This blog is part of a series; its original title was Heilkunst Basics : University, 3rd Year (Armoring of the Thoracic Segment)
The thoracic (or chest) segment is a big crossroads in our system, where many of the processes of our upper self meet and mingle with those of our nether self. In Anthroposophical terms, this is the home of our rhythmic system, which is the mediator between our nerve-sense and metabolic-limb systems. If you think of the top listed causes of death, you’ll see that both the heart and lungs seem to take the brunt of life’s stressors, and can be the first to go.
When looking at the thoracic segment from a more strictly orgonomic perspective, it is important to note up front that one of the primary mechanisms in armoring is what Reich called the “chronic inspiratory attitude”. The chest, and more specifically, the lungs are the seat of this defunct breathing pattern which many people don’t even notice that they fall into continually.
Some other physical indicators of an armored chest segment can include a posture of hunching over, as if in protection of the vulnerable heart and emotions. Conversely, there can be the opposite form of defense, which is a compensated posture showing over-confidence. More severe breathing difficulties, such as asthma-like conditions are also included here. The patient, themselves, may report a feeling or sensation of heaviness in their heart, or it may be observed by their general attitude in life. Any suppressed sobbing is stored in this segment. (Whereas suppressed tears are more related to the ocular segment, for example, and the root of sinus headaches).
The thoracic cavity is also directly connected with the arms, and with all of the emotional actions they take, such as reaching out (as in the feeling of ‘longing’), or the opposite gesture of punching in anger.
The modalities of treatment will vary with the needs in the moment of the patient, and may include : punching a pillow or punching bag; reaching out towards an imagined object or person of desire; breathing exercises, working towards a full and deep respiration; the homeopathic remedy aurum to release the feeling of heaviness in the heart; pressing on the patient’s chest to help them fully exhale while breathing.