Massage & Bodywork

January/February 2012

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EMOTIONAL FREEDOM Dr. Judith Orloff and the Importance of Internal Balance for MTs By Lynda McCullough "Be like a warrior—go in, do your work, move on." That's the advice of Judith Orloff, MD, noted author and founder of energy psychiatry. As an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, Orloff works with massage therapists and understands the gifts and challenges of their profession. But how does one practice massage as though she is a warrior, and what is the value in that? Orloff says the path starts with knowing how to work with one's own energy and emotions before ever laying hands on a client. Finding emotional balance creates emotional freedom, all of which helps the practitioner be a better "healer." In her New York Times bestselling book, Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform your Life (Three Rivers Press, 2011), Orloff outlines how to find this emotional balance, and to live free of the constraints of negative emotions and energy. MASSAGE AND EMOTION Massage, says Orloff, is both a vehicle contributing to emotional freedom in clients and a testing ground for the therapists who work with them. As a therapist and healer herself, Orloff particularly understands the sensitive connection with a client and the nuances of that relationship. As an empath, she understands the need for self-care in the context of that work. "I work with a lot of massage and yoga practitioners who get burned out from taking on other people's energy, and they can't stand to do it anymore because it exhausts them," she says. Emotional health is what these practitioners must have to stay grounded and balanced in their everyday work with clients. Orloff says massage is an invaluable tool for releasing trauma and memories, while making way for healing. "You have to get into your body, which has memories, traumas, or trapped energy," she says. "You have to dislodge all that." She, herself, regularly seeks massage for her own emotional processing and healing, and she often refers her patients to massage therapists as well. Finding balance is part of what we all seek; achieving energetic balance is what Orloff helps her patients discover. Through touch and energetic balancing, we can learn about our biological and energetic states, ultimately becoming more attuned to our sensations, Orloff says. This balancing can help us ease tension, alleviate stress, and provide a baseline for what it feels like to be centered. Such work can help clients access awareness on many levels; the release of negative energy can make space for more positive energy and a sense of well-being. Celebrate ABMP's 25th anniversary and you may win a refund on your membership. ABMP.com. 87

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