In my last article I shared my insights into how Thai massage can help you let go of anything that’s no longer serving you in your life. This could be physical ailments, negative emotions, unwanted behavioural habits, or perhaps some attachment to the past.
This month I’d like to look at a similar topic: emotional release. However, rather than this being something I encourage my clients to do, it tends to be something that just happens naturally.
Deep energy work
Many of my clients over the last 2 years have experienced some sort of emotional release during their treatment. This can range from a general feeling at the end of the massage to physical tears at certain points throughout.
It seems very natural to me that people should experience such a release during a treatment. Thai massage involves deep energy work as well as physical body work. Following the natural energy lines of the body, we work on removing stagnant energy and releasing physical and emotional blockages. As these blockages get released it stands to reason that the client may experience this very tangibly, whether as actual tears, as a feeling of emotion rising up within them, or perhaps as a more physical sensation, e.g. a ‘lump in the throat’.
Emotions held in the body
It always amazes me how much emotion can be stored in our bodies. And we often don’t realise what we’re holding onto until someone starts applying pressure to our muscles and bones or manipulating our joints.
Often there are one or two key areas of the body where we know we hold a lot of stress. The neck and shoulders are probably the most common. But there are usually other, less well-known areas too. Many of my clients have been surprised to find tension in their calves, buttocks, feet, under their shoulder blades and around their elbows.
Working with the breath
As with any emotional release, the breath is key. If I find a point of tension or an area that could be storing stagnant emotional energy, the tendency is to want to back away from it. But I believe it’s more helpful to work into the area slowly, encouraging the client to breathe deeply into the tension to help it release.
At certain points throughout my treatments I guide my clients in their breathing, instructing them to inhale and exhale as I manipulate their limbs and assist them in yoga-style stretches. These exhalations really encourage the body to let go and surrender into the movement, allowing the muscles and joints to relax and open. This means the brain is receiving repeated messages to let go, relax and release – releasing physical tension from the body and emotional tension from the mind.
Be kind to yourself
Of course, emotional release can happen on a much more subtle level too. A client may not experience anything particularly strong or tangible, and may just have a general feeling of sadness, or peace, or increased overall wellbeing after a treatment.
Often this feeling doesn’t arise straight away, either during or immediately after the massage. It can emerge later that day, at nighttime, or even begin to bubble up over the next few days. It’s important to look after yourself following a treatment, acknowledge how you’re feeling and be kind to yourself.
Our emotions can be wonderfully complex and can seemingly arise from nowhere. But, the chances are, if you’ve recently had a Thai massage and you experience some kind of emotional release, you can thank this healing, therapeutic treatment for allowing you to let go and open more fully into yourself.
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