cm. Her legs showed limited motility, the sacrum was dislocated and stiff. Most of the spine was painful. The hospital diagnosis was: Carcinoma of the left breast with bone metastasis.  Four months after the onset of the pains, the hospital physician pronounced the case hopeless.

Annotation: The Sacrum bone is strongly anchored and the dislocation of it, literally speaking, is unlikely. Dr. Reich might have meant that the sacrum bone had an unusual appearance and was out of place.

26 months after the discovery of the breast tumor, the patient was brought to my laboratory, hardly able to walk, being supported by two relatives. The color of her skin, particularly of her face was ashen gray. The pain in the back sharply localized at the twelfth dorsal vertebra, was violent. The left breast showed a tumor of the size of a small apple, hardly moveable. Blood examination: Hemoglobin 35%: T-bacilli culture in bouillon strongly positive after 24 hours, there were rot bacteria; the erythrocytes were largely in bionous disintegration and showed T- bodies; there were small nucleated round cell and numerous T- bacilli. The autoclavation test gave predominately blue bions, but the vesicles were small and showed very little radiation. Inoculation of the bouillon culture on agar resulted in clear cut T- bacilli growth. (11) These blood findings pointed to the extreme biological debility of the blood system.

Annotation: Medical science today measures blood hemoglobin as gram; per deciliter and the normal value of hemoglobin ranges between 13g/dl to 17g/dl. However, Dr. Reich is giving the value of blood hemoglobin on a Percentage basis. In the beginning of 1900 until the 1960’s Hemoglobin was measured by Haldane standards based on colorimetric techniques. Estimation was expressed as percentages. In the original Haldane method of 1901, "normal" was 100%=13.8 g/dl. (12)

The description of other blood parameters in the above paragraph, are explained in the book "The Cancer Biopathy "under the topic of "Orgone- Biophysical Blood Tests" (13)
Mr. Armando Vecchietti, MBiol,(14) regarding the blood picture stated: Reich’s accurate description of the bio-energetic condition of a patient is the same that can be observed today in our ill patients. Positive culture, blood disintegration, bacteria from purification and autoclave tests are all pieces of a pathologic picture that can be outlined and defined only by resorting to Reich’s tests.

The X-Ray showed the following: The fifth cervical vertebra is collapsed. No significant findings at the other cervical vertebrae.

The dorsal spine shows collapse of tenth and twelfth vertebrae and narrowing of the joint space between the third and fourth vertebrae. There is also strong suggestion of a metastatic lesion at the medial third of right ninth rib.

No lesions are present at the lumbar spine, but there are three round areas of lesser density at the right ilium near the Sacro-iliac joint which are very suggestive of metastatic lesions, although they might be gas shadows of the cecum.

Conclusion: Multiple metastatic bone lesions.

On the basis of the X-Ray picture, the physician to whom I had send the patient for a general check-up, considered the case hopeless. I was less impressed by X-Ray picture then by the biological debility of the blood. Two physicians, friends of the family, declared that the patient would live hardly more than two weeks, while another physician, on the basis of the information from the hospital, thought it was a matter of at most two months.


The vegetative habitus of the patient when first seen was as follows: The chin seemed immobile; the patient talked through her teeth, as if hissing. The jaw muscles were rigid, as was the superficial and deep musculature of the neck. The patient held her head somewhat pulled in the thrust forward, as if she was afraid that something would happen to her neck if she were to move her head. This vegetative attitude of the head and neck seemed at first glance, sufficiently explained by the fact that her fifth cervical vertebra was collapsed. She had been wearing a plaster collar for some time, and there was a good reason for fearing a fracture of cervical spine with rapid or extreme movements. The patient’s neurosis made the best of this situation. As was shown later, the fear of moving the neck had been present long before the collapse of vertebra. More than that: this attitude of the neck was part and parcel of a general vegetative attitude which was not a result but the cause of her cancer disease.

Annotation:  The vegetative attitude that Dr. Reich is talking about is the muscular and physical appearance and demeanor of the patient, revealing her character structure, that had developed throughout the years of her life, far before the appearance of the cancer.

The reflexes were normal. Respiration was severely disturbed. The lips were drawn in and the nostrils somewhat distended, as if she had to draw in air through the nose. The thorax was immobile. It did not perceptibly participate in respiration and remained constantly in a inspiratory position. When asked to breath out deeply the patient was unable to do so; more than that she did not seem to understand what she was asked to do. The attempt to get the thorax into expiratory position, that is, to push it done met with a vivid active musculature resistance.

Annotation: Difficulty of free expiration is common in patients with neurotic and psychotic symptoms. Patients usually hold their emotional impulses in check and repress them by taking a breath in and holding it in and only expiring in small increments. They are often unable to blow the air out in full or let the lungs collapse in a relaxed way to its full extent. The free, complete and relaxed expiration results in the loosening of the suppression of impulses and the danger of its eruption.  Physiologically speaking this might be in relation to the lessening of pressure in the diaphragm on the lower abdominal area which is rich in autonomic ganglions.

It was found that head, neck and shoulders form a rigid unit, as if any movement in the respective joints were impossible. The patient was able to move her arms only very slowly and with great effort. The handclasp, both left and right, was very weak.  The scapular muscle was extremely tense, standing out like taut cords. The muscles between the shoulder blades were sensitive to touch.

The abdominal wall was also tense and reacted to the slightest pressure with a marked resistance. The musculature of the legs seemed thin, as atrophic, compared with a rest of muscular. The pelvis was immobilized in a retracted position.

Annotation. Retracted pelvis and immobilized pelvis are also a common feature of the armoring of the pelvis, indicating blocking of sexual impulses.

Superficial psychological exploration revealed the following: The patient had been suffering from insomnia for many years previous to the discovery of the cancer. She had been a widow for 12 years. Her marriage, which had lasted 2 years had been unhappy. In contradistinction to the many cases of marital misery, where the awareness of the unhappiness is absent, the patient had always been fully aware that her marriage was a failure. During the early months of her marriage, she had been much excited sexually and at the same time unsatisfied. Her husband had shown himself to be impotent. When finally, the sexual act succeeded, he suffered from premature ejaculation, and the patient continued to be unsatisfied. During the first few months, her lack of sexual gratification made her suffer keenly; later however, she "got used to it". She had always been fully aware of the necessity of sexual gratification, but had found no way of obtaining it. After the death of her husband, she devoted herself to education of her child, refused any contact with men and withdrew from social activities. Gradually, her sexual excitation subsided. In its place, she developed anxiety states; these she combatted by way of various phobic mechanisms.

Annotation: In ogronomy, we know that sexual excitation and anxiety originate from the same energy source but they work in opposite directions. Sexuality is energetic flow toward the outside, toward the world, and in contrast, anxiety is the same impulse directed toward the inside and away from the world.

At the time when I first saw her, she no longer suffered from anxiety states, she appeared emotionally balanced and somewhat reconciled to her sexual abstinence and her personal faith in general. She presented the picture of a neurotic resignation with which the character analyst is so familiar; she no longer had any impulse to change her life situation. I avoided going any deeper into the patient’s latent conflict and concentrated my attention on the organic changes which soon took place.


A detailed presentation of the technique of orgone therapy will be given elsewhere. Here, I shall mention only the essentials. Our orgone therapy experiments with cancer patients consists in their sitting in an orgone accumulator. Orgone energy which is concentrated in the accumulator penetrates the naked body and is also taken by way of respiration. The duration of the individual session depends on the atmospheric Orgon tension which is measured electroscopiclly (The technical details of electroscopic measurements of the orgone concentration will be dealt with in a special article). I began with the sessions of thirty minutes.

Annotation: In the book "The Cancer Biopathy", Reich states "But the spurting of every plant, the development of every embryo, spontaneous movement of muscles, and productivity of every biological organism demonstrates the existence of incalculable energies governing the work of living substance". (15) To identify and harvest this energy Reich brought the organic and inorganic matters to incandescence and in that process, he discovered energy vesicles which he named  "Bion." Reich says "The bion is the elemental functioning unit of all living matter." While experimenting with these bion cultures and isolating these cultures in enclosed boxes with metal lining inside and organic material such as wood or cotton outside, Reich discovered radiation and illumination in the box which persisted after he removed the bion cultures out of the box. Reich experimented by injecting the bion culture solutions into the cancer inflicted mouse with positive therapeutic effect. He also realized the same or even stronger therapeutic effect when he put the mouse inside the box without the bion culture. From here on, Reich discovered the functional relationship between bions which are the energy vesicles with atmospheric orgone that can be concentrated and accumulated in the box with a certain arrangement structure of organic material outside and metal lining inside. Reich describes the therapeutic effect of the orgone accumulator in his experimental trial of treatment of cancer inflicted mice in the International Journal of Sex Economy and Orgone Research, Volume 2, on 1943. Also reader can see the articles in this Journal titled" Orgone Energy: Theoretical and Practical Implications, by Kevin Hinchey (16). Although there is no systematic research regarding the therapeutic effect of orgone energy on different illnesses, there are ample anecdotal reports which cumulatively can serve as a scientific body of evidence for the therapeutic effect of orgone energy on the human organism. The most recent report was published in this Journal, under the title of "Orgone Blanket as a Complementary Support In The Treatment Of an Atrophic -Cancer Biopathy" (17)

On the website of Institute for Orgonomic Science, there is a published bibliography entitled "Clinical Observations on Physical Orgone Therapy in Humans"

Interested readers are also referred to Bibliography (18)  which contains English language citations but does not include other works which are available in other languages.

During the first, session the skin between shoulder blades became red; this was a region which two months later was to play an important role in the patient’s functional disease. From the second session on, the reactions in general were more distinct and intense. The pain in the region of the tenth dorsal vertebra regularly decrease during the treatment; this improvement usually lasted until the next session. Humid and rainy weather always intensified the pains. During the second session, the redness of the skin spread to the upper part of the back and the chest. When the patient interrupted the irradiation for a few minutes, the redness disappeared, to return as soon as she went back in to the box. Beginning with the third session, the patient felt that the air in the box was "closer and heavier". She said, "I feel as if I were feeling up," "I have a buzzing around the ears from the inside," "Something clears up in my body." During the third session, she began to perspire, particularly under the arms; she related that during the past few years she had never perspired.

All these reactions of the organism to the orgone radiation are typical in all cancer patients. In one patient, one reaction will predominate, in another a different one. Such phenomena as redness of the skin, lowering of the pulse rate, warm perspiration, and the subjective sensations of "something in the body getting loose, filling up, swelling," etc. admit of only one interpretation: The cancer habitus is determined by a general sympatheticotonia, that is vegetative contraction. For this reason, we find in most cancer patients’ rapid pulse, pallor, the dryness of the skin, often with a cyanotic or livid coloration, reduced motility of the organs, constipation and inhibition of the sweat glands.  The Orgone radiation has a vagotonic effect, that is, it counteracts the general sympatheticotonic shrinking of the organism. In the accumulator the pulse will come down from 120 to 90 Or from 150 to 110 within 20 minutes; This without any medication. Similarly, there is a redness of skin and perspiration; The peripheral blood vessel dilates and the blood pressure decreases. Expressed in the terms of biological pulsation, this means that the plasma system relinquishes the chronic attitude of contraction and begins to expand vagotonicly. This expansion is accompanied by a reduction of the typical cancer pain.

Annotation: For the reader unfamiliar with the human nervous system anatomy and physiology, I should state that the human nervous system has two branches, a voluntary nervous system which is under the command of the brain and functions voluntarily, composed of motor and sensory branches, and the autonomic or vegetative nervous system which functions involuntarily and is not under control of the brain cortex. This autonomic nervous system is responsible for involuntary functions in the body such as involuntary rhythmic respiration, pulsations of different organs. The autonomic or vegetative nervous system itself has two branches, the sympathetic branch and the parasympathetic branch. The sympathetic branch is generally responsible for contractions, and the parasympathetic one is responsible for expansion and relaxation. Doctor Reich in this statement indicates that while armoring of the body and contraction of the body in general is a result of an overworking sympathetic nervous system which he called sympatheticotonia, the administration of concentrated orgone energy on the body has a parasympathetic effect, which brings expansion and relaxation to the body and consequently one can sees its physical effects such as sweating, redness of the skin, sensation of heat etc. One of the major parasympathetic branches in the body is vagus nerve. Therefore, the term vagotonic is also applied for a parasympathetic effect of orgone energy.

The cancer pains are usually ascribed to local mechanical tissue lesions caused by the tumor.  Doubtless this explanation is correct in one or other case, when the tumor presses on a nerve or a sensitive organ.  The typical cancer pain, of which I am speaking here, however, has to be strictly distinguished from these local, mechanically caused pains. Let us call it "Vegetative shrinking pain". In order to understand its nature, we have to review as few hitherto generally overlooked facts.

Annotation: Here, Doctor Reich is explaining the pain that a cancer patients and non-cancer patients alike are experiencing, as a consequence of the general contraction in the body. As described earlier the contraction is a function of sympatheticotonia. In other words, over stimulation of sympathetic nervous system which causes contraction in the body as a whole or in the different organs of the body. Reich attributes the pain to a general contraction of the body which is experienced by a patient as "Pulling pain" or "tearing up from within" when autonomic nervous system is contracting.

Sex economy had to give up the view generally held by medicine that the autonomic nerves in metazoan only transmit impulses but are themselves rigid. Such phenomena as the "Pulling" pains remain unintelligible unless one realizes that the autonomic nervous system expands and contract, that, in other words, it is mobile. This is confirmed, as stated before, by direct microscopic observation. We can see the fibers of autonomic ganglia expand and contract; they move independently of the movements of the total organism; their movements precede those of total body. The impulses appear first in the movement of the autonomic nervous system and are transmitted secondarily to the mechanical locomotor organs of the organism. This fact sounds revolutionary and strange. Yet, it is really, only a simple conclusion which I had to draw from the function of pulsation in the organism and which afterward I was able to demonstrate by direct observation. In the metazoan, the contracting and expanding ameba continuous to exist in the form of contracting and expanding autonomic nervous system. This autonomic system is nothing but organized contractile plasma. Thus, the emotional, vegetative, autonomic movement is the immediate expression of the plasma current. The prevalent concept of rigidity of the autonomic nerves is incompatible with every single phenomenon of biophysical functioning, such as pleasure, anxiety, tension, relaxation, and the sensation of pressure, pulling, pain, etc. On the other the hand contractility of the autonomic nervous system, which forms the functional and histological unity(syncytium), explains in a simple manner our subjective vegetative sensations. What we experience as pleasure is an expansion of our organism. The autonomic nerves, in pleasure, actually stretch out toward the world; The whole organism is in a state of vagotonic expansion. In anxiety, on the other hand we feel a crawling-back into the self, a shrinking and tightness. What we experience here is the actual process of contraction in the autonomic nervous system.

The orgasm we experience as an involuntary expansion and contraction; this reflects the actual process of expansion and contraction in total plasma system. The pain in cancer patients reflects the fact that the autonomic nerves retract from the diseased region and "Pull" on the tissues. The expression "pulling" pain describes an actual process. It takes a mechanistically rigid, unalive, unbiological and unpsychological attitude to deny the simple and unequivocal fact that our organ sensations are identical with the actual processes in the autonomic system. Such a mechanistic concept relegates our organ sensations to the realm of metaphysics and can not do justice to a single aspect of the cancer syndrome.

We understand now the seemingly strange phenomenon that in the orgone accumulator cancer pains regularly diminish or disappear. If the pains are not the expression of a local mechanical lesion, but of a general contraction of the autonomic nervous, of a "pulling" at the tissues, then we understand that with the vagotonic expansion of the nerves the pulling, and with it the pain, subsides.

This fact revels an essential effect of the orgone energy: It charges living tissues and causes an expansion of the autonomic nerves (Vagotonia).

Annotation: Biological energy or orgone energy, in human organisms, emits from the autonomic ganglion centers and propagates through the body in a pulsating manner by the autonomic nervous system. Orgon energy as Dr. Reich mentioned in the above paragraph, has a vagotonic effect. In other words, it brings about the expansion of the organism by parasympathetic effect. Infusion of orgone energy in the organism causes expansion which consequently brings about reduction or alleviation of pain.

The general vitalization of biological functioning by the orgone radiation is also reflected in the blood picture.

Our patient came with the hemoglobin of 35%. Two days later it was 40%; after four days 51%; after a week 55%; after two weeks 75% and after three weeks 85% that is normal. The patient got up took her child back to live with her and, after years of being bed ridden began to work again. She was inclined to overdo things; she went shopping, spending times at a stretch in department stores. She was free from pain, slept well and felt entirely well. She did her housework all by herself. I had to remind the patient of the fact that she was getting over a very serious illness and had to warn her to take it easy. My warnings were justified. After about six weeks, the patient began to feel tired, and hemoglobin dropped to 63%. The pain in the back did not return, but she began to complains about difficulties in breathing and about a "Wondering" pain in the ribs, in the diaphragmatic region. She was prescribed bed rest, and hemoglobin content soon improved, returning to 83% after another week. The weight remained constant at about 124 pounds. After another four weeks the hemoglobin was still 85%.

The patient was no longer brough to me by car; she came everyday by subway. Her relatives and physicians were amazed. As to the physicians, I met with a peculiar attitude which is incomprehensible from a rational point of view, an attitude which appears when, for a change, the case of a cancer patient is not hopeless. They did not ask how the improvement had been brought about. At the beginning, I had sent the patient to a physician who predicted that she would die in a few days. Now, the same patient was up and around and her X-Ray pictures showed compete ossification in a previously cancerous spine; Similarly, the shadows in the pelvic bone had disappeared after two weeks’ treatment. Yet, none of the physicians showed any interest in what was going on.

These X-Ray pictures showed the healing process unequivocally. They confirmed what I had seen so often in my cancer experiments with mice: The orgone energy arrests the growth of the tumor and replaces it by a hematoma which-under favorable conditions-is eliminated by connective tissue or if the tumor is in the bone, by calcification.

Biological Blood Test

I shall give here a brief resume of what will be presented in detail elsewhere: The Orgon energy charges the red blood corpuscles.

Every individual erythrocyte is an independent orgonotic energy vesicle. It follows the same pulsation and function of tension and charge as the total organism and each of its organs. With the magnification of about 3000, expansion and contraction of erythrocytes can easily be observed. Under the influence of Adrenalin, the erythrocytes shrink, with potassium chloride they expand; that is, they follow the antithesis of pleasure and anxiety.

Annotation: In protozoa or single cell living organisms including blood corpuscles or erythrocytes, there is no organized autonomic nervous system as it can be seen in metazoan. Therefore, the function of the autonomic nervous system is achieved by the chemical molecules as described by Doctor Reich above.

Our blood tests in cancer patients are done as follows:

  1. Culture test. A blood sample is tested for bacterial growth in bouillon or in a mixture of 50% bullion plus 50% KCI (o.1 n). The blood of advanced cancer patients regularly gives a strong growth of T-bacilli (cf. "Bion experiments on the Cancer Problem, 1939).
  2. Biological resistance test. A few drops of blood in bouillon and KC1 are autoclaved for half an hour at a steam pressure of 15 lbs. Healthy blood withstands the autoclavation better than the biologically devitalized blood of cancer patients. Biologically vigorous erythrocytes disintegrate into large blue bion vesicles. Devitalized erythrocytes in cancer blood disintegrate into T-bodies. Depending on the degree of devitalization, the content in T- bodies increases and that of blue bions decrease. The orgone treatment charges the erythrocytes. This is shown by the fact that the T-reaction changes into a B-reaction; that is, the blood becomes more resistant to destruction by high temperatures.
  3. Disintegration in physiological salt solution. A small drop of blood is put on a hanging-drop slide in 0.9% NaC1 solution. According to their biological resistance, the erythrocytes disintegrate slowly or rapidly. The more rapidly they disintegrate, and more rapidly their membrane shrinks and they form bion vesicles on the inside, the lower is their biological resistance. Biologically vigorous erythrocytes can retain their shape for 20 minutes or longer. Disintegration within 1 to 3 minutes indicate extreme biological weakness. In the case of marked anemia, the erythrocytes show the typical T-bodies, i.e., shrinking of the membrane.
  4. Blue orgone margin. When observed with apochromatic lenses at a magnification of 2-3000x, biologically vigorous erythrocytes show a wide margin of an intense blue color. Devitalized erythrocytes with a tendency to rapid disintegration show a very narrow margin with a weak blue coloration.

Annotation by Armando Vecchietti,(14) These are the tests used by Reich to detect the bio-energetic charge of the cells.

Blue Orgone Margin of the Blood cells:" In vivo, the red blood cells have an energetic halo that is visible under the microscope. The more the red blood cell is charged, the stronger and more visible is the energetic halo. On the contrary, when the red blood cell is weak, the halo is almost non-existent.

In our patient, the blood tests showed a general biological strengthening of the blood. When the patient first came, the blood cultures were strongly positive, that is, they showed intensive growth of T-Basile. Three weeks later the cultures were negative and remained so. The erythrocytes no longer showed shrinking and had a wide margin of deep blue. The autoclavation tests resulted in 100% bionous disintegration and no longer in a T reaction. The disintegration in salt solution now took place very slowly without the formation of T- bodies.

The patient was free from pain and felt generally well, except she reacted with malaise to rainy weather. She regularly came for her daily orgone treatment. The blood pressure remained constant at about 130/80. The pulse rate was and remained normal. There was only onesymptom which not only failed to disappeared but became more pronounced. This was a respiratory disturbance which at first, was ill-defined.

The Appearance of the Cancer Biopathy

I shall proceed now, to a description of cancer biopathy which made its appearance only after the elimination of the tumors and the restoration of the normal blood picture…  What happened was this: After the cure of the local cancer tumor, a general vegetative disease picture appeared which previously had been hidden and which formed the actual background of the cancer disease: the shrinking biopathy.

Annotation: As described earlier, the cancer tumor is only the end stage manifestation of the disease. Doctor Reich here describes the disease cancer biopathy, which existed before tumors had appeared and persisted after the tumor was eliminated.

The patient seemed to have regained her complete physical health. This happy state of affairs lasted about six weeks and was objectively confirmed by the blood test and X-Ray pictures. The tumors had disappeared. The blood remined healthy, the anemia did not recure. Tumor in the left breast was no longer pulpable after the eight orgone irradiation. With purely mechanistic pathological concepts, one would have proclaimed a "cure" of this cancer case. At the same time, however, certain emotional symptoms became more and more pronounced and kept one from jumping to premature conclusions.

At the time when the patient first came, she had not felt any sexual desire for a long time. About four weeks after the beginning of orgone therapy I observed in her signs of sexual statis.  Up to that point she had been gay and full of hope for the future; now, a depression began to set in and she developed signs of stasis anxiety. She began to withdraw from people again. As I learned from her, her attempts to straighten out her sexual situation had failed. She related that for sometime now, she had been suffering from intense sexual excitation; these excitations were much more intense than those which she had experienced fourteen years earlier at the beginning of her marriage, and which she had fought then. To judge from her description, it was a matter of normal vaginal excitations. During the first two weeks of getting well, she had made a few attempts to establish a sexual contact; failing in this, she became depressed and felt physically exhausted. These attempts, which were entirely healthy, were continued for several weeks. One day, she asked me whether it would be harmful to have a sexual intercourse "Once a month". The question had an apprehensive ring to it and was at variance with her sexual knowledge. It pointed to an irrational fear: She began to develop the fear that a dangerous accident would happen to her in sexual intercourse, since, as she said, "her spine was demolished in two places". She was afraid of what might result from the violent motions connected with sexual excitation. It is to be noted that this idea did not appear until after the failure of her attempts to find a sexual partner. She had met a man who proved impotent. She became furious but fought back her hatred and disillusionment. When another attack of anger would come, she would "swallow her anger". Now, the patient presented the complete picture of stasis neurosis.

Annotation: Stasis neurosis is a term used in psychoanalysis when the libido energy (which is called orgone energy in orgonomy) is accumulated but is not discharged by sexual release. Accumulation of this energy based on psychoanalytic theory described by Freud, causes a toxic reaction with manifestations of physical symptoms of anxiety such as palpitation of the heart, high blood pressure, tightness of the chest, hyperventilation and other subjective feelings of anxiety neurosis.

The depression became more sever and she suffered from uncontrollable crying spells; she felt "a dreadful pressure in her chest- it goes through and through".

One might have been tempted to explain this "Pressure in the chest" on the basis of collapse twelfth dorsal vertebra.  But simple consideration contradicted this assumption. For six weeks the patient had no pain in spite of working hard; it was inconceivable that a mechanical pressure of the collapse vertebra on a nerve should now suddenly become effective after not having made itself felt for weeks. What followed showed that the patient was developing an anxiety hysteria. This neurosis made use of spine lesion as a rationalization. It was to be expected that from now on every psychiatrically untrained physician would ascribe all symptoms to the collapse vertebra, overlooking the fact that the same vertebra had been no less collapsed at the time when the patient was going around without pain for a number of weeks.

After about ten orgone irradiation, the patient had begun to experience sexual excitation.  The orgone energy had charged her bio-sexually, but she was unable to handle the sexual excitation. The anxiety neurosis which she now developed was only a reactivation of the old conflicts; in puberty, she had suffered from similar states. The patient now found herself in the tragic situation of waking up to a new life, only to be confronted by a nothingness. As long as she was ill, the tumor and the resulting suffering had absorbed all interest. Indeed, her organism had used up a great amount of biological energy in the fight against the cancer. These energies were now free, and in addition were amplified by the orogonotic charge. In a phase of particularly intense depression, the patient confessed that she felt herself ruined as a woman, that she felt herself to be ugly and that she did not see how she could suffer this life. She asked me whether the orgone energy could cure her anxiety neurosis also. This, of course, I had to deny, and the patient understood the reason.

Annotation: Charging the human organism with orgone energy while the orderly flows of the energy is impeded and blocked by body armoring, cannot bring resolution to neurotic symptoms but on the contrary may exacerbate the neurotic symptoms as we see in this particular patient.

Summarizing the sequence of events, we have the following:

  1. In the beginning of the marriage a sever stasis neurosis due to the husband’s impotence.
  2. Repression of sexual excitation, resignation, depression, and a decade of abstinence.
  3. The sexual excitations disappear while the cancer disease develops. As we shall see later, the cancer metastasis developed exactly in those organs which played a dominant part in the muscular armor which repressed the sexual excitation. Annotation: Although systematic research to support the above statement is not available at this time, there is research to indicate the reduction of breast cancer in nursing mothers which can contingently support the above statement (19)
  4. Elimination of the tumors by the Orgone energy, physical recovery of the patient and reappearance of the sexual excitability.
  5. The high-pitched sexual excitation ends in disappointment; the old stasis neurosis reappears.

This constellation then resulted in a general shrinking of vital apparatus.

One day, there occurred a mishap. The patient, left the orgone box and began to dress. She bent over to pickup a stocking and suddenly, let out a shriek.  We found her pale, with a thready pulse, on the point of fainting. We became frightened because we did not know what had happened. We, too, felt the collapsed vertebra to be a Damocles’ sword. Nobody knew when the patient might suffer a fracture of the spine. Just because this fear seemed justified, it lent itself so well to a rationalization of the patient’s neurosis. When the patient calmed down, it was shown that she had only experienced a fright. For a moment she had believed that by her swift movement she had really broken her spine. Actually, she had only suffered a slight strain at the shoulder blade; She had made too swift a movement with a hypertonic muscle. During the next few days, the patient felt well, but four days later she complained of heavy "pressure in the chest" and "weakness in the legs". During these days the reflexes were normal. Three days later she again felt more strength in her legs, but the pressure in her chest persisted. On one of the following days, during a conversation in the treatment room, the patient suddenly cried out and doubled up so that everybody present immediately thought of a fractured vertebra. Yet, all reflexes were absolutely normal. But now there was a new symptom which kept the patient in bed for many months and which deceived a number of physicians.

When the patient doubled up, she stopped breathing; she no longer could breathe out properly and kept gasping for air. I had the impression of a spastic contraction of the diaphragm, the diaphragmatic block.

Annotation: "Diaphragm Spasm" or "Diaphragmatic Block", means, the contraction of the diaphragmatic muscle which prevents free breathing and blocks natural energetic flow in the body.

The pain in the lower ribs about which the patient now complained could ascribed either to this spasm or to the mechanicalpressure of the collapse vertebra on thesensory nerve. The collapsed 12th vertebra corresponded to the costal insertionof the diaphragm. What happened during the ensuing months was essentially a clash of opinions as to which of the two interpretations was correct. I advised the relatives to take the patient to the orthopedic surgeon whom she had consulted previously. The surgeon declared that the spine and the pelvic were free of shadows and metastasis and that the patient’s condition was due to mechanical lesion at the twelfth dorsal vertebra. What had made the metastasis disappear he did not inquire about. He prescribed bed rest in a plaster cast. The patient’s brother refused to take this advice because he had followed the course of his sister’s disease with great understanding and was convinced of the correctness of my interpretation.

It was during this period that I first began to understand the connection between the lesion of the twelfth vertebra and the biopathic contraction of the diaphragm. It could be no accident that the diaphragmatic spasm- the symptom so well known to the vegetotherapist- should appear just at this time. There also seemed to be significance in the fact that one of the main metastases had appeared just at the insertion of the diaphragm. This concurrence of diaphragmatic spasm and the lesion of the vertebra complicated the clinical diagnosis considerably; on the other hand, it opened an avenue of approach to the understanding of extremely important connection between emotional muscle spasm and the localization of metastasis. One of the tasks of this series of articles will be to demonstrate the fact that the localization of a cancer tumor is determined by the biological inactivity of the tissue in its immediate neighborhood.

The orgone treatment had to be interrupted because the patient was again bedridden. Renewed examination at the cancer hospital and by private physicians reveled calcification of the defects in the spinal column and the absence of the cancer growths. The original breast tumor did not reappear. But nobody could foresee whether or not new cancer growths might appear. I saw the patient repeatedly at her home. She complained of violent pains in her lowermost ribs. The pain was neither constant nor definitely localized; it appeared at various places along the costal margin and could always be eliminated by correcting the breathing. The whole thing looked like a neuralgia with a marked hysterical component. The patient lay flat in bed and gave the impression of being completely unable to move. If one tried to move her arms or legs, she would cry out, become pale and would breakout in cold sweats. A few times I succeeded in getting her out of bed into an easy chair by making her breathe deeply for about ten minutes.

Annotation: Breathing deeply as described earlier, is one of the techniques that is used to counter the general contraction of the body which in turn causes shallowness of the breathing and decreases the energetic charge in the body. Conversely, breathing deeply brings about the flow of energy in the body. Occasionally an unexpected outburst of emotions may happen during the process of psychiatric orgone therapy as a result of a period of deep breathing. This is a consequence of the movement of energy and the therapist must be aware of it and able to manage it

The relatives were amazed that I should be able to eliminate the pain so easily.They had seen the tumors disappeared and had had this confirmed by outside physicians. As I worked without drugs or injections, my orgone therapy seemed mysterious. In order to counteract this impression, I tried to explain to the relatives the mechanism of the disturbance. They realized very soon that the pain could not be due to the lesion of the vertebra, otherwise it would have been sharply localized and it could not have been eliminated by the improved respiration. At that time, I had as yet no idea of the fact that in reality the patient did not have any pain but a panicky fear of the onset of pain.

An Intercoastal injection of anesthetic was tried at the point where the pains were most violent. The anesthetic had no effect; shortly after the injection the pain appeared at another rib. The physicians who had been convinced that the pains were the result of vertebral lesion finally had to admit that they were essentially "functional". But nobody could tell what was the "meaning "of the "functional symptom". In addition, to most physicians "functional" means "not organic". That is not real but imaginary.

One day, I found the patient again in violent "pain.’ She was gasping for air and produced peculiar groaning sounds. The condition seemed serious, but gave way promptly when the patient succeeded in breathing down and when the spasm of the jaw muscles was released. I turned over the work on the respiration to a colleague because I was going away for two months. He reported later, that again and again it had been possible to eliminate the pains by establishment of full expiration.

The patient was taken to a cancer hospital once more. The hospital physician confirmed again the complete absence of metastasis in the bones. He doubted that X-Ray therapy would eliminate the pains or the surgical procedure at the nerve of twelfth segment would help. This was five months after the initiation of the orgone therapy, and three and half months after its interruption. When the patient’s brother told the hospital physician about the results of orgone therapy, he became very reserved. He said, he could not go into that until it was "recognized by official medicine". He overlooked the fact that he himself was a representative of "official medicine" to which he shifted the responsibility for the recognition of the results of the orgone therapy in this cancer case.

The patient soon returned home and continued to lie flat in bed. The atrophy (of disuse) of her muscles progressed, and the danger of recurrence of the tumors was considerable. A month later, I saw the patient again. I succeeded again in eliminating the pains by improving respiration. The patient was able to get out of the bed but felt very weak. One day, during one of these attempts to stay out of bed, I saw the patient develop severe anxiety; she implored me to be allowed to go back to bed. At that moment, she had no pains. I insisted on her staying up. All of the sudden, she began to tremble violently, was scared, broke out in cold sweat and turned pale. In other words, she experienced a violent, shock- like reaction of the autonomic system to the standing up. I did not let the patient go back to bed because I noticed that Some fear made her want to go back to bed.A few moments later, there were visible convulsions in the upper abdomen, and she gasped for air; the chronic spasm of the diaphragm dissolved itself into clonic convulsions of the abdominal musculature. After this, she felt greatly relieved and was able to move about freely.

Now, I understood a basic feature of biopathy. The biological charging of her organism by the orgone had resulted in sexual excitations; to these, she had reacted with contracture of the diaphragm. (The repression of sexual excitation by way of a chronic attitude of inspiration is a phenomenon well known to the vegetotherapist.) This contracture of the diaphragm apparently caused the "pressure in the chest" and the pain- like sensation which were ascribed to the collapsed vertebra. The pressure in the chest disappeared every time I succeeded in overcoming the inspiratory spasm and thus in restoring the pulsatory movement of the diaphragm.

Annotation: Contracted muscles in the body often represents the chronic armoring of a segment. When techniques of psychiatric orgone therapy are applied, including deep breathing and especially free and relaxed expiration, often those contacted muscles starts to show a softening and dissolving of the armor by clonic convulsions, or fasciculation which is often pleasurable for the patient, although initially, it may be unfamiliar and rather frightening.

But it was just these contractions and expansions of the diaphragm which caused violent anxiety which the patient tried to escape by falling back into inspiratory attitude. As was shown now, the "danger" of a clonic dissolution of the contracture was too great when the patient was standing up or walking around. The danger consisted in the violent convulsions which threatened to dissolve the diaphragmatic spasm. She did not dare leave her bed because she was very much afraid of these convulsions. It was this fear, then, which kept her in bed, although it was not the exclusive motive for staying in bed.

Doubtless the diaphragmatic spasm created neuralgic pain in the ribs and at the insertion of the diaphragm. But this spasm accounted only in part for her enormous fear of motion; the more important part was her fear that if she moved, she would "collapse" or "break her back".

The involuntary convulsions of the diaphragm which threatened to set in when she got up only seemed to justify this fear. Thus, she really did not suffer from acute pain, but from a tremendous fear of sudden violent pains. This fear was further increased by the experience of a few months before, when "something seemed to crack when she moved too suddenly." In other words, she suffered from a misinterpretation of normal vegetative sensations such as accompany the movement of the diaphragm. Her staying in bed was a strong defense mechanism against the fear of "breaking a part". This fear would arise as soon as the diaphragmatic spasm was about to dissolve itself into clonic movements. This she would counter with an intensification of the diaphragmatic contracture. Of course, this fear and her reaction to it had far- reaching physical results, for it led to a general muscular tension which was to prevent any motion; The long duration of the consequent immobility led to an atrophy of musculature. For example, she was hardly able to lift her arms; when she lifted her left arm, she lifted it with the aid of her right. She was unable to lift her legs and hardly able to bend her knees. The head was kept rigid. Passive movement of the head was strongly resisted. The patient was afraid of "breaking her neck." All physicians had warned her against rapid movements because the fifth cervical vertebra was collapsed.

On one of the following days, I found the patient in a very bad condition. In spite of a strong urge to defecate, she had not gone to the bathroom for several days, in order not to have to leave her bed. As on previous occasions, the "pains" disappeared when the patient was made to breathe, and she was able to get up. She had an enormous bowel movement without any difficulty.

I told her brother that I would undertake an attempt of vegetotherapy for two weeks (without remuneration), but that I would have to stop if it showed no results. She moved to my neighborhood and for next few weeks I worked with her for about 2 hours every day. This work disclosed the phobic background of her biopathic condition.

The characterological expression of the shrinking biopathy

Six months after the collapse in my laboratory, the patient developed a paralysis of the rectum and the bladder. The question was whether this was due to a local mechanical lesion or, as I suspected, to functional shrinking of the automatic system. In the first case, emotional motives would be absent and the symptoms would point to a sharply localized lesion. In the second case, one would expect prominent emotional and character disturbance and inconsistency of the paralytic symptoms.

When I explained to the patient again and again her fear of the pains, she became capable of moving in her bed without any pain. In order to be able to move, however, she always first had to mobilize her respiration and to loosen up the spasm of her jaw musculature. As she put it, she always had first "to get rid of the fear of moving." In the case of mechanical lesion of the nerve this would not have been possible.

When she succeeded in turning on her side or her stomach, she always seemed extremely exhausted. We looked for the reason for this peculiar exhaustion and finally found it in an extreme tension of the musculature of the neck and throat. The patient looked as if her head were being pulled into the thorax. It was the same attitude one involuntarily assumes to protect oneself against a sudden blow on the head. This musculature attitude was completely autonomic; the patient could neither control nor consciously loosen it. When this contraction of musculature of the neck and throat occurred, respiration ceased and the patient’s throat rattled as if she were choaking. In order to loosen up the spasm, I had her to stick her finger down the throat. To this she promptly reacted with a gag reflex which was so violent that she turns blue in the face. After a while she felt "greatly relieved in the throat."

Annotation: Sticking the finger in throat by the patient and producing gag reflex is one of the techniques of psychiatric orgone therapy which loosens up the contracted musculature of the throat as well as relaxing the spasm of the diaphragm and abdominal muscles.

In connection with these throat reflexes, she began to tell me spontaneously about her anxiety dreams. She dreamed every night, with intense anxiety, that she was falling into an abyss; that she was choaking or that something was falling on her and she was being destroyed. With such dreams of falling the vegetotherapist is very familiar. They occur typically toward the conclusion of the character- analysis, at a time when pre- orgastic sensations in the abdomen and genital begin to appear and are suppressed before becoming conscious. These sensations of anxiety- laden, are experienced as falling. This is based on the following mechanism:

Pre- orgastic excitation is the onset of an involuntary convulsion of the plasma system. If the organism is afraid of these convulsions, it will develop – in the midst of the expansion which should end in a convulsion – a counteracting contraction, in other words an inhibition of the expansion. This results in a sensation like that which one experiences when an elevator suddenly starts down or an airplane drops rapidly. The sensation of falling is the perception of a contraction of the autonomic system in the process of inhibiting an expansion. The typical falling dreams are often accompanying by a sudden contraction of the total body.

Annotation: In psychoanalysis, dream interpretation is used to reveal the patients’ unconscious thoughts. In orgonomy, dreams also reflect the movement of energy. For example, sometimes a patient who is under psychiatric orgone therapy, may have dreams of driving fast toward the top of a hill, or being in an elevated place with some fear and apprehension. They may have dreams of acting out of character by speaking confidently and defending themselves courageously, or acting kind and loving etc. which are harbingers of change in their character and manifests breaking up of the armor and movement of stagnated energy. Dreams of falling as mentioned in the text by Reich, are a manifestation of expansion as a result of the movement of energy, but also contraction as a result of fear, which translates in the dream as falling from heights.

In the case of our patient, this means the following: She reacted to vagic sensation of expansion regularly with spastic contraction; her organism became fixated, as it were, in the muscular spasms in the throat and the diaphragm, as if "not to lose hold." The fear of the convulsions diminished considerably when I succeeded in eliminating the spasm by eliciting the gag reflex. Then, the movements which she executed in bed no longer resulted in spasm but in pleasurable sensations.

Every plasma current begins with a central contraction (tension) which dissolves itself into a vagic expansion; (this can be directly observed in the ameba limax at a magnification of 2000x) the vagic expansion goes with the sensation of pleasure; in the case of orgasm anxiety, it is inhibited and results in muscular spasm. We understand now: the patient suffered from a spastic reaction to vagic expansion as the result of orgasm anxiety. Biopathic shrinking begins with a spastic restriction of biological pulsation.

Annotation: Reich Refers to the expansion that results by stimulation of the vagus nerve which is one of the main parasympathetic nervous branches. It is synonymies with the parasympathetic expansion which causes pleasure. However, in the case of the patient who is fearful of the expansion and is heavily armored, this expansion, triggers fear and anxiety and brings about a sudden contraction which causes falling sensation as a consequence.

It differs from the simple sympatheticotonic stasis neurosis insofar as, here, the impulse to expansion gradually subsides, while in the stasis neurosis they maintain their intensity. A sharp distinction however cannot be drawn.

This mechanism of spastic reaction to the vagotonic impulses of expansion functioned in a different manner in different muscle system. For example: When I tried to move the patient’s arms passively, she always reacted with a contraction of the shoulder musculature and the flexors of the arms; the reaction was similar to the muscular negativism and rigidity in catatonics. The patient presented the picture of flaccid paralysis of the arms. When I asked her to hit my arm, she was at first unable to do so. But when I made her imagine that she was now letting out her suppressed anger, she was able, within five minutes, to get rid of her paralysis and to hit quite freely. At the end, she experienced pleasure in the motion and the action. The paralysis seems to have been eliminated to a considerable extend. Thus, the patient was able to overcome her fear of expansion and of the plasmatic pulsation temporarily. This regularly improve her general condition considerably.

The same thing could be observed when I sat her up passively in bed. She always became frightened, began to gasp for breath, turned pale and repeated several times, with an expression of severe anxiety, "You shouldn’t have done that." But when I repeated the procedure several times, she even became able to sit up by herself. She was absolutely amazed and said, "It is a miracle how this is possible."

From then on, I had the patient continued to elicit the gag reflex, bite the pillow, hit my arm, etc.; All these in order to produce clonic contractions in the musculature of the throat and the shoulders.

Annotation: What Dr. Reich is explaining here by asking the patient to do the gag reflex, bite the pillow or hit his arm, are techniques of psychiatric orgone therapy which are designed to overcome the inhibitions of the patient which is a result of the patient’s muscular armoring".

I knew from vegetiotheraputic experience that biological energy which is bound in spastically contracted musculature can be released only by clonisms. So, it was in this patient. After about half an hour of active production of various reflexes, involuntary clonic spasms began to set in in the musculature of the arms and shoulders.

Annotation: The signs of involuntary clonic spasms of the musculature is observed by the psychiatric orgone therapist usually by trembling and tremor or fasciculation of the muscles which is observable and the patient can also sense it subjectively.

The legs also began to tremble. This trembling could always be intensified by gentle flexion and extension.

When these spasms appeared for the first time, the patient became very much frightened. She did not know what was going to happened to her. It was the very same fear of involuntary contractions which she avoided by her spastic contractures. After a few minutes, however, she began to enjoy the spasms. Gradually, the musculature of the throat began to participate in the spasm; the patient was afraid she was going to vomit. At one point, she looked as if she were going to faint. I asked her to give free rein to the spasms. After a while, they became less intense: The biological energy had been discharged. She sank back in the bed exhausted; her face was red, her respiration deep and full. The gag reflex could no longer be elicited, and the patient said, "My throat is peculiarly free- as if a pressure had been taken away." Similarly, the pressure on the chest had disappeared.

On the following day the patient breathed normally, and I proceeded to relieve the paralysis of the legs by producing clonisms of the leg musculature. This was possible to a certain degree by slowly moving the legs, which were bent at the knees, apart and again together. I had not prepared the patient for the pre -orgastic sensation which are likely to appear with the dissolution of contractures in the leg musculatures. All of a sudden, she inhibited her respiration, set her jaw, turn pale and developed the facial expression which I can only describe with the world "dying." The reaction was so violent, that I became frightened. There could, however, be no mechanical lesion, for I had moved the legs only very slowly and gently. The patient emitted sounds such as one makes with the most sever pains in the chest. The sounds were a mixture of groaning and rattling. From vegetotherapeutic experience I knew that this was patient’s rection to vegetative currents in the genitals. We know from vegetotherapy that orgastic sensations, when inhibited by orgasm anxiety are experienced as a fear of dying; "dying" in the sense of falling apart, melting, losing consciousness, dissolving, nothingness."

The patient groaned heavily, was pale and blue, turned her eyes up and seemed exhausted. Never before had I seen the neurotic reaction of dying so realistically. With all the work on disturbances of the orgasm I had done during twenty years, I had still underestimated the depth at which the disturbances of the function of biological pulsation are at work. True, my contention had always been that the orgasm is "basic biological function per se." But never before had I seen an organism "die" so realistically as a result of orgasm anxiety. I told the relatives that quite possibly the patient would not survive more than a few days. It was clear to me that the shrinking of her vital system might well continue into actual death. This being the case, I would have relinquished any further efforts had it not been for the fact that seven months earlier, when the patient first came to me, she had also been on the point of dying. There was nothing to be lost by going on and a great many insights into the nature of shrinking biopathy to be gained.

Annotation: It is my opinion that here in this passage Doctor Reich is implicitly expressing his regret in relinquishing caution and underestimating the power of the psychiatric orgone therapy in eliciting impulses that might, in reaction to it, patient respond with catastrophic results. The technique he used as he described earlier by trying to relieve the paralysis of the legs that producing clonism of the leg musculature which triggered pre- orgastic sensations is a technique that brings about loosening of the armoring in the pelvic area which Reich himself had cautioned in his teachings and writings that it is to be done at the end of treatment when armoring of the other segments are dissolved. He also indicates that he did not prepare the patient for the impulses that she may experience. He states that he underestimated, after twenty years of working in this field, the depth which the disturbance of the function of biological pulsation are at work. So, in a way in this passage perhaps Dr. Reich is indicating that premature strong movement of the orgastic currents into the pelvis triggered strong contraction in the patient. (20)

The following day, I was called on the telephone by the relatives’ who said the patient was actually dying, that she was hardly breathing at all and was unable to have a bowel movement. When I saw the patient, she really seemed to be dying. Her face was blue and sunken. She emitted rattling sounds and whispered, "This is the beginning of the end." I found her pulse to be rapid but forceful.

In the course of about fifteen minutes, I was able to establish a good rapport with the patient. I asked her whether she had had- at any time previous to her developing tumors- the feeling that she was going to die. Without any resistance she related that as a child she had often rolled her eyes up and played at "dying". The rattling and groaning sounds which she made now were also familiar to her from childhood. She used to make them when she felt a constriction in her throat; as she put it, "when something pulled together in her throat." Now, it became clear that the localization of one of the cancer metastases at the fifth cervical vertebra was due to the spasm of the musculature of the throat which had been present for decades. The sensation of constriction in the throat, the patient continued, went hand in hand with a pulling in the shoulders and the tension between the shoulder blades, that is, at exactly the region were later the cancer pains developed.

Now, that the patient talked with me wide awake and lively, I made her "play at dying". Within a few seconds, she succeeded in producing consciously the same picture by which she previously had been overcome involuntarily. She turned her eyes upward so that the lids were closed except for a narrow slit through which the white of the eyes were just visible, fixed her chest in inspiratory position and emitted groaning and rattling sounds.  It was not easy to bring her back out of this dying attitude; but the more frequently she assumes this attitude consciously, the easier it became for her to give it up again. This was entirely in accord with vegetetherapeutic experience: by practice, an autonomic function can be made objective and finally subject to conscious control.

Annotation:  Psychiatric orgon therapist often asks the patient to assume attitudes or features that the patient normally is unable to assume. For example, a psychiatric orgone therapist might ask a patient who has a rigid, stern and angry facial attitude to relax his face and assumes a softer or accepting and loving attitude. Although this feature might be unusual for the patient, by a voluntary practice the patient becomes capable of changing the vegetative involuntary features and becomes capable of expressing an attitude and often feeling the emotions that are attached to it which he was incapable of feeling before such treatment.

I asked the patient whether she thought that she was unconsciously committing suicide. She started to cry and said there was no point in going on living. Her illness had ruined her sexual attractiveness; she could never again be happy; and without happiness she did not want to live. I had the patient again elicit the gag reflex. Promptly the clonic trembling in the arms and the throat reappeared, though not as strongly as the day before. She even succeeded in sitting up by herself, but her legs failed her. I had the impression that upper part of her body was functioning while the lower part, from the hip down, failed to function.

For several days after this, the patient felt well and gay. One day however she suddenly relapsed into the dying attitude. I saw immediately that it was not playacting, but that she was overwhelmed by the biopathic reaction. Her respiration was shallow and labored, her nose pointed, her cheeks were sunken and her throat rattled heavily. I did not understand why this happened just at this point. She complained of violent pains and was completely unable to move. I succeeded again in restoring normal respiration. Again, intense clonic spasm occurred in the throat and torso, but the lower extremities remained "death." I had her again elicit the gag reflex. After this, the spasm became more intense.

I noticed that the pelvis tended to participate in the spasms but that she held back. The spasms lasted for about ten minutes and then subsided. While previously one had had the impression of suffocation, now the patient showed definite vagotonic reactions: The face was flushed, the skin over the body was no longer pale. The pains due to the diaphragmatic spasm subsided. After a while the patient began to talk. She was, as she said, afraid that "something was going to happened down there." She related that up to the time when she came to me for treatment, she had occasionally obtained sexual gratification by masturbation. This was a very belated correction of her earlier statement that she had been living in complete abstinence for over ten years. As early as the first week of orgone treatment, she had suppressed every impulse to masturbate because of fantasies of sexual intercourse with me. Since then, she had not dared to touch her genital. The inhibition of masturbation, together with the fantasy, led to a stasis of sexual excitation, which, furthermore intensified by the biological charge by the orgone. The intensification of her sexual needs increased her anxiety. Thus she developed the fantasy that she might break her spine. The straining of the shoulder muscles when she tried to pick up her stocking seemed to confirm this fear, as if she had said to herself, "See, I knew it was going to happen".

The day after she had told me about her masturbation fantasies, I found her in the best of moods, full of hope and without complains. The talk of the day before had made it possible for her, for the first time in months, to masturbate again. She had experienced a good deal of satisfaction. She was now able to control her diaphragmatic spasm very well. She was constipated, but felt the urge for defecation; only her fear of motion kept her from going to the bathroom. She moved much more easily in bed. She was even able to sit up all by herself, which amazed and pleased her a good deal. For the first time, she understood the chain of causes and events: fear of spinal fracture -> fear of pain -> inhibition of respiration by diaphragmatic block -> pain in the chest -> fear of spinal fracture. Now, however, the inhibition of motion by the fear of pain did not set in so ready. The fear did not appear until the motion required a good deal of effort. We now understood the connection between her fear of spinal fracture and her fear of "motion".

On the next day, I found the patient again with poor respiration, full of complains, and assuming the dying attitude. She could not say what had brought this about. The relatives told me that the day before she had felt very well until the evening. Then things had taken a turn for the worse after the following episode. Her boy was in the bathroom adjoining her room. She heard a noise and got terribly frightened. All of the sudden she had the idea that the boy was closed in in a very small space and was going to be smothered. During the night she slept poorly and had a number of severe anxiety dreams, some of them falling dreams. All I could do on this day was improve her breathing which reduced her complaints about the "pains."

During the next few day, the patient felt much better, being able to move without pain and to lift her legs. During a treatment hour, she happened to get near to the edge of the bed, whereupon she became pale stopped breathing, and cried out. She was afraid of falling out of bed. Her reaction was clearly exaggerated and did not correspond to any real danger. She related spontaneously that the summer before, at the hospital, she had asked to have an additional bed put at each side of her bed, because she was afraid of falling out of bed. I lifted her toward the edge of the bed, and although I held her firmly, she yelled with fear. The fear of falling which was at the basis of her fear of motion was now quite evident.

On the next day, she sat up in the bed. She had no pain, but developed violent anxiety, broke out into a sweat and hysterical crying. She said, she was going to die; that she had been fighting death for so long, but this was the end. She cried for her boy. She asked me for an injection which would make her die so that she did not have to suffer any longer. "I don’t want to get out of bed, I want to stay right here." After a while, she quitted down and found to her great surprise that she was able to sit up without any effort. But gradually she developed violent clonic spasms all over her body, particularly intense at the shoulders. She was extremely afraid of these spasms; that was the reason for her staying in bed. Whenever she was forced to sit up, she felt the spasms coming. She no longer had her fear of falling, but connection was clear. The violent clonic spasm of her musculature formed the physiological basis of her neurotic fear of falling. During the night, she had nightmares of falling into a great depth, of heavy things falling on her, of men attacking and threatening to choak her. Now, she remembered that she had suffered from exactly the same anxiety states for a long time in adolescence. She also remembered a phobia she used to have at that age. When she would walk onthe street and hear foot steps behind her, she would begin to run, for fear that "somebody was after her". This fear usually was so intense that her legs "failed her" and she always had the feeling that she was going to fall down. She recognized in this the very same bodily sensation which she experienced when she had to sit up in bed now. Then also, her legs would fail her and she became afraid of falling. With that, she would have the sensation of spasm of the diaphragm and would be "scared to death".

All these shows unequivocally that the motor paresis of the legs was caused by a phobia, a phobia which had dominated her as far back as puberty, long before she had developed cancer. The paresis which she now developed, was nothing but an intensification of this old motor weakness in the legs. This old fear of falling became associated with the idea of the spinal fracture and was thus thoroughly rationalized. The old phobia of falling was the real forerunner of her later paresis.

The day before, she had had to go the bathroom all the time. The movement of her intestines and bladder were "extraordinarily lively." The previous night she had been restless. In the late forenoon, she felt unable to urinate. She felt her legs were without sensation. On examination, I found a reduced sensitivity to pin pricks up to the 10th segment. The kneejerk, the Achilles reflex and the abdominal reflexes were normal. I had been told on the telephone that she was unable to move her legs. In reality, the motility of the legs was only reduced, but not absent. The deep sensitivity of the joints of the toes was reduced. It was the picture of a functional paresis. There were no definite symptoms either of a flaccid or spastic paralysis. The only point in support of the assumption that the lesion of the twelfth vertebra had something to do with it was the fact that the sensory disturbance in the upper abdomen had fairly sharp upper limit.

The next day, the patient was again able to urinate but three days later, she became unable to control her anal sphincter. The reflexes were normal but the patient’s fear of sitting up returned.

She was again taken to a hospital for a general check-up. X-Rays showed the spine, pelvis and legs free from metastasis, but there were new metastasis in the cranium and in the humerus. That is, the new tumors made their appearance far away from those regions which showed the paresis. Functional biopathy and carcinomatous growth had nothing to do with each other.

Annotation: In other words, Doctor Reich is stressing the fact that it was not the cancer lesion or tumors that was causing some of the symptoms that she experienced earlier; such as weakness in the legs and fear of falling, but it was a general biopathy of the organism, a contraction of the vegetative system, unrelated to the effect of the tumor that was causing the above symptoms.

The patient remained at the hospital for two weeks. No neurological examination was done. The paresis of the legs was considered a result of the vertebral lesions; none of the physicians discovered its functional nature. They told the relatives that the patient would live for two weeks at best.

As nothing was done for the patient at the hospital except that she was given morphine injection, the relatives took her back home. I saw her on the day of her return. She was very apprehensive about her motions and stressed the fact that the hospital physicians had warned her to be extremely cautious in her motions because "the spinal column was pressing on the nerve and it might break." This admonition on the part of physicians naturally confirmed and reinforced the patient’s phobia. The relatives wished me to undertake another experiment with orgone in order to eliminate the tumors of the cranium. On that day, I was not able to palpate any tumor at the cranium.

I observed the patient for another four weeks at her home. During this time, all reflexes at the legs were normal, the bowels and the bladder functioned normally again. However, the atrophy of the musculature and the bones progressed rapidly. She had developed putrid bed sore at the buttocks. The legs moved in reaction to painful stimuli, but showed few spontaneous impulses. She continued to have nightmares of men falling into an abyss, of an elephant charging at her and of being "as if paralyzed", unable to move. During the day, also, she felt anxiety in the eyes and in the chest. The pains had completely disappeared, but the fear of motion and the spinal fracture persisted.

We had a special orgone accumulator built for her bed. The effect of orgone showed itself in a reduction of the pulse rate from about 130 to between 80 to 90, in general feeling of well-being and the disappearance of the anxiety. The blood picture which in the past few months had taken a turn for the worse (50% hemoglobin, T-buddies, positive T cultures, about 50% T on autoclavation) also improved rapidly. The impulse in the legs increased in frequency and intensity.

Then there occurred a sudden and unforeseeable catastrophe which sealed the fate of the patient. One night, as she moved in the bed, she fractured her left femur.  She had to be taken to the hospital. The physicians were amazed at the thinness of the femur. They could not understand how the breast tumor could have disappeared. The patient was given morphine, declined during the following four weeks and finally died.

The orgone therapy had prolongs her life for about 10 months, had kept her free of cancer tumor and cancer pains for months and had restored the function of her blood system to normal. Interruption of the orgone treatment by the biopathic paralysis interdicts any conjecture as to a possible favorable outcome. What is certain is that in this case the real cause of death was the biopathic shrinking, and not the local tumors.

This case has given us important insights into the emotional and vegetative background of the cancer disease. Now, we are confronted by the important question as to what takes place in the blood and the tissues as a result of the biopathic shrinking; in other words, the question as to how the general shrinking of the autonomic system produces local tumors. I may anticipate: the general result of biopathic shrinking is purification in the blood and the tissue. The cancer tumor is only one of the symptoms of this process of purification. These finding requires extensive clinical and experimental substantiation; This will be given elsewhere.

Annotation: The purification of the tissues as a result of contraction of the vessels, poor oxygenation of the tissue, poor removal of the carbon dioxide, results in decomposition, especially the proteins with the production of foul-smelling compounds. This term applies especially to the decomposition of the organic matter.


Let us briefly review our observations. The "dying" of the patient in the biopathic attack did not in the least give the impression of hysteria or simulation. The autonomic system reacted in such fashion that actual death was by no means improbable. The sunken cheeks, the cyanotic color, the faint, rapid pulse, the spasm of the throat, the failure of motility and the general physical debility were dangerous realities.

I venture the statement that each of these attacks was the beginning of an actual cessation of the vital functions. It was possible, by dissolving the spasms and by breaking the diaphragmatic block again and again to interrupt the process of dying. Death was again and again counteracted by vagotonic expansion.

This cannot be matter of suggestion. Suggestion in the usual sense could not possibly penetrate into these depths of the biological apparatus. What was possible, however, was to elicit the biological impulses to expansion in various bodily systems and thus, month after month, to arrest the shrinking process again and again. In order to do this, a good rapport with the patient, as a part of vegetotherapeutic technique, was, of course, indispensable. Only in this aspect of the procedure might one be justified in speaking of suggestions.

Let us go back to our familiar diagram of psychosomatic functioning and try to find out at which place in the vital apparatus the biopathy (in contrast to a mechanical lesion), as well as vegetotherapeutic experiment, takes effect:

Every lasting energy stasis in the biological system (a) must of necessity manifested itself in somatic as well as psychic symptoms (b1 and b2). Psychotherapy attacks the psychic symptoms, chemico- physical therapy the somatic symptoms.

Vegetotherapy has as its starting point the fact that psyche as well as soma have, from a point of few of bio-energy, the same root in the pulsating plasma system (blood and autonomic system). Vegetotherapy thus influences not the psychological function itself, but the common basis of psychic as well as somatic function; it does this by eliminating the inhibition of biological functioning, such as respiratory block, the inhibition of the orgasm reflex, etc. Thus, vegetotherapy is neither psychic therapy nor a physiological- chemical one; it is biological therapy directed at the disturbance of pulsation in the vital apparatus.

Annotation: The body of knowledge of ogronomy which is discovered by Doctor Reich, in contrast to conventional medicine and biology which describes human structure by dividing and compartmentalizing the human structure to several separate parts, sees the human structure and different compartments of it united in core. In the book The Function of Orgasm, Dr. Reich explains the unity between the psyche and the soma and how these two are united in depth in the biosystem and has offered the above schema for the unity of the psyche and the soma. This schema and this comprehension of human structure is very useful for understanding the unity between the psyche and the soma and for the treatment of psychosomatic illnesses in general.  Therefore, while conventional medicine and psychiatry do not have any techniques to penetrate to the depth and core of human biological functioning, vegetotherapy by its theory and technique is able to penetrate to such depth and bring fundamental changes to both, the psyche and the soma.

Since these disturbances show their effects in all the more superficial layers of psychosomatic apparatus- for example, as hypertension and cardiac neurosis in the somatic, as phobia in the psychic realm- vegetotherapy, of necessity, reaches these symptoms in the superficial layers also. Vegetotherapy, thus, is the most advanced existing method for the influencing of biopathic disturbances. For the time being, its field is limited to the biopathies.

In the cancer biopathy, the vegetotherapeutic treatment of the disturbances of respiration and of the orgasm is supplemented by the orgone therapy which is directed at the anemia, the T- bacilli in the blood and the local tumors. As succeeding articles will show, we are fully aware of the enormous complexity of the problem as well as the largely experimental character of this cancer therapy.

According to the prevalent concepts they are only mechanical or chemical lesions of somatic apparatus on one hand and functional disturbances of the psychic apparatus on the other. Sex economic investigation of the cancer shrinking biopathy reveals a third, more deep-reaching disturbances: The disturbance of the plasma pulsation at the common biological basis of soma and psyche. What is fundamentally new here is the finding that the inhibition of the autonomic sexual function can produce a biopathaic shrinking of the autonomic nervous system. The question remains whether this etiology can be found in all forms of cancer.

There is a general misconception that the organism is divided into two independent parts: one is physico-chemical system, "soma," which is destroyed by such agents as a cancer; the other is the "psyche" which produces hysterical phenomena, so- called conversion symptoms, in the body, and which "wants" or "fears" this or that and has nothing to do with the cancer. This artificial splitting up of the organism is misleading. It is not true that psychic apparatus "makes use of somatic phenomena"; nor is it true that the somatic apparatus obeys only chemical and physical laws, but does neither "wish" nor "fear." In reality, the function of expansion and contraction in the autonomic plasma system represents the unity apparatus which makes the "soma" live or die. Our patient demonstrated the functional unity of psychic resignation and biopathic shrinking exceedingly well. In her, life began to function poorly; the function of expansion began to fail.

To express it psychologically: there was no impulse behind motion, action, decision, and struggle. The vital apparatus was, as it were, fixed in the reaction of anxiety; psychologically, this was represented in her fear that motion might result infracture somewhere in the body. Now, motion, action, pleasure, and expansion appeared to be "a danger to life". The characterological resignation preceded the shrinking of the vital apparatus.

The motility of the biological plasma system itself is damaged by biopathic shrinking. The fear of motion has its basis exactly in this vegetative shrinking. The plasma system shrinks, the organism losses its autonomic balance and the self-regulation of locomotion. Finally, a shrinking of the body substance sets in.

The inhibition of plasmic motility by the shrinking fully explains all aspects of the disease picture; it explains neurotic anxiety as well as functional paresis, the fear of falling as well as the muscular atrophy, the spasm as well as the biological disturbance which breaks through as "cancer" and finally ends in general cachexia.

For it was possible again and again to make the patient develop new living impulses by vegetotetherapeutically correcting her breathing. The diaphragmatic spasm is the central defense mechanism in the biopathic disturbance of the organism: The patient really breaths poorly; she really ventilates her tissues insufficiently; the plasmatic locomotor impulses are actually insufficient for the maintenance of coordinated movements; the fear of falling and of suffering damage has a real basis and is not "imaginary"; more than that the imagined catastrophe of falling has itself a real basis in the restriction of biological motility. The hysterical, functional character of the paresis thus gain the factual biopathological basis.

Annotation: In the conventional medicine and psychiatry when physician does not find any organic and physical finding reflecting reason for loosing balance, or generalized weakness, or pain etc. usually labels the symptom as psychosomatic, which basically reflects the fact that its all "is in your head" and there is no tangible reason for it. However, based on orgonomic understanding as Dr, Reich is explaining here, such psychological symptoms also have tangible reason, for the vegetative contraction and poor energetic pulsation does, in fact, create disturbance of coordination and balance and as well as muscular weakness and pain. Therefore, from orgonomic point of view, such fears by the patient have a real and tangible reasons.

Thereis a difference only in degree between hysterical paralysis and paralysis as a result of biopathic shrinking.

In medicine, functional paralysis is usually looked at, with some irony; the concept is still prevalent that functional paralysis is more or less "simulated." I would like to state that functional disturbance of motility is much more serious and farreaching then are paralysis which results from mechanical lesion. In the case of mechanical lesion, the biological functioning of the total organism is not affected. A functional paralysis, on the other hand, is expression of the total biological disturbance. In this case, the function of plasmatic impulse formation in the biological core of the organism is itself disturb and may result in more or less extensive loss of tissue (muscular atrophy, anemia cachexia, etc.). To say that the mechanical lesion cannot be influenced by suggestion, while the functional disturbance is amenable to suggestion, means nothing. For the "suggestion" which may bring about an improvement in the functional paralysis is in reality nothing but a pleasurable stimulus for the biological system and thus, causes it to reach out for new life possibilities and to function again.

The basic disturbance in functioning of the body plasm, represented by chronic sexual stasis, character rigidity and resignation and by chronic sympatheticotonia, is to be take much more seriously than mechanical lesions. The mechanistic and purely materialistic concept of medicine of today have to be partly replaced and partly overcome by functional concept. This functional concept made it possible to make a breach in the wall which hitherto has made the cancer problem in- accessible. Succeeding articles will show to what extent this functional concept is generally applicable. We shall next, turn our attention to the local changes in blood and tissue which are caused by the biopathic shrinking.

Annotation: This article is concluded here on February 10, 1942. There are succeeding articles that is published in 1943, 1944, and 1945 in the international journal of sex economy and orgone research which is published by William Reich Infant Trust and is available.


  1. Simonian, S.
    a. From Libido to Orgone –
    August 29, 2020
    b. Transcription of speech given on November 17, 2018 , Evolution of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy from Psychoanalysis and its Medical Psychiatric and Social Consequences.
    c. From Freud’s Psychoanalysis to Organe Therapy June 29, 2018.
  2. Reich, W.: The Function of Orgasm, New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux 1961, Page 294.
  3. Reich, W.: The Cancer Biopathy, New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux 1973. Page 151.
  4. Reich, W.: The Carcinomatous Shrinking Biopathy, International Journal of Sex Economy and Orgone Research, 1942, Vol:1, page 131.
  5. Reich, W.: The Cancer Biopathy. New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux 1973. Page:152.
  6. Cf. W. Reich "Der Urgegensatz des vegetativen Lebens" 1934.
  7. Zamitine, N. 1961. Electrophysiological Analysis of Excitation Conduction Through a Solar Plexus. Journal of Physiology of USSR.
  8. Reich, W.: The Cancer Biopathy. New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Page 31
  9. Vecchiatti, A.: Reich Test for Early Cancer Diagnosis. Journal of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy. February 28, 2021
  10. Cf, e.g.,, Biochemische Zeitsehr, Bd. 317.
  11. Cf, "Bion Experiments on the Cancer Problem."1939
  12. Farr, A.D.: Some Problems in the History of Hemoglobinometry (1978-1931). Journal of Medical History 1978, 22: 151-160.
  13. Reich, W.: The Cancer Biopathy. New York, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux 1973. Page 170
  14. Vecchiatti, A.  Biography.
  15. Reich, W.: The Cancer Biopathy. New York, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.  Page 11.
  16. Hinchey, K.: Orgon energy: Theoretical and Practical Implications. The Journal of Psychiatric Orgone Therapy. December 7, 2015.
  17. Campania Felix Group.: Orgon Blanket as a Complimentary Support in Treatment of an Atropic -Cancer Biopathy. October 2018. The journal of psychiatric orgone therapy.
  18. Bibliography on Clinical Observations on Physical Orgone Therapy in Human. Attached
    (This bibliography contains only print-media English-language citations, and does not include other works which are available only online or in other languages.)
    • Anderson, W. (1950) Orgone Therapy in Rheumatic Fever, Orgone Energy Bulletin, 2: 71-73.*
    • Baumann, S. (1986) My Experience with the Orgone Accumulator, Energy and Character, 17(1): 65-68
    • Bremer, K. (1953) Medical Effects of Orgone Energy, Orgone Energy Bulletin, 5: 71-84.*
    • Brenner, M. (1991) Orgonotic Devices in the Treatment of Infectious Conditions, Pulse of the Planet, 3: 49-53.
    • Cott, A. (1951) Orgonomic Treatment of Ichthyosis, Orgone Energy Bulletin, 3: 163-166.*
    • Foglia, A. (2004) Medical Orgone Therapy and the Medical DOR-buster in the Treatment of Grave’s Disease, Journal of Orgonomy, 38: 84-92.
    • Hoppe, W. (1945) My First Experiences with the Orgone Accumulator, International Journal of Sex-Economy and Orgone Research, 4: 200-201.*
    • Hoppe, W. (1949) My Experiences with the Orgone Accumulator, Orgone Energy Bulletin, 1: 12-22.*
    • Hoppe, W. (1950) Further Experiences with the Orgone Accumulator, Orgone Energy Bulletin, 2: 16-21.*
    • Hoppe, W. (1955) Orgone Versus Radium Therapy of Skin Cancer: Report of a Case, Orgonomic Medicine, 1: 133-138.
    • Hoppe, W. (1973) The Treatment of a Malignant Melanoma with Orgone Energy, Energy and Character, 4(3): 46-50.
    • Lassek, H. (1991) Orgone Accumulator Therapy of Severely Diseased People, Pulse of the Planet, 3: 39-47.
    • Levine, E. (1951) Treatment of a Hypertensive Biopathy with the Orgone Accumulator, Orgone Energy Bulletin, 3: 25-34.*
    • Moise, R. (2009) Household Use of the Orgone Energy Accumulator, Energy and Character, 37: 19-25.
    • Opfermann-Fuckert, D. (1989) Reports on Treatments with Orgone Energy, Annals of the Institute for Orgonomic Science, 6: 33-52.
    • Reich, E. (1979) I Was the Strange Doctor, International Journal of Life Energy, 1: 32-42.
    • Reich, W. (1942) The Carcinomatous Shrinking Biopathy, International Journal of Sex-Economy and Orgone Research, 1: 131-155.**
    • Reich, W. (1943) Experimental Orgone Therapy of the Cancer Biopathy (1937-1943), International Journal of Sex-Economy and Orgone Research, 2: 1-92.**
    • Reich, W. (1945) Anorgonia in the Carcinomatous Shrinking Biopathy, International Journal of Sex-Economy and Orgone Research, 4: 1-33.**
    • Reich, W. and Reich, E. (1955) Early Diagnosis of Cancer of the Uterus (Ca V) (Case No. 13), C.OR.E (Cosmic Orgone Engineering), 7: 47-53.*
    • Senf, B. (1979) Wilhelm Reich: Discoverer of Acupuncture Energy?, American Journal of Acupuncture, 7: 109-118.
    • Silvert, M. (1952) On the Medical Use of Orgone Energy, Orgone Energy Bulletin, 4: 51-54.*
    • Sobey, V. (1955) Treatment of Pulmonary Tuberculosis with Orgone Energy, Orgonomic Medicine, 1: 121-132.
    • Sobey, V. (1956) A Case of Rheumatoid Arthritis Treated with Orgone Energy, Orgonomic Medicine, 2: 64-69.
    • Tropp, S. (1949) The Treatment of a Mediastinal Malignancy with the Orgone Accumulator, Orgone Energy Bulletin, 1: 100-109.*
    • Tropp, S. (1950) Orgone Therapy of an Early Breast Cancer, Orgone Energy Bulletin, 2: 131-138.*
    • Tropp, S. (1951) Limited Surgery in Orgonomic Cancer Therapy, Orgone Energy Bulletin, 3: 81-89.*
    • Wevrick, N. (1951) Physical Orgone Therapy of Diabetes, Orgone Energy Bulletin, 3: 110-112.*
  19. Anesty, Erica.: Breast Feeding and Breast Cancer Reduction. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. September 1, 2017. volume 53 issue 3.
  20. Reich, W.: Process of Integration in New Born and Schizophrenic. Journal of Orgonomic Functionalism. Volume 6, 1968, Page 7.
    Reich, W.: Orgone Therapy: Critical Issues in Therapeutic Process, Special Characteristics and Dangers of the End Phase. 1949, Recorded Lectures by William Reich infant trust.

Posted in Biopathies & Physical Orgone Therapy0 Comments

Kleptomania, a Case Discussion

Kleptomania, a Case Discussion

In 2007 a middle age woman came to see me.  She told me that she was feeling very tense, never could relax, she said she never felt happy.  She was feeling as if her head was exploding.  The bright point of her life was her young daughter.  She was well educated, nice and kind and compassionate towards her.  She was proud of her daughter and said that she was very supportive and appreciative of her.

She was an immigrant and came to the United States at age 18 years old.  Among other things she told me she said when she arrived to the United States, she was greeted by her brother and was living with her brother and brother’s wife.  She did not feel welcomed there by her sister in-law.  Her sister in-law was unhappy by her presence at their home and by different ways implied that she wished her to leave.  Under that circumstance she was introduced to a man by a relative.  She said that by the coaxing and encouragement of her relatives and pressure by different family members in spite of her reluctance and doubts she married him. Her marriage was significantly influenced by her desire to leave her brother’s home as soon as she could.  She described her marriage as an unhappy one and stated that her husband was unpredictable and was demanding, harsh, rude and insulting toward her and toward her parents and relatives.  She was feeling sad and angry with him and guilty because she could not make her parents happy as she wished to.  She felt helpless, alone and could not invite them to their home and make them proud of her.  She said she stayed in this marriage for the sake of her daughter.  She said that in front of her relatives and friends she often had to find excuses to justify her husband’s behavior.  Later on husband had a nervous breakdown and was unable to work.  This was another burden for her.  She now not only was trying to find an excuse to justify her husband’s behavior but also had to try to make up stories to pretend as if her husband was working to avoid relatives gossip.  She did not want to subject herself to the gossip of family and friends.  She herself, however, continued her school and progressed and found a job and eventually became an office manager and was earning a good salary.  She was supporting the home both financially and in other aspects of house affairs.

After giving this information to me, she then with some hesitation and trepidation said that she in order to relieve her tension and anxiety, leaves her home and goes shopping.  She said shopping gave her some relief.  Later in the session I found out that she had episodes of shoplifting as well and she felt deeply embarrassed and ashamed of this behavior.  She said that she picks up things that she often does not need.  Later on I found out that because of these habits she also had been arrested several times.  She was ordered by the Court to seek psychological treatment.  She also had attended certain classes and programs, recommended by the Court for this behavior.  She said that she was given fines and ordered to perform community service as punishment in lieu of detention and was ordered psychiatric treatment in the past for which she sought treatment and received suggestions and medications.  She had followed all these therapeutic suggestions but now she was again in trouble. I found out that now she again was under prosecution for shop lifting for the fourth time.  She was dreading the prospect of imprisonment but the possibility of imprisonment was high because of previous similar offenses.  She was a respectful woman, an office manager with a responsible job supervising many financial transactions and was respected in her community and in her church.  When she saw me in the first session, she already had an attorney.  In subsequent sessions I learned that she changed her attorney and eventually found an attorney and later on found another attorney and she was hoping that with consultation and retaining two attorneys she would have better chances to avoid imprisonment.  She was referred by the attorneys to see a psychologist who was familiar with court proceedings and necessary reports in such matters.  She paid a heavy price to her lawyers and psychologist for reports.

Her mental status examination during the initial visit was unremarkable for any thought disorder.  She was a middle aged woman properly and neatly dressed, age appropriately groomed and initially came across friendly and pleasant.  As the interview progressed she started to show some anxiety and had episodes of crying spells.  She wanted to know why in spite of her awareness of wrongness of stealing and legal consequences of it she was still unable to resist her impulse and had to face the embarrassment and dangers of such a behavior.

Before discussing the treatment and outcome of it in this particular patient, let us review some of the contemporary definitions, concepts and descriptions of this condition, which is called kleptomania.

Kleptomania in the diagnostic and statistical manual of psychiatry DSM IV is defined under the category of impulse control disorder.  Under the diagnostic features, the DSM IV defines kleptomania as follows:

“The essential feature of kleptomania is the recurrent failure to resist impulses to steal items even though the items are not needed for personal use or for the monitory value.  The individual experiences rising subjective sense of tension before the act and feels pleasure gratification or relief in committing the act.  The stealing is not committed to express anger or vengeance, is not done in response to a delusion or hallucination and is not better accounted for by conduct disorder, manic episode, or antisocial personality disorder.  The objects are stolen despite the fact that they are typically of little value to the individual who could have afforded to pay for them and often gives them away or discards them.  Occasionally the individual may hold the stolen objects or surreptitiously return them.  Although individuals with this disorder will generally avoid stealing when immediate arrest is probable, they usually do not preplan the act or fully take into account the chance of apprehension.  The stealing is done without assistance from or collaboration with others.  The individuals with kleptomania experience the impulse to steal as egodystonic and are aware that the act is wrong and senseless.  The person frequently fears apprehension and often feels depressed or guilty about the theft.  The disorder may cause legal, family, career and personal difficulties.  The kleptomania appears to be much more common in females.”

In the psychiatric text book 8th edition of Kaplan and Sandok, kleptomania is defined and described as; “The essential feature of kleptomania is a recurrent failure to resist impulses to steal objects not needed for personal use or for monitory value.  The objects taken are often given away and returned surreptitiously or kept hidden.  People with kleptomania usually have the money to pay for the objects they impulsively steal.  Like other impulse control disorders, kleptomania is characterized by mounting tension before the act, followed by gratification and easing of tension with or without guilt, remorse, or depression during the act.  The stealing is not planned and does not involve others.  Although the thefts do not occur when immediate arrest is probable, people with kleptomania do not always consider their chances of being apprehended, even though repeated arrest leads to pain and humiliation.  Those people may feel guilt and anxiety after the theft, but they do not feel anger or vengeance.  Furthermore, when the object stolen is the goal, the diagnosis is not kleptomania, in kleptomania the act of stealing is itself the goal.”

In psychiatry text books, the etiology of kleptomania, like many other psychiatric illnesses is described in a vague manner.  In the textbook of psychiatry it states:  “The symptoms of kleptomania tends to appear in times of significant stress, for example losses, separation and ending of important relationships.  Some psychoanalytic writers have stressed the expression of aggressive impulses in kleptomania, others have discerned libidinal aspects.  Those who focus on symbolism see meaning in the act itself, the objects stolen and the victim of the theft.  Kleptomania is often associated with other disturbances, such as mood disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and eating disorder.  It is frequently associated with bulimia nervosa, in some reports nearly 1/4 of patients with bulimia nervosa met the diagnostic criteria of kleptomania.”  Under the biological factors, the book states that brain disease and mental retardation have been associated with kleptomania, as they have with other disorders of impulse control.  Focal neurological aspects, cortical atrophy and enlarged lateral vesicles have been found in some patients.  Disturbances in monamine metabolism, particularly of seratonin have been postulated.

As one can see there is no meaningful description of the etiology of this illness in the textbooks of psychiatry and this is not only specific for kleptomania but many other psychiatric disorders.  This disorder is attributed to a wide variety of postulations.  However, this is not the case in Orgonomy and Reichian approach – We will discuss theories and treatment approach in Orgonomy later – for now I will return to describing the client who was suffering from kleptomania and inconsistencies in contemporary psychiatric theories.

The description of kleptomania in the DSM IV, as well as its description in psychiatric text books as the reader may recognize is vague.  In the DSM IV as well as in text books of psychiatry kleptomania is described as a recurrent failure to resist the impulse to steal items, even though the items are not needed for personal use or for monetary value.  The text book definition and description of it is also similar.  However, neither DSM IV nor psychiatric text books describe the origin of the impulse.  The text books and DSM IV descriptions do not say where and why this impulse appears in a person.  Science and scientific thinking dictates that every impulse must have an origin and must have energy attached to it.  Neither of these characteristics of an impulse has been dealt with in contemporary medicine, psychiatry or psychology.  The impulse is vaguely defined without description of its characteristics, qualities and its origin.  This shortcoming is not limited to the description of impulses in kleptomania, but it exists in all other psychiatric illnesses as well. Medicine, psychiatry and psychology have avoided dealing with energetic aspects of such impulses and source of its emergence.  From our point of view that is the reason why the pathologic process, the development of these illnesses are poorly understood and treatment of psychiatric illnesses has been hindered.  A recent article in the March 1st issue of New Yorker Magazine titled, “Head Case” by Lewis Menand pointed to disappointing results in psychiatric treatments, is an example of this hinderance.  A similar article titled, “The Assault on Freud” was also published in Time magazine November 29th, 1993 regarding disappointing results in psychoanalysis.  On the contrary, Orgonomy deals head on with the matters of impulse and energy.  Orgonomy considers these impulses, i.e.: impulse to steal as a secondary impulse or drive, the distortions of primary healthy impulses which is distorted because of armoring of the organism.  The theory which has been developed in Orgonomy is based on the experimental work of Dr. Reich and also based on clinical observations and treatment trials, which proves itself applicable in clinical work.  Our theoretical approach to these impulses is that the impulses originate from the core of the organism, which we regard to be autonomic ganglions in the center of the organism and propagates toward the periphery in a pulsetory manner.  As a consequence of persistent outer and environmental inhibitions against expression of natural primary impulses, sexual and aggressive impulses, mechanism of armoring sets in, which permanently prevents expressions of anger, rage, and sexual emotions.  The original healthy impulses then split and get distorted and manifest themselves with different neurotic and anti-social manifestations.  Schematically in Orgonomy this process is explained as the following schema (courtesy of the Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust):

Our treatment approach is based on these schemas.  Ideally the clinician who is conducting the treatment, will need to acquire the knowledge experience and skills of psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy as well as psychiatric orgone therapy. In restoring the orderly flow of the energy in the organism, to loosening up and removing the armoring and establishing the organismic capacity to express primary and undistorted drives, the clinician finds himself working as an electrical engineer restoring the proper energy flow in the human organism.  The ideal psychiatric orgone therapy treatment is considered complete when the armoring is resolved and orderly flow of energy is restored in the body.  In such a case patients become capable of expressing primary unadulterated and undistorted impulses as he or she wishes to.  Parallel with it, the patient develops sexual potency, potency to love and have genital embrace, be affectionate and in the final stages of treatment develop full orgastic potency.  The patients who achieve such a level of health as Dr. Reich has described, attains qualities of Jesus Christ, incapable of lying and incapable of harming.

However, achieving such a level of health is not always possible.  In fact psychiatrists and clinicians conducting psychiatric orgone therapy rarely are able to resolve the armor of a patient which is heavily ingrained throughout their lives to achieve full orgastic potency.  We often have to content ourselves with resolution of armor to a certain extent.  By some resolution of armoring, the patient senses relief and some normality is brought to their lives.

The treatment of this patient started and progressed based on principles of psychiatric orgone therapy, with recognition that stealing impulse was a distortion of patient’s ability to express her primary impulse of anger, rage and sexual drives.  The treatment of this patient lasted one year with an average of one session every week.  In this vignette I do not intend to explain step by step the treatment process, which has been described in this journal by Dr. Reich with annotation and in other Orgonomy literature by Dr. Reich as well as by Dr. Herskowitz.  I only will mention some cardinal points and developments that happened during this treatment process.

I began the treatment of this patient from the most superficial and conspicuous feature of the patient, her facial expression as is customary in psychiatric orgone therapy.  Her excessive politeness and apologetic and pleasant appearance was the surface manifestation.  This was a feature that had been with her since childhood, she all her life was trying to please others, trying to avoid any confrontation, but at the same time this apologetic and agreeable mask was the mask that was hiding her anger, rage and sadness.  As treatment progressed the patient recognized this attitude, events in her life that caused this attitude were expressed by the patient.  She recognized her fear of expressing anger, which started from the relation with her own parents and later on with her brother’s wife and then with her husband.  She gained insight on her inability to express anger.  By the techniques specific to psychiatric orgone therapy her excessive pleasantness, politeness and appeasing attitude was uncovered from her facial expression.  She became able to express her anger and frustration toward different people including her husband that she all along was fearful of.  Attaining this ability and insight surprisingly translated itself to actions in her life and at her home.  She became capable of speaking up against her husband, she even threatened her husband to throw him out and divorce him and to her own surprise, the husband complied and suddenly changed his attitude.  She gained power that she all along longed for.  She also dared to talk about the oppressive environment that she grew up in since her teenage years.  By her ability to express her anger and speaking up against her husband a significant change happened in her life.  She became more relaxed and more expressive.  During this time with the help of her attorneys she completed her legal obligations properly and became free of legal threats.  She also lost the impulse to steal or commit other transgressions, such as frequent traffic violations that she used to do.  Several months later she was invited by her relatives to return to her country of origin.  She accepted the invitation and went to visit her relative.  For a while she kept contact with me and as of the last I knew about her, her condition was stable and she did not have impulses to steal.  She, while in treatment, told me with horror that she was assigned to attend programs and saw many people who were attendees of those programs for numerous times without improvement, becoming revolving doors in institutions.

This is one example of thousands, who suffer from such illnesses but because of a poor understanding of the illness by present day psychiatry and psychology, they remain poorly treated, constantly struggling with their impulse, which continues to seek reappearance and ruins their potential to live, work and love.  Dr. Herskowitz, in a speech he gave in commemoration of the 50th year of Dr. Wilhelm Reich’s death in Rangely Maine said: “I lived long enough to know that life is too short to be wasted with sickness.”

As described earlier we consider the psychiatric orgone therapy complete when armoring is widely resolved and the patient develops orgastic potency.  In the case, which was described, although some resolution of armoring took place, but because of the patient’s departure to her country of origin and interruption of the treatment process , armoring was not adequately resolved.  In such cases there is always the danger of reemergence of unhealthy and pathologic impulses as a consequence of redevelopment of the armor.  Therefore, we cannot in confidence claim a successful completion of treatment in this case.  Nevertheless, considering the educational value and theoretical discussion of it, its presentation was judged to be worthy.

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Freud’s Unconscious & Wilhelm Reich

Freud’s Unconscious & Wilhelm Reich

In 1952, an interview took place between Kurt R. Eissler M.D. (a psychoanalyst himself) representing Sigmund Freud’s archives, and Wilhelm Reich. The interview took place over the course of two days at the Organon in Rangely, Maine, on October 18th and 19th, 1952. Later, its full, transcribed text was published as the book Reich Speaks of Freud. The conversation began with the following question:
Dr. Eissler: Dr. Reich, the question I want to ask you is a very simple one. It is a very comprehensive question, but it is a simple one. I would like to know everything you know about Freud, everything you observed and everything you thought. Even if it is not based on a correct observation, the mere fact that you thought it about Freud would be so important for us to know.
Dr. Reich: That is quite a big order. I know a lot about Freud. I would like to start with a basic theoretical difference in the approach of psychoanalysis and my work, not to propagate my work, but to explain how I saw Freud.
The questions and answers continue in the book.  Reich’s answers are concise and condensed; the information in each paragraph can be elaborated and expanded over many pages. In one point, Reich said the following; “Freud was the Moses who never reached the promised land. His unconscious was only an idea, it’s not real. It was never real. You know where it becomes real?”
Dr. Eissler:  No.
Dr. Reich: In the twitchings which we get out of the organism in our work.   Do you know anything about that? You don’t?  The unconscious comes out in orgone therapy, in actions of the protoplasm. He didn’t reach that. I think he was a very eager physician, he wanted to cure people, but it didn’t work. It just didn’t work.  So you see, there were many reasons for Freud’s resignation.
For a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, psychologist, a physician practicing a different specialty, or even for a lay person with an interested in psychology but not altogether familiar with Reich and his theories, these statements may look strange. How can the unconscious show itself in the twitching of muscles? The most submerged and most unknown component of mind elides in tendons? Any clinician who is unfamiliar with this concept would be baffled by this proposition. He might even take this statement as a sign of disturbed thinking. Sitting in on this interview, its entirely likely he would have thought Reich had gone off the deep end.
If a clinician shows patience and humility while struggling to comprehend Reich’s theories, however, a door will open up to him and a field that he was never aware of will become evident to him.  It will expand his vision and his knowledge. Such expansion will be extremely helpful to himself or herself, as well as to the broadest knowledge base of their profession. In the following pages, it is our goal to elaborate and make this concept accessible to the reader.
One of Freud’s major contributions to modern medicine was his emphasis on the power of the unconscious mind. So much of mental life is unconscious, he contended, extending far beyond the realm of awareness. Freud recognized that the treatment of neurotic symptoms would be made possible by rendering the unconscious meaning of the symptom conscious, lifting it into tangible detail, giving it form in words; informing it. And although the technique of making unconscious conscious was initially based on hypnosis, Freud later discovered the technique of free association. He persuaded his patients to speak freely and to bring up anything that came to their mind no matter how irrelevant it might initially seem. In practice, one idea inevitably was bringing up another idea, like the links of a chain connected to a great, unseen anchor. The chain of association eventually led to the unconscious meaning of the symptom. Freud contended that through the practice of unearthing the unconscious meaning of the symptom, the patient improved.  Later on, however, Freud himself realized that by unearthing the unconscious meaning of symptoms, the symptoms themselves would not always improve. Hence, Freud changed his intentional statement “the symptoms should improve” to the more doubtful“the symptoms may improve.”
As a pioneering physician, Freud had high hopes for his discovery of the unconscious and its effect in the treatment of neurosis. On an audio recording that exists in his museum in Vienna, Freud states that through his efforts he found that the unconscious mind opens the door in curing neurosis, and that he hoped that his discovery would serve curing patients who suffer from neurosis.  However, 70 years later the psychoanalysis that once promised a cure for neurosis has faded away.  In 1993, even Time magazine published an article with the shopworn headline “Is Freud Dead?”
In the November 29th, 1993 Time Magazine, there was an article titled, “Is Freud Dead”? By the end of the article, the author concludes that “psychoanalysis and all of it’s off shoots, may in final analysis, turn out to be no more reliable than countless other pseudosciences that once offered unsubstantiated answers or false solace.”
Reich viewed Freud’s discovery as a kernel of an idea that needed to be advanced. In The Function of the Orgasm, he writes the following.
Objectively seen, it was not a matter of competing with Freud, or of establishing a profession, but of advancing an enormous discovery.  At issue was more than the elaboration of known material; essentially, it was matter of discovering the biological basis of the libido theory through experimentation.  It was necessary to bear responsibility for a piece of the momentous knowledge which presented a direct challenge to a world of superficiality and formalism. It was necessary to be able to stand alone- which did not exactly foster popularity. It is clear today to many people working in this new psychological branch of medicine that character analytic theory of structure is the legitimate continuation of the theory of unconscious psychic life.
Returning to the earlier question of why do some patients improve after unconscious meaning of the symptoms is discovered and others do not: In the pursuit of finding an answer to this puzzle, Reich describes a patient that was referred to him by Freud. The patient was suffering with sexual impotence. He said that in the third year of psychoanalysis, he arrived at perfect reconstruction of the “primal scene”.
He was about 2 years old when it occurred.  His mother gave birth to a child.  From the adjacent room, he had been able to observe every detail of the delivery.  The impression of a large bloody hole between her legs became firmly ingrained in his mind.  On a conscious level, there remained only a sensation of an emptiness in his own genitals….  According to psychoanalytic knowledge of that time, I merely connected his inability to have an erection with the severely traumatic impression of the ‘castrated female genital.’  This was no doubt correct. However it wasn’t until a few years ago, that I began to pay special attention to, and to understand the feeling of emptiness in the genitals in my patients. It corresponded to the withdrawal of biological energy….  At that time, I incorrectly assessed the total personality of my patient.  He was a very quite, well mannered and well behaved, and did everything that was asked of him. He never got excited. In the course of three years of treatment, he never became angry or exercised criticism. Thus according to the prevailing concept, he was a fully integrated, adjusted character, with only one acute symptom, ‘Mono-symptomatic neurosis’.   I delivered a report on this case to the seminar on technique and was praised for the correct elucidation of the traumatic primal scene.  Theoretically, I had given complete explanation of the symptoms, the patient’s inability to have an erection.  Since the patient was industrious and orderly, adjusted to reality, as we used to say, it did not occur to any of us that it was precisely this emotional tranquility, this unshakable equanimity which formed the pathological characterological basis on which erective impotence could be maintained. The other analysts considered the analytic work that I had performed, complete and correct. For my part I left the meeting unsatisfied.  If everything was indeed just as it should be, why was there no change in the patient’s impotence. There must be something missing someplace, but none of us knew where. I terminated the analysis several months later- the patient had not been cured.  The imperturbability with which he bore it was as stoical as imperturbability with which he had accepted everything throughout the entire treatment. This patient impressed upon me the important character analytic concept of “affect block.” I had hit upon the far-reaching connection between the present day formation of the human character and emotional coldness and genital deadness.
In the example above, Reich describes a case in which the neurotic symptom did not improve even though its unconscious roots had been discovered and recognized by the patient.  He also states that for the first time he discovered the significance of pathologic character structure, in this case, the patient’s unemotional, cold and passive character was actually the basis of the illness. The neurotic symptom was manifesting itself upon this pathologic basis. The symptom remained unchanged because it was only a spike manifesting itself on the base of the character pathology.
Using treatment based on orgonomic theories and techniques, based on Reich’s own documented treatments, we give utmost importance to patient’s character, demeanor, movements, tone of their voice, and other manifestations of the character. We consider the voice inflection, how the patient says things, rather than “what he says.” Words can lie, but underlying attitude and character never lies.
The patient’s characterological appearance inevitably also reflects in his physical and somatic state. It appears in his voice and in his muscular flaccidity, or rigidity, and other physical characteristics. Dr. Reich, in The Function of the Orgasm, describes a case that elucidates the resolution of muscular and physical armor, which is counterpart of character armor.
In Copenhagen in 1933, I treated a man who offered considerable resistance to uncovering of his passive homosexual fantasies. This resistance was overtly expressed in the extremely stiff attitude of his throat and neck, (“stiff necked”).  A concentrated attack on his defense finally caused him to yield, though in an alarming way.  For three days, he was shaken by acute manifestation of vegetative shock.  The pallor of his face changed rapidly from white to yellow to blue. His skin was spotted and motley.  He experienced violent pains in the neck and back of the head.  His heartbeat was rapid and pounding. He had diarrhea, felt tired, and seemed to have lost control. I was uneasy. True, I had often seen similar symptoms, but never in such violent form. Something had happened here that, while somehow a legitimate part of the work, was not immediately intelligible. Affects had broken through somatically after the patient had relinquished his attitude of psychic defense. Apparently, the stiff neck, which emphasized austere masculinity, had bound vegetative energies which now broke loose in an uncontrolled and chaotic manner. A person with an ordered sexual economy is not capable of such a reaction. Only continuous inhibition and damming-up of biological energy can produce it. (The biological energy and sexual energy are of the same nature and merit.)  The musculature had served the function of inhibition. When the neck muscles relaxed, powerful impulses, as if unleashed from a taut coil, broke through.  The alternating pallor and flushing of the face could be nothing other than the flowing back and forth of body fluids, i.e., the contraction and dilation of the blood vessels. This fits in extremely well with my earlier described views on the functioning of biological energy[…] Sexual life energy can be bound by chronic muscular tension, anger and anxiety can also be blocked by muscular tension […]
Character armoring was now seen to be functionally identical with muscular hypertonia.  The concept of “Functional identity,” which I had to introduce, means nothing more than that muscular attitudes and character attitudes have the same function in the psychic mechanism: they can replace one another and can be influence by one another. Basically they cannot be separated. They are identical in their function […]
The loosening of the rigid muscular attitudes produced peculiar body sensations in the patients: involuntary trembling and twitching of the muscles, sensations of cold and hot, itching, the feeling of pins and needles, prickling sensations, the feeling of having the jitters, and somatic perceptions of anxiety, anger and pleasure.
In “The Orgasm Reflex and a Case History,” which has been considered previously with more detail in our journal, Reich writes that, “It is not that under certain circumstances, a memory brings about an affect, but that the concentration of vegetative excitation and its breakthrough, reproduces its remembrance.”
In other words, the release of affect that is contained by physical and somatic contractions reproduces the memories that once were connected and attached to it. Reich expanded that idea:
Freud continually stressed that in analysis, the analyst was dealing solely with derivatives of unconscious, that the unconscious was not really tangible.  This contention was correct, but not absolute, it pertained to the methods used at that time, by which the unconscious could be inferred only through derivatives, and could not be grasped in its actual form.  Today, we succeed in comprehending the unconscious not in its derivative, but in its reality, by directly attacking the binding of vegetative energy.
The interested reader who has followed this article up to now should grasp the depth of Reich’s short statement during his interview with Dr. Eissler when he acknowledged the importance of Freud’s discoveries, but used them as a guide to elucidate the actual, literally informed position of the unconcscious. “You know where it becomes real?” Reich asked. “In the twitching which we get out of the organism in our work.”

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