BODY STRESS RELEASE (BSR) is a gentle, precise and effective technique that assists the body to heal itself naturally by releasing tensions stored in the physical structures, thereby restoring it to maximum efficiency.

Body Stress occurs when the body fails to adapt to an overload of stress and tension becomes stored in physical structures.

The causes may be mechanical, mental/emotional or chemical factors.

Body Stress Release assists the body in its in-built ability to maintain and heal itself.  It is a gentle procedure, in which areas of body stress are located, using the body as a biofeedback monitor.  Light, precise stimulation encourages the body to release stored tensions, which usually manifest as backache, headaches, postural distortions or fatigue. Releasing is rapid, but if stress has been stored for a long time, more releases may be required over a period of time.

Body Stress Release is for everyone, from infants to the elderly, whether sick or healthy.

As we are all subjected to the stresses of living, we all tend to accumulate stored tension, with the resultant decline in the body's efficiency. Even babies may have body stress after a difficult birth. Therefore, everyone's quality of life may be enhanced, by being assessed for body stress and having it released from time to time.



We are constantly subjected to various forms of stress in our daily lives.  A certain amount is necessary, to provide as with challenges and to stimulate us to strive for survival and progress. For example, a mind that is not challenged by problems to be solved becomes bored and stagnates; to maintain and strengthen muscles, they must be provided with the mechanical stress of exercise.

The body is designed to be self-healing.  It has mechanisms that constantly monitor every function that is taking place, and is continuously adapting to both external influences and stresses, and to internal changes and stresses.

Health may be defined as: the body's ability to constructively deal with all the stresses to which it is subjected.  In this way it is constantly repairing itself, and maintaining its optimum level of efficient functioning.

Certain stress factors will cause a temporary reduction of the body's efficiency, or health, e.g. a strained muscle will be stiff and painful for a few days, then it will return to its normal condition.

The body is capable of healing wounds and fractures, counteracting harmful chemicals, adapting to sudden changes in temperature, etc. 



Stress becomes a negative, destructive factor in life when it goes beyond the individual's ability to adapt to it.  When the point of stress overload is reached, instead of the stress being released from the body, it becomes stored within the body as "body stress".  As we differ in our emotional and physical makeup, we have varying degrees of susceptibility to stress overload.



Emotional / Mental Stress Factors

These include fear of the future, financial worries, competition in the work-place, disintegrating family relationships.  At times we experience sudden violent emotions, such as anger or shock, or we undergo milder but ongoing forms of mental strain, e.g. anxiety, depression and resentment.

We may become aware of the physical effect of emotional pressures, as the diaphragm, jaw, neck and shoulders tighten in a defensive posture, to armour us against the onslaught of life's stresses.

Mechanical Stress Factors

The body is designed to withstand a certain amount of physical force - bumps, jerks and falls, but if the mechanical stress goes beyond the body's limit of adaptability, the effects may become stored as body stress.

The causes may be sudden and violent, such as a car accident, a severe fall, or lifting a heavy object incorrectly.  Or there may be a gradual accumulation of milder mechanical stress, e.g. habitually sitting incorrectly, or doing inappropriate exercises.

Chemical Stress Factors

The sources of chemical stress include pollutants in the air, insecticides and certain food additives and preservatives.  Harmful chemicals may be consumed, inhaled, or even absorbed when contacting the skin.



When the point of stress overload is reached, the stress becomes "locked" into the body and manifests as lines of tension.

The body adopts a protective mode of action by means of automatic reflexes, causing adjacent and overlying muscles to splint the area.

It appears that this action has a dampening effect on the nervous system, thereby causing the brain's filtering mechanism to ignore the areas of body stress.

The above may result in:

  • stiffness, ultimately leading to postural distortion

  • loss of flexibility
  • pain
  • numbness
  • muscle cramps/spasm
  • pins & needles
  • fatigue
  • lack of energy and enthusiasm for life
  • headaches
  • backache
  • heartburn & indigestion
  • a sense of having less than 100% well-being

While the stress or tension remains stored in the body, the normal tone of the body is disturbed, causing a reduction in its general efficiency.  As its defence mechanisms become weakened, the body becomes less and less able to deal with further stresses to which it is subjected daily.  In this way the individual moves increasingly further away from the optimum state of health.



We all need to take responsibility for our own health, by striving to reduce the negative stresses to which we are subjected.

To minimise chemical stress:

  • follow a balanced and varied diet. Eat foods in forms as close as possible to their original state, and choose those containing the fewest additives

  • avoid contact with harmful substances, being careful not to inhale sprays, or allow them to contact our skin.

We can reduce mechanical stress by:

  • improving our posture

  • sitting, bending and lifting correctly

  • avoiding potentially harmful exercises. Obviously it is helpful to pursue moderate and sensible forms of exercise to strengthen muscles.

As for the emotional/mental stress:

  • learn to consciously relax when you feel yourself becoming tense

  • seek out whatever activities and techniques help to approach emotional balance and inner peace



 BODY STRESS RELEASE was developed in South Africa by Gail and Ewald Meggersee and has been researched and practiced since 1981.

The Association controls the mode of practice for practitioners and is governed by its constitution, a legal document by which all practitioners are bound. This ensures that a professional level of practice is maintained and provides a code of ethics and disciplinary powers.

Ewald Meggersee's experience

Fear of becoming totally paralysed while still in his 30s led Ewald Meggersee, together with his wife Gail, to pioneer the body-wellness system known as BODY STRESS RELEASE (BSR).

"I had the distorted posture of a 120 year-old and would frequently wake up paralysed from the waist down," says Ewald. "And all my life - from the age of five, when I fell out of a tree and lay unconscious for a week - no one had been able to find the source of the continuous shooting pains and cramping I suffered in my lower back and legs."

 His school days were a nightmare; 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 - so Cadets was always a problem. Gym teachers 'forced him to touch his toes' until he collapsed in agony. When he was 15, he was told his pain and severe cramping were psychosomatic, because no one could find any physical cause for it.

Ewald qualified as an industrial chemist, and met and married Gail, a teacher. His body pain didn't let up. "Sometimes," says Gail, "Ewald would scream out in his sleep and leap out of bed in the grip of intense cramping in his calf muscles.

Our blackest moment came the day he woke up feeling no sensation from the waist down. I watched in horror as he rolled out of bed onto the floor, pulling himself up via the wardrobe for support while he waited for sensation to return to his legs."

The nightmare became a regular occurrence for Ewald.  "You can imagine my fear of going to sleep at night when I didn't know if I was going to wake up permanently paralysed," he says.  "Eventually it got so bad that I faced losing my job and spending the rest of my life in a wheelchair. We felt we had nothing to lose, so we decided to pack up everything and both train as chiropractors in America."

Over the years, Ewald had received temporary relief from regular chiropractic treatments, but the pain would always return. Now they hoped to discover something which perhaps others had missed and find a way to identify the source of Ewald's pain and reverse his worsening condition.

"During our studies in America we had the good fortune to meet Dr Richard van Rumpt, a retired chiropractor who had researched an approach completely different to chiropractic manipulation," says Ewald.  "He talked about listening to the body and using it as a biofeedback mechanism that would be self-healing.

When we returned to South Africa, we built on his method of reading the body's feedback response to areas of muscle stress and contraction.  The technique became known as Body Stress Release.

What we discovered is that the body protects itself from stress in a highly organised way. Although it can normally adapt to the various stresses and strains of everyday life - falls, jerks, heavy lifting, bad posture - if the stress gets too severe, the body suffers overload and locks the stress into itself in lines of tension and contraction.

This tension - or body stress - leads to pain, numbness or stiffness. it also interferes with the body's self-healing defence mechanism.  The body is less and less able to cope with or adapt to added stress, and begins to deteriorate further.

This is why a person with long-term body stress may also feel tense, tired, and lacking in energy and enthusiasm for life.  Headaches, backache and indigestion may follow.  In some cases, a person suffering stress overload no longer feels stiff or sore - but just comes to accept as normal a sense of having less than 100% well-being."

Thousands of South Africans beat a path to the Meggersee's door as word spread when they started their BSR practice in Cape Town in the 1980s. Many of their clients, like Ewald himself, had tried other traditional avenues of medical and chiropractic treatment - without success.

But now the couple had found a gentle, almost miraculous way of enhancing the body's own healing powers by releasing long-held stress locked in the muscle system.  They knew it worked because their prime guinea pig, Ewald himself, had gone from being a near cripple to regaining his strength and the pain-free body he now describes as being as fit as a teenager's.

Ewald reports that his body continues to improve. "'For the first time in my life I can feel the sensation of socks and shoes on my feet and have improved movement in my ankles," he says.  Ironically, the BSR system which the Meggersee's pioneered differs radically from its chiropractic roots.  Ewald says that most of their students come from fields unrelated to medicine - alternative or traditional.  "BSR differs from chiropractic in that it uses information provided by the body itself to determine where abnormal muscle tension is under-mining the efficiency of the nervous system and disturbing its ability to co-ordinate its functioning."