Saturday, November 17, 2007

Nice Article on Reich, for a change...

http://www.indiaprwire.com/businessnews/20071115/25526.htm

Controversial orgasm theorist regaining scientific favour
Half a century after he died in ignominy in a US prison, physician-scientist Wilhelm Reich - best known for his claim of a cosmic life force associated with sexual orgasm - is on his way to being rehabilitated by the scientific community.
Half a century after he died in ignominy in a US prison, physician-scientist Wilhelm Reich - best known for his claim of a cosmic life force associated with sexual orgasm - is on his way to being rehabilitated by the scientific community.
On the 50th anniversary of his death, the Jewish Museum in Vienna, Austria, is holding a major retrospective of his life and works beginning Thursday.
'It is very meaningful to me that the museum in Vienna is honouring him,' Reich's granddaughter Renata Reich Moise, a midwife and painter based in Maine in the US, told IANS on e-mail. She is in Vienna to attend the inauguration.
The American Psychoanalytic Association (APA) describes Reich, who studied under Sigmund Freud, 'one of the most brilliant, creative and controversial of the pioneering analysts'. He was the first to focus on character analysis rather than neurotic symptoms.
Today, a small number of scientists are working to advance the psychoanalyst's work on what he called 'orgone energy'.
Reich even invented a device he called an orgone energy accumulator. He believed it could charge the body with essential life energy, heightening vitality and helping to heal disease, including cancer.
'It is a matter of truth in my life that it (orgone energy) functions,' said Reich Moise.
'I use various types (small and large accumulators) on a nearly daily basis. I have no need to try to convince anyone, I just know that any burn heals immediately and using the blanket style (accumulator) for several minutes each day gives me great energy, happiness and clarity of mind, even when I have been up all night delivering babies.'
Reich linked a healthy sex life to emotional wellness, believing that failure to discharge sexual energy resulted in neurotic disorders. His work influenced Fritz Perls' popular gestalt therapy and Arthur Janov's primal therapy.
Reich developed a theory in the 1930s that the ability to feel sexual love depended on a physical ability to make love with what he called 'orgastic potency'.
He attempted to measure the male orgasm, noting that four distinct phases occurred physiologically: first, the psychosexual build-up or tension; second, the tumescence of the penis, with an accompanying 'charge', which Reich measured electrically; third, an 'electrical discharge' at the moment of orgasm; and fourth, the relaxation of the penis.
Reich believed the force that he measured was a distinct type of energy present in all life forms and later called it orgone.
The US Food and Drug Administration outlawed the orgone energy accumulator and put Reich in prison for violating an injunction and that is where he died Nov 3, 1957.
The Countway Library at Harvard University has opened its archives of Reich's unpublished papers. This is significant because 50 years ago the US government burned tonnes of his books and other publications and destroyed his equipment.
According to the APA, his work on orgone therapy led to his downfall.
'His work is complex and must be studied in its entirety. I don't believe those who simply say that he is a quack have actually experienced the emotional body therapy or have made an accumulator and tried it, or have read much of his work,' retorts Reich Moise.
Today, a few researchers and medical practitioners are putting Reich's theory into practice.
Connie Huthsteiner of Philadelphia and Ronald F. Maio of University of Michigan are involved in a clinical trial on burns in hospital emergency rooms. Alberto Foglia of Lugano-Paradiso in Switzerland and Stefan Muschenich of Munster in Germany are using the orgone accumulator in medical practice. And there are many more.
Reich Moise however feels that it will still take 'many, many years' for the doctor's work to be accepted by the mainstream scientific community. 'But individual people can learn and this is how it will spread,' she points out.
(Soumya Sarkar can be contacted at soumya.sarkar@ians.in)
- By Soumya Sarkar

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