Massage & Bodywork

July | August 2014

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110 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k j u l y / a u g u s t 2 0 1 4 technique ENERGY WORK Philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. But there is another, more tenuous, idea hidden in this concept: that we are spirits having an emotional experience. Emotional Processing An Energetic Point of View By Cyndi Dale Emotions, especially repressed emotions, are often related to and sometimes the cause of deep-seated tension, illness, inflammation, and pain. These stress-related symptoms are high on the list of reasons why clients see massage therapists, bodyworkers, and healers. It's only logical that while we're assisting clients with their physical problems, the work may trigger underlying emotions—and when that happens, we'll be the ones they look to for support. We can't offer psychiatric advice, as this falls outside our scope of practice, but as fellow human beings, we can always be present with compassion and grace. Decades ago, the first time one of my clients had an emotional reaction, my immediate response was to panic. I wanted to protest: "I'm not a counselor!" Did my client want me to be a counselor? No. He simply needed me to witness his emotions. I have found that one of the most powerful ways to help a client with an emotional release is to approach emotions from a subtle energy point of view. THE EMOTIONAL TOLL OF STRESS Let's first address the issue of why it's so important to be present for clients' emotions. Scientists have known for decades that repressed or unacknowledged emotions can cause or contribute to disease, pain, and psychological damage. Back in the late 1980s, emotional intelligence expert Daniel Goleman pointed out that individuals who repress their emotions are more prone to disease. Those who repress all emotion in favor of rationality are most in danger. The longer the emotions are locked into the body, the more significant the toll. 1

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