Can massages bring up emotions?

As the massage therapist works on the muscles and penetrates deep into the soft tissues, oxygen and nutrients pass through the cells, expelling toxins and detoxifying those areas. This can unlock the emotional energy trapped in the fabric, causing you to feel an intense rush of emotions. It is well known in the world of craniosacral therapy that emotions trapped in body tissues can cause pain and other ailments. I discovered this several decades ago when I was a professor and clinical researcher at Michigan State University (MSU), but the concept is much older than that.

For centuries, the peoples of Asia, the Middle East, the Baltic regions and numerous island nations have recognized the symptoms of trapped emotions and have practiced various forms of liberation. When you get a massage, your muscles and tissues are emotionally released in the same way that they release physical tension. This letting out comes in many forms: an audible sigh, a laugh, muscle spasms, or even tears. In the safe and welcoming space of a therapy room, people can lower their defenses, making these types of emotional releases common.

On the massage table, the sympathetic response can be presented in many ways. The client's breathing rate may increase enough to make the session uncomfortable. Your body may contract with a lot of muscle spasms. There are some therapists who specifically perform body work to intentionally tap into the deep emotions of their clients.

And therapists who aren't trained in this technique can also recognize when there's emotional tension and leave space for that person to express that vulnerability for a moment and then help them return to the present moment. It's good to talk about it if you want to, and it's certainly a healthy way to process an event that may not have been fully addressed. And no, it doesn't mean you're crazy. It's just your incredible mind and body working in unison to allow a buried emotion to surface, possibly helping you close an event from your past.

Just about every massage therapist, and probably every myofascial release therapist, has experienced it. When working with a client, you find an area that feels. Then, the client has an emotional release. They may start crying, laughing, screaming.

Emotional release can bring back memories, memories, or visions that they forgot to have had or that they had never experienced before. Well, just as a fragrance can evoke a memory, the right set of bodily sensations can also bring back memories. The potential for somatoemotional release during massage to treat trauma is very likely in patients with trauma. Some massage therapists learn to work specifically with body memory to intentionally create emotional releases.

Replacement massage session equal in value and duration to the original massage session; tip not included. While studying to become a corrective masseuse, I was fascinated by the change in another student's reaction to touch. It was surprising, to say the least, and I felt that I should try to breathe calmly with it to bring it back to its balance, a technique that proved to be effective. Since that day at school, I've only found emotional release in my career a handful of times, but if you've ever gotten emotional on the massage table, know that you're not alone.

When considering massage to treat trauma, examples of battle veterans or crime survivors may come to mind. As a massage therapist learns more about how trauma is processed in the mind and expressed through the body, the nuances of the topic will demand greater awareness and sensitivity. A final note about trauma massage is that massage therapists seek additional resources to learn more about the effects and manifestations of trauma. And to understand how this happens, we must learn that, in fact, soft tissues have memories, which can cause the mind to remember events from the past, such as involuntary flashes.

They may burst into tears, curl up in a fetal position, curse, shiver, laugh uncontrollably, or even hit the massage table. Massage therapists are used to these emotional expressions from their clients and have been trained to help you feel safe and supported when you feel overwhelmed by these events. Because massage therapists have experience working with traumatized clients, it's important to apply self-care and self-care techniques at the end of the day. The mental demand and energy needed to maintain balance can be exhausting for a massage therapist working with this population.


Mark Szymonik
Mark Szymonik

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