Body Stress Release was developed by South Africans, Gail and Ewald Meggersee in the early 1980s, in response to Ewald’s own crippling adversity. After falling from a tree at the age of five, he experienced continuous lower back pain and shooting pains in his legs. His school days were unbearable and because of intense pain he couldn’t sit still at a desk and was shouted at for fidgeting. He would often collapse from a deep ache in his knees if asked to stand for any period of time.
At 15, he was told his pain and severe cramps were psychosomatic because no-one could find any physical cause for his problems. Ewald qualified as an industrial chemist and met and married Gail, a teacher. His pain did not ease. He would scream out in his sleep and leap out of bed in the grip of intense cramps in his calf muscles.
On occasions he would wake up without feeling any sensation from the waist down and would be forced to roll out of bed onto the floor, pulling himself up via the wardrobe for support while waiting for the sensation to return to his legs. Ewald’s nightmare became a regular occurrence. He feared going to sleep at night, not knowing if he was going to wake up permanently paralysed. It became so bad that he faced losing his job and spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
Over the years Ewald had received temporary relief from regular chiropractic adjustments, but the pain would always return. He and Gail felt they had nothing to lose by going to America to train as chiropractors. They hoped to discover something that had been missed and find a way to identify the source of Ewald’s pain and reverse his worsening condition.
During their studies in America, they met a retired chiropractor, Dr Richard van Rumpt, who had researched an approach completely different to chiropractic manipulation. He talked about listening to the body and using it as a bio-feedback mechanism. When the Meggersees returned to South Africa they built on his method of reading the body’s responses to tests.
They began working together on clients and this enabled them to discover how the body automatically reacts to stress in a highly organised way. The stored stress occurs as lines of tension in specific directions. They also discovered how the sites of body stress are interconnected. This research led to the creation of the technique which they named Body Stress Release.