Worry, Anger, Sadness, Grief, Anxiety, Fear and Physical Pain. How Are They connected? They Are Closer in Relation Than You Think
Ever notice you tend you get headaches and body pains when you’re having a bad day experience an emotional trauma or following a bout of fear or anger? Or maybe you are expressing behaviors that are out of character for you and you’re not sure why? Before you see your MD for meds to suppress the symptoms that arise, or your psychotherapist for advice on how to cope, consider this; there is a direct correlation between emotions and muscle dysfunction. This correlation is nothing new. It stems back to ancient Chinese medical theory. For instance, to quote Lynn Teachworth BS LMT KMI GIFT contribution to Massage Today, she writes, “In Chinese Medical Theory, the anterior shin muscles are controlled by the water element as well as the stomach, liver, and gallbladder meridians. The emotion of fear and a controlling nature (which always comes from fear) can also create tension in these muscles. Likewise, if the muscles are chronically tense, this can work in the opposite direction leading to fear and controlling patterns or at least a feeling of needing more control. It’s no wonder with everything going on in the world and the media constantly focusing on negativity that the lower leg muscles are so commonly in need of treatment.”
Now that you understand there is a connection, check in with your body. Where do you feel pain or tension? Have you considered how your thought and behavior patterns have changed? My guess is you haven’t given it much thought since we’re all conditioned to produce and keep up rather than embrace and slow down. Most of us know that productivity deadlines on top of every day events, parenting, and just trying to survive this rat race causes stress. We also know that stress causes shorter, more rapid breathing patterns. (At least if you didn’t know, now you do). Without involuntary contractions of the sternocleidomastoid, most commonly SCM muscles, the diaphragm and the intercostals to name a few, we wouldn’t breathe at all. Therefore, if stress causes rapid breathing, then these muscles that assist with inhalation and exhalation are being overworked. In turn, without proper release, the result is hypertension, irritability, vertigo, headaches, anxiety, depression, among other physical and emotional responses.
There are a myriad of bodywork modalities that can release chronic muscle tension, reduce pain, and re-educate the muscles to optimal functionality. This in turn, improves mood and your overall quality of life. If treated properly, it isn’t uncommon for clients to have an “emotional release” while on the massage table in the form of laughter or even tears. You may have experienced this yourself and didn’t even know it. For those of you who have received deep tissue bodywork and laughed because your low back was “ticklish” in one spot, in some cases, that is indeed an emotional response to hypertension and indication of an imbalance within the body. The specific modalities of bodywork that we have effectively used to release this tension and provide relief of pain are Trigger Point (also known as Neuromuscular therapy) and Myofascial Release Therapy. I encourage you to read the following article explaining Trigger Point and Myofascial Therapy and the benefits at https://www.8weeksout.com/2011/04/07/trigger-point-therapy/ (no copy-write infringement intended).
In some cases, clients feel relief after one treament or 3-4 treatments depending on history of injury and bodywork. So ask yourself if you would rather live with that nagging knee, shoulder, neck or back pain, only affecting the symptoms with medications the rest of your life, which could have harmful immuno/endocrinal side effects. Or you can try a bodywork regimen which has no side effects other than improving circulation, sleep, digestion and other important necessary functions of the body.
Do not be mistaken, this is not JUST a massage, but a pain-relieving, body/mind balancing, give you a new lease on life, treatment you deserve.
Thank you for reading. All comments and suggestions appreciated 🙂 – Vanessa CMT #72796
photo courtesy of https://addicted2success.com & https://helpyourback.org