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Why Do Bodywork?

There is no thought or emotion that is not translated into what has been described as a “felt sense”; these feeling states form the foundations of our habitual postures and our individual patterns of behaviour. Emotions – thoughts – feelings are all stored in the body – how do we know that we are happy or sad or anxious? The experience of emotion or thought always involves a bodily response.

Problems start to occur when we physically react to events in the same way we have done for years and years, without even realising what we are doing, although the physical reaction is probably no longer appropriate to our current circumstances and may be putting undue stress on our system. In other words it is a learnt reaction. We may become aware of the physical effect of emotional pressures, as the diaphragm, jaw, neck and shoulders tighten in a defensive posture, to armour us against the onslaught of life’s stresses. In time these bodily postures may become habitual thereby recreating the very same mental and emotional landscapes. It can become a vicious circle.

Stress in itself is not necessarily a problem. What matters is simply how we deal with it, how we are resourced or how we either learn to resource ourselves to mitigate the harmful side effects, or conversely, how we learn to be helpless in the face of it or allow it to become an habitual state.

We are looking at a series of physiological changes that take place IN THE BODY however caused and it is therefore within the body that I suggest may be the most successful route to counter the harmful effects of long term or chronic stress conditions.

It is here that bodywork can become a vital tool. It simply does not matter whether we begin with an attitude of mental quietness and calm and allow it to radiate out into our muscles, or whether conversely, we can begin to allow the pleasant calming sensations of bodywork to engender that same mental peacefulness. It is a two way bridge.

It can help us to stop reacting to situations that trigger emotions in the same ways as they have done for years, reactions that may have been helpful at the time but no longer serve our best interests.