I’m going to throw some common phrases at you, let’s see if you recognise them. ‘I feel it in my gut,’ ‘the weight of the world on my shoulders,’ ‘emotional baggage’. Does any of this sound familiar? Well, there’s a reason for that. These phrases are linked to a phenomenon where we carry past trauma, negative experiences and resulting emotions within the body. Emotions manifest themselves as pain, tension or fatigue. It can be seen reflected in someone’s posture, sometimes those who have a lot on their plate will seem to lean forward, as though pressure is physically weighing them down across the shoulders. Headaches can become more frequent, even mouth sores can start to appear.
Unprocessed emotions are not uncommon; we’re busy people. We don’t have time to sit and process everything that happens to us (good or bad) in a healthy way. Sometimes, we have to push it to the back of our minds, and that’s when your body begins to store those emotions physically. It’s why some people cry during a massage, feel the need to scream during a workout, or laugh during acupuncture. We’ve spoken before about emotional release, and containing emotional tension before, but this blog is going to look at specific areas where you might be carrying emotional baggage, and how massage can help.
The Brow and Forehead:
Tension headaches are the worst. Not quite migraines, but drinking more water and getting more sleep doesn’t seem to be doing the trick. It’s caught in that middle ground of ‘I can’t concentrate’ but ‘it’s not painful, I don’t need painkillers.’ Well, this is where your emotional, intuitive and intellectual expression gathers. We form wrinkles in certain areas when we overstimulate an area with intense emotion. Anger, frustration, anxiety – they all add to the pressure across your forehead and around your temples. A head massage can release some of this tension, warming the muscles around your brows and forehead, and soothing the skin in the process. It never surprises us when people fall asleep during a head massage, it can be the perfect way to relax.
The Mouth and Jaw:
At the risk of overexplaining, the mouth is how we take nourishment. So, treating your mouth with respect is important. Early signs of stress can be gums bleeding, mouth ulcers, or a sore throat. Equally, we carry tension in our jaws. If you’ve been clenching all day from stress or anxiety, releasing the tension can take work. You have to actually think about it to do it. A head, shoulder and neck massage can alleviate the tension in the surrounding area, allowing your muscles to relax, fill with oxygen and feel stronger. There’s not a lot we can do about the mouth though, you should just drink more water, and see a dentist if the mouth sores persist.
The Diaphragm and Abdomen:
This is where that ‘feel it in your gut’ response lives. The diaphragm is where we store our emotions regarding power, control and wisdom. And the abdomen is the seat of our fears, right next to the digestive system. It’s one of the reasons we can feel queasy when nervous, or anxiety can manifest as stomach cramps or IBS. We have a heated massage chair, which means you don’t need to lie on your front to receive a massage. This, in turn, means that you’re not putting additional pressure on the areas you’re collecting tension. We want to help you relieve it, after all.
As we said above, the shoulders carry most of the tension when we’re feeling the weight of responsibility. Women, in particular, find their shoulders hurt when they’re overworked or stressed; and whilst this isn’t helped by sitting at a desk all day, it is one of the easiest and quickest places to release the built-up tension. Any massage around the shoulders, back and arms can help release the tension you’ve stored there, and a twenty-minute massage during your lunch break could be just the thing to get you through the rest of your busy day – without the pressure of another appointment in your busy diary.
Whenever we’ve overdone it – at work, at the gym or at home – we feel it in our arms first. They help us connect with the external world, and they ache when we’ve taken on too much. The upper arms tend to hold onto tension around fear, being discouraged, or not having the strength to act. The forearm usually holds tension around goals and the fear of inferiority. And because the elbow connects the two, we can manifest pain there when we’re feeling conflicted, especially when our body reacts to the emotional burden we’re carrying like it is a physical thing. A shoulder, arm and hand massage can relieve that tension, as well as prepare the muscles to carry that burden. If you were at the gym, you’d warm-up – and there’s a reason professional athletes get a massage before their big games. You might not be lifting physical weights, but a good massage will prepare you to take on anything.
The most obvious place of tension – we rest on our lower back when we’re anxious, angry, frustrated or confused. We slouch when we’re upset, and we strain when we’re tired. It’s where all of our unconscious emotions live, and it’s where the body loves to store our resentment, indefinable fears, and emotional responses to feeling unsupported. Any full back massage can release this tension, though we’ve found that a massage on our heated chair is the most effective. It can improve your posture, help with sleep as well as relax the muscles in your lower back.
Has this blog helped? If you’re worried about the pain you’re experiencing, and would like to try massage as a way of alleviating or managing that pain, call us today. We’d be happy to talk to you, give you some of our recommendations regarding the best massage therapy to suit you, and book you an appointment.
Bookings can also be made online www.soothicity.co.uk/bookings