Interview on Vegetative Training with Inge-Jarl Clausen

To listen to the full audio interview click here.

- Inge, you do Vegetotherapy?

Yes but I don’t call it Vegetotherapy, I call it Vegetative Training.

- You told me once Wilhelm Reich developed this technique. Can you give me a short glimpse of the history of what you are doing?

Yes, let us say you have ‘school medicine’. It has a biomedical model as a theoretical foundation of medicine. This foundation there has been for hundreds of years. 

In the time of Reich, they were questioning the biomedical model of medicine in the 1920’s and 30’s because the biomedical model eliminates experiences. It eliminates your life biography. 

- How does that come?

It has how it has been since Descartes. They want to make us all the same. If you all have the same physiology, then ‘one pill’ works for everybody. 

That already in the 20’s, especially in Vienna, believed that this idea cannot be true. Everybody knows that experiences influence us. So then Wilhelm Reich, he believed that experiences influence our body, our physiology. He believed that emotion is adaptive physiology is the vegetative system: that the experiences of life are stored in the body. That experience from life already from childhood characterises our biology so we never become the one we should have been because of things that happened to us.

Childhood is recognised from child psychology as hardcore. It is going from small catastrophe to the next. And these experiences are then stored in the biology, in the body and traditional medicine does not take that into consideration. Our biography is being eliminated in the analysis. It is forgotten.

But Reich did not believe this so he went another way looking at how different kinds of relational experiences will influence the child. How loss of attachment in childhood will create anxiety, aggression, etc. 

And this again will tell me through your instinctive body language, your history. Your history is here now today and to those who can read it, it is an open book.

- So VGT gives you the possibility to read a person’s history through his body language?

Yes, we have learnt to systematise the instinctive body language. And that is everything from voice, skin, eyes, mimic, postures, body fat distribution, the movement when you are breathing. Everything. We have systematise.

This is the difference from medicine and clinical psychology. In clinical psychology we look for what’s your problem and what we are looking for is what is difficult for you. This means: how can we recover you? It is about recovery.

What is difficult for you. I am not talking about your problems. I am looking for what is difficult for you. And this is shown in the body, in the total communication between us… instinctively.

- You read the body language, the mimic. Do you have a certain expressions that lead to certain experiences?

We divide in four big psychological traumas in childhood. It goes back to four fundaments:

  1. forced eating

  2. violence and psychological abuse

  3. sexual abuse

  4. closed inside a dark room

And of course sometimes it is different but in these situations you see the child is helpless. And it is because the child is helpless, it can try to activate all its power to survive… but it does not help, so it gives up.

In the old times of Reich and Freud, they said the origin of neurosis came down to sexuality but in Norway in the 50’s we took that idea away and brought it to the conditions where the child is helpless and cannot defend itself. Even when it tries with all it has, it does not help. In all those four character types you see you are helpless. This is the origin of neurosis, of later problems.

This can lead to all kinds of auto-immune diseases. The whole organism reacts to this and creates inside contradictions. I can see in the way I see a person how they are moving, the way they are breathing that the free dynamic is not there.

- This is what is missing in modern medicine?

No, what is missing. What has been found out overwhelmingly in many branches of sciences, like neuroscience, is something called epi-genetics. It is how the genes open and build us. How we become the one we are.

From the gene to the body, that is ‘epi’. And what they found out is that this process in how it programs, good programming or bad programming, is relational experiences. Everything comes back to these four things we talked about.

- So epi-genetics goes back to these experiences?

It is about that the feelings the child is having are right. About this we can talk hours. But in science this process from the gene to body is experience-conditioned. It is called ‘experience-conditioned epi-genetic mechanism.’

What they have found out now is that the whole theoretical foundation of medicine has fallen. It is like this: ‘if the human was a sailboat, they say sea and weather does not influence the boat.’ And then comes the problem. Medicine has divided into organ-specification, or organ-specific medicine: it means they have divided the body into eye doctor, ear doctor,… That is how the hospitals are built.

But from the research of epi-genetics they know that this is wrong. We can not do it like this anymore because if I do something with one organ it will compensate and create problems in some other place. So they do not see the dynamic of the whole organism, it is lost.

First they have disregarded the most important factor that influences our life: experiences.
Second, they have made us all the same. We are all the same physiology.
And so third, every human organism, it does not matter who it is reacts different to the each stimulus. Two identical twins will react differently to the same stimuli. And this no discussion that it is like this, this is agreed. 

What is making the difference between the organism? Experienced-conditioned mechanisms.

- So how does the medical model works: if everyone is reacting different to the same medicine? Wow. 

Same with food. Some nutritionists around the world are saying “forget what you eat. You should eat intuitively what you like.” What is more important is to have a good experience eating. It is a hundred times more important because this is when the ‘programming’ is good. So if you feel good, whatever you eat is good.

If you look in the whole history of the human organism, you can eat everything. It does not matter. What you like intuitively is the right thing. 

In this idea of intuitive eating, we can have childhood experiences, we can have disorders in the eating movement of the child. There can be problems with it. 

- But, so if I trust my intuition but am already disturbed experiences, then…

Yeah, then you don’t make the right choices and are avoiding the right thing. 

But let us go back to Wilhelm Reich and the method he founded. 

Reich was looking at newborn babies and the very small child and how they were breathing and how they were moving. And then you could see there is a free movement, something we call spontaneous, biological determined movement - “spontane biologische bewegungen.” 

And this contact is always imperfect or lacking in people and in my tradition this is what characterises the person: the lacking contact with biological determined movement. In everybody.

- But newborns have it?

Yes but they lose it as the pain comes. 

- And Reich based his method on this discovery?

Yeah and then he could see that the body moves: expands, closes, the pelvis moves. This movement is the self-regulation of the organism. 

So this can make the traumas that have already manifested in our body go away then?

- The basic of this therapy is “motorische storung”.

If you have a pattern in your body that is closing down, the only way to open it again is to introduce a disturbance in this neurophysiological pattern. And then by moving, I create motorische storing and take away the old disturbance. And then the new is coming.

- So this method is a “motorische storung” that helps get rid of these contradictions? Now I got it. 

Yes, and then Wilhelm Reich came to Norway in 1936 with the method. He is the founder of body-oriented psychotherapy. Let us say there are two directions: the character therapy - talking, talking - and then there is the other method which is self-regulating, experience-oriented. Where we don’t talk much, don’t touch.

What Reich did, was he looked at the armour and would tap with the hands to create motorische storung. But we from my tradition, we believe it is going to last, you have to create the disturbance yourself.

- You just guide your patients?

Yes to get the same effect but then it lasts and goes much deeper. And then we do not have to talk.

And this is the problem because with touching you never know how the person will react. The body can also see touching as alarm and when there is alarm self-regulation and self-healing stops. That is why physiotherapy can be dangerous. 

Massage for example we have stopped with the guys I worked with in pro-cycling and they never get sick.

Massage on a cold, tired body leads to fever - as a self-healing. Because there is so much disturbance that after a while the body cooks out and gets sick to take it away. 

If I have a problem in the lower back, and a classic example is Tiger Woods. 

If sickness is experience, then what kind of a problem can be pain in the lower back? If you think in an experience-oriented way? When you get angry, what do you do? You tighten up and tense the lower back, and when you do not release it - when you suppress aggression - it stays in the lower back. It is suppressed aggression, this pain in the lower back. 

So what happens when I use physio on this pattern? Nothing happens. It just gets worse. Look at Frank Ribery. They started treating him and he could not walk anymore. Then he went to France to this famous doctor who said “3 months, do nothing. Let the self-regulation fix yourself.” With my tradition we know we can treat this condition in one or two days with motorische strorung, movements that open up these aggressive patterns by itself and then it will heal by itself.

What happened with Tiger Woods? He had this separation with his wife, got hunted by the journalists. Just imagine he must have gotten pissed, he could not express it, then he had pain in the back. And when you have pain in the back, it is hard to swing the golf… 

- Your school, with your method without touching you guide the people into…?

We guide the people into ECOSORS. There are emotions and many of these emotions are connected to traumas that you have suppressed. You cannot remember them because it was too much. With a method called Emotional, Cognitive, Somatic Reconstruction (ECOSORS) we can go directly back to the traumas. Then you find out what you did to yourself at that time. Then the pictures start coming, the same feeling. If you are hit or bitten, the blue marks come back. If you were bleeding, the bleeding can start again. That is what we see all the time. And then I guide you through this traumatic thing to re-establish the consequences, what happened exactly and then to remove that structure with movement. 

- And these are the hard cases?

Everybody has it. Like I said in the beginning: to be a child is hardcore. You all have it. 

- And it goes that far? That even wounds can open up again?

Yes. We see drops of blood coming out, blue marks arising, skin changing colour. All the trauma in the body is flushing up because it was never released properly.

- So you are leading the people back to when the trauma happened? 

Yes we go back to let’s say limitation in the possible organism, back to where there are limitations and let you clean out where there are limitations - transform them. Because you see, there is a lot of energy going to this and it has been sucking energy for maybe 20, 30 years. And then we take this 30 year old energy and set it free - and you will fly like you don’t remember.

- Actually you are saying we have so much more potential inside of us which is blocked by trauma?

Yeah, I don’t like the word blocked. We have compensated our life around the trauma. 

- We made trauma the middle point of our life? We build our life around this trauma?

We made some decision to change ourselves around this. We don’t have the full power anymore. Nobody has it. This missing contact with our biological determined movement is why we get… You remember I worked with Seamus Coleman. He was a nobody and suddenly he was a star: most valuable defender,… And this is possible for almost any athlete. If they are in good shape, and they are most of them. 

- You are specialised in working with athletes? Because as you just said, you can make them use their whole potential. But it is not only for athletes? It is for everybody?

Yes and I want to talk a bit about how important this method is for kids because to be a kid is, we call it… emotional disturbance. That is what it means to be a kid. The parents, the school teachers, all the time… This emotional disturbance is saturated in their body and makes their life difficult. 

With the method - you know how we did this and how it was with your kid - to take away the emotional of the day, and deeper for years before. But in the daily use, and they don’t have to move you know. Just lie down in the position and it starts. The body starts self-regulating. Just let them do some spontaneous movements, because they are breathing normally. And then from this spontaneous movement, we exaggerate it a little bit, let them move their shoulders a little bit and then it starts by itself. The shit goes away.

This method can have huge impact on one of the biggest problems of our society for the future which is that more than 50% of the people will be nearsighted. And this is because they are looking too much at these smartphones. The kids are getting bigger eyes. And with the method we can take that disturbance away so your kid will never get nearsighted. Fifteen minutes every second or third day.

For kids this is so important. This transformation to grown-up is so hardcore for some kids in the puberty.

A lot can be done with this method with kids because we don’t have to talk to tell them what to do. We just tell them to lie in the position, close the eyes and let the body fix itself. 

It’s so important for a child from age 5 or younger. It can be a life-changer, only 20 minutes. Only 20 minutes for a child can be a life-changer and make them calmer, more focused. 

Because the method is improving all functions of the organism: your seeing, your hearing, your taste,… everything. It is like a universal key to human performance.

- And so starting as a kid would be so much more useful because…?

The armour is not so strong and you can even use it on the kids when they are sleeping. You can put the legs in the position and the method starts itself. 

If the kids have problems sleeping, you can lay them in the position with arms open like Jesus and they are gone.

The point is… you see with a newborn child the hip is up here and then it goes away. And when it goes away it takes weight away from the pelvic so the pelvic cannot be free. 

That is what is about and that is why the Zen people never can get totally enlightened because they are sitting in the same position but they are putting weight on the pelvic so they never can get… because to be totally enlightened is to be without fear. And this will not happen in this position. But if they just took the same position and went ninety degrees back then it will happen.

- You are working with athletes mainly… why are they coming?

Many of them are coming because of long-term injury. Usually footballers it is in the legs. With cycling it is in the knees, ankles, hips, the shoulders. 

Because the professional sportsmen are often a victim of sports medicine they never get rid of the injury. They are disturbing the self-regulation. Every treatment they do is attacking. It creates a kind of pattern on the injury that needs to be opened again, so they get a new injury.

- Especially in sports this method is much appreciated because in sports they do not want to understand so much how it works they just want to see that it works? For them they experienced it works, so they trust you. So why is it so hard to prove how it works? 

It is no problem. I know how it works.

- But why won’t they understand?

If you come from this other science with experiences out of the theory and the organ-specific thinking when I am telling you what I do it is not possible in their world. It is outside the reality of today’s medicine. It is totally science-fiction for them because we can heal any sport injury in a short time. We can heal a broken arm three times faster. 

You know the wound in your leg, you know…

- It was unbelievable.

It is unbelievable for the medical teams and these teams are not like the coaches which they change. The medical team is there for years. It’s a big power structure. When I come in and they see everything they do is the opposite of healing they will not hire me again.

- Dr. Gerhard Zallinger was the first who understood it? 

He was curious about it because we were talking about adaptive physiology. With him I was talking about how the organism works and what we can do. It’s another type of thinking because we fix central in the organism first. Every injury has its imprint centrally. So we fix the central problem and then we go peripherally. This I explained to him. 

And we have long experience with stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. Now the sports scientists have heard about it, that it is important. 

Now he’s build a new life and new business around it. He is working with a team in Austria now and he is fully booked because he has results nobody has seen. 

- One question I am interested in: are there people you could not heal or could not help? Or are there conditions where you say…

Of course, the process of self-healing capacity is always there even in the most destroyed. But sometimes the most destroyed can have gone so far that it is too late. Different kinds of heavy cancer,… when it has gone too far, there is not enough of energy left to re-build.

- Can trauma go so far that there is no way back?

The breakdown. When there is energy stasis in the body, one solution is usually it goes into the immune system and the body attacks itself. For example MS, all these terrible diseases.

- I just wrote a story about MS and there are so many factors in this disease that I cannot explain. So why for example it is only in the northern hemisphere and not in the southern hemisphere? Why it affects so many young people now? 

Well… because the sympathetic nervous system is too much in use. You have three systems in the body: the immune system, the organs and the sympathicus/parasymphaticus. 

And we are living in a world of sympathicus: stress, stress, stress, stress, stress,… If you don’t release it from the sympathicus, where does it go? It goes straight in the immune system and then it fucks up cytokines, and then come things like MS. All these diseases. 

I had a doctor, a Russian doctor. He suddenly lost his mother, his wife, his father and he started getting blind. The eyes started regenerating. After four weeks he could see again. Experiences…

Medicine does not understand this because they see each separate thing down to the end of microscope and they go down down down and in the end they find the epi-genetic opening of the genes. And they suddenly understand that how it opens is based one experiences and emotions. So why the fuck have we used billions to find out this? And then it’s experience that does this, there is no pill that can do anything.

- Do you see from your experience that this paradigm might change? 

It is already in the science world it is already changed. The scientific proof is there, but still 99,9 percent of medicine in the world is based on that paradigm where people are hurt and tens of thousands are killed with wrong treatments. 

- Do you have a feeling this method will be taken seriously?

It is one thing to have talked about it, but it is only when you have experienced it that it starts to get to you. You have to experience it. Because it’s so powerful, it cannot be explained. 

- I remember myself I was so skeptical. Do you remember? Yes it’s the experience.

What I can say is the spontaneous biological movements which characterises the athlete, we can improve them. It does not matter if you want to get stronger, faster. You want to better coordinated. Everything will come.

It is possible to have more lung capacity. To be faster, for table tennis.

They are so many tools which can be used to improve certain characteristics of the organism. This is the secret.

- Finally, in the end you do nothing but free the potential everybody has inside himself - which is blocked?

Yes, we improve the general function of your organism and make it younger.

Let’s say that ageing has also to do with experiences. 

Sometimes you can have a shock and you get gray hair the next day. So with the method we can your hair black again, I’ve seen this happen. Make you much younger. 

As a specialist, there are so many tools I can use to accelerate the process - it’s like being a mechanic in Formula One. But the general movement the people can learn themselves so they get independent of me. They don’t need me. They can do it themselves. And when they come with me it’s like surgery and we go deeper when they do not have any world championship or anything.

- So the basics you can do alone and when you have a session you go more specific?

Then I go more specific on what is your development characteristic. What is difficult for you in the movement. You cannot see it so good in the beginning yourself but I can point so you know where it is, then you can work on it. That is what it’s about: to make the athlete independent of everybody except himself. So the athlete can be his own boss and take charge of his own training and diet. Take information of Guardiola, whatever it is but decide “ok this I can use, this I can use,…” 

Don’t be dependent on anybody in the choices you take. It is a total difference from the German training philosophy where they build you a program and then you have to do it. In Norway it’s opposite: we discuss what you can do and you choose what you think is right for you.

You make the athletes independent.