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When Massage Makes You Cry

Have you ever heard of someone crying during massage or bodywork? Its something we learn about during massage school, so that if it does happen, we aren’t taken by surprise.

Have you ever heard of someone laughing during massage? Because that happens too!

These are examples of emotional releases. When we access the emotions that the body has stored, sometimes they are able to come to the surface and bubble up.

Emotional releases are often unexpected. They seem to happen to the people who have no idea that its even a thing. They cannot be forced. I’m not even sure they can be intended.

The intention we CAN set however, is to sink deep into our body and find these emotions where they are stored.

When I took my Coaching Course, there was a big focus on trauma.

The Oxford Dictionary defines trauma as:

“1. A deeply distressing or disturbing experience.”


“2. Physical Injury.”

Though most people would expect a massage therapist to focus mostly on the second definition, I am much more intrigued by the first.

The deeply distressing, disturbing experiences in our lives create BIG blocks in our energy systems. They rewire our nervous system and integrate themselves into how we experience everyday life, even in the moments when trauma is not happening.

Returning to the discussion surrounding emotions being stuck in the body, we cannot ignore the strong emotions associated with trauma.

“We have learned that trauma is not just an event that took place sometime in the past; it is also the imprint left by that experience on mind, brain, and body. This imprint has ongoing consequences for how the human organism manages to survive in the present. Trauma results in a fundamental reorganization of the way mind and brain manage perceptions. It changes not only how we think and what we think about, but also our very capacity to think.” – Bessel Van Der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score

In the above passage, Dr. Van Der Kolk mentions mind, brain, and body. There are counselors and therapists out there to help you with the mind and brain part. But who helps you with the body piece?

Through calm, slow, mindful touch, I can help regulate and balance your system. We work together with your body to find safety there again. Its not all up to me. I ask you questions. I guide your awareness. I help you remember what its like to feel what your body is saying.

In today’s society, we are constantly on the go. We are applauded for our busy-ness and our DOING. If we take a moment to just BE, we risk being labeled as lazy or criticized because we have “too much time on our hands.” BEING is the ONLY way to tap into your body.

Those people who have survived Trauma have an even graver experience when it comes to listening to their body. Often, especially in the case of chronic trauma (repeated, or long-term trauma like abuse), being aware of your body is too painful. The mind often feels betrayed by the body and so it no longer listens to the sensations present there.

This is a defense mechanism. It is survival. Thank goodness in the moments of trauma the mind shut off what the body was experiencing. To. Protect. The. Person. In that moment. So, thank it.

When we have a society that encourages living solely in your mind, and then trauma on top of that, its no wonder we have people walking around completely unaware of their own bodies! Afraid to experience all the insights, sensations, and wisdoms it has to offer!

I’m here to tell you that you are missing out!!

What’s your relationship to sinking deep and really FEELING into your body? Exhilarating? Scary? Confusing? What are some reasons that you don’t allow yourself that exploration more often?

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