When looking at the body holistically, we treat the body as an integral part of a mind, body soul system. We treat our existence as a spiritually based one rather than a pure physical one. There are schools of thought that propose that our existence is a system of extraordinary complex chemical reactions that evolved from random events over a long period of time. There are also other schools of thought that say we were created in a few days. Picking something in between, I do like the idea that our consciousness, spirit, or whatever you might like to call it has more of an effect than most of us are prepared to acknowledge.
Your emotional state affects your physical well being. That’s pretty much obvious. When you are feeling down, look at your facial expressions, posture etc., and when you are happy you look different. That’s a physical effect. Let’s take this a little further than just a transient effect. As we succumb to the stresses of daily life our muscles get tighter and tighter, and they stay permanently tight unless treated. That’s why most people go to see a massage therapist. The massage therapist takes out the knots and off they go away feeling a little better, but back to the stresses that made them that way in the first place. For those smart ones that receive regular massage treatments attuned to their stress levels, they manage to remain relatively pain free. A large percentage of the population allow the stresses to build to the point where they are in considerable pain. Try holding a heavy weight at arms length for a while and you’ll experience the pain of muscles that get overstressed. This is the point then where people seek help because the pain has become intrusive. They choose to seek help from a number of sources, and some choose to seek out massage as a therapy. There is often an unreasonable expectation from clients that the years of stress that have been poured into the body can be taken out in a 30 minute massage session, but that’s another story.
I have been talking about the emotion of stress and it’s not too hard to see how it can be stored in the body and produce pain. However, there are a whole range of emotions that can be stored. Emotions such as grief, sadness and anger, if not dealt with are stored away in the body. The body is an amazing mechanism, and if you are not coping with sadness for instance, it will find a place to keep it there for you until there comes a time for you to be able to deal with it. I know this to be true as I have witnessed this in many clients. Because I am emphatically connected when working on a client, I sense the emotions that are stored in certain areas. These areas are painful when stimulated, and many times the client is not aware that this is a painful spot. If the client is ready, upon stimulation of these areas, the emotions will come pouring out and there is a flood of tears. Now massage is not the only way to release these trapped emotions. There are other therapies (many of which I am trained in) which can achieve the same thing, however I find physical manipulation is an expedient way bring focused attention to the issue.
Nearly all of us have trapped emotions causing us some level of discomfort. A skilled practitioner can help you release these with the physical benefits associated with that. You should always seek the advice of a qualified medical practitioner if you are having significant problems. Massage is a complementary therapy and I do not condone or endorse the discontinuation of any medical treatment usless this has been explicitly authorised by an appropriately qualified medical practitioner.