Massage and Emotions
You may have heard the term “emotional release” in connection with massage. Have you ever wondered what an emotional release is and why you have/have not experienced it?
When I was in massage school, I was the “class crier.” I shed tears at least once in every new class some time during the semester. I figured I was just stressed out from being tired (I went to night school) and being the oldest person in the school and having to learn a bunch of new stuff. All of this was true, but it wasn’t until after I graduated that I realized that my tears were an emotional release. I am the kind of person who hates facing new situations, especially if those situations are threatening in some way. I was threatened with failure and the fear of being thought of as stupid. I was threatened by facing a new challenge. It wasn’t until after the crisis of tears that I realized that I was okay, I was doing fine, and that I was not going to fail (I graduated with a 3.94 GPA). I needed to release those emotions of fear in order to break through the barrier and move forward.
Emotions Have Different Forms
Over the years I have observed that my clients experience different forms of emotional release. One client uses her massage session as a therapy session, to work through all her anxieties and worries and stresses. Her body releases these stresses in an unusual way. She refuses to see a psychotherapist. So I let her chatter away through her massage.
Another client lives a life where everybody thinks he should be perfect all the time. He’s extremely nice to people, even though their little quirks drive him crazy. The first half of his massage is a safe, nurturing place where he can complain to his heart’s content, knowing it will go no further. The second half is his time to relax and enjoy some alone time without people making demands of him.
In fact, a lot of clients use their time as a time to let go all of their gripes. I let them talk and gently try to steer them into a happy, positive place because a massage is not something you want to walk away from all worked up about something.
I’ve had clients get silly and laugh, I’ve had clients suddenly burst into tears for no reason. I’ve heard (although I’ve not experience this) of clients who have sudden outbursts of anger.
Emotional Release is Normal
All of these things are normal experiences. We go through life expecting ourselves to be perfect all the time, and our self-induced stress becomes unbearable at times. The safe, nurturing environment of the massage room is a good place to let go of those things and to allow yourself to be cared for for a short time. Massage is good for your soul. This article that appeared in Massage Today in 2008 talks about how emotions actually get trapped in the tissue and need to be released. You may find it to be interesting additional reading.