When we begin receiving bodywork and initiate the release of tensions held within our body that has been building up for quite some time; we cannot always be certain of what to expect. It’s unpredictable. But the one thing you CAN be certain of is CHANGE.

Change, as you know, is NOT always so orderly, or pleasant, or pretty. Especially when the bodywork reaches the deeper older layers of tension and trauma that have been stored in our muscle memory. Underneath the armor and the ego that shields us, the tension patterns that are held in our soft tissues, fastening down our bones. Impinging on our nerves and impacting our attitudes and our belief structures. Translating into feeling stuck, inflexible, rigid, defensive, and that can literally paralyze us from taking action.

When therapy begins to do its work, the body initiates a healing response. Transformation can momentarily manifest some intense sensations. Not so painful, that you necessarily want to stop. In fact, you may NOT want the bodyworker to stop pressing at all. Not until it reaches its release point. It “hurts so good!” Its awe-inspiring intensity can induce what can only be described as a body-gasm, opening blockages and heightening our bodily awareness.

Therapeutic touch shines a light on the dark corners of our frame (our structure), exposing the mind to the body’s current state. It makes you notice your body like no other thing can. I believe it is essential. The sensations felt during bodywork are near impossible to describe. But as I said, they do raise consciousness – connecting body and mind.

A self-care regimen that includes bodywork can prompt feeling more connected and in touch with yourself. It can lead to spiritual insight if we allow ourself to center there.

For many, it induces the release of feel-good neurotransmitters – resulting in feelings of gratitude, relief, love, nurturance, belonging, praise, etc…

Your attention may be brought to noticing how exhausted you really are, or how untamed your nervous system has gotten. Making you realize how opposite of relaxed you currently are. I’ve personally never worked on a person without tension. It just wouldn’t be human.

You may also find yourself traveling to a deep abyss of hidden and forgotten traumas. Distances within that one must travel, in order to reconcile the very underpinnings of our distress. Past injuries that were never really felt or dealt with. Never having processed it fully when the incident occurred; causing us to become fragmented.

I don’t like to plant seeds in my client’s head, that the pain WILL get worse before it gets better. Because most of the time, it doesn’t play out that way. But when it does, I want to help people to be prepared.

The therapeutic process is a continuous journey of surrendering. Including surrendering any expectations you might have about how healing is supposed to look. It is good to go into bodywork knowing that sometimes healing and change don’t happen as fast or as easily as we want it to.

Your symptoms may temporarily increase while participating in bodywork, and you become hyper-aware of them. I always tell people to give any type of bodywork treatment, a couple of days to “land.” For 2-3 days after a session, your body will continue to release and repair. This is what I refer to as the 2 Day Rule. 

When you are in the midst of a healing crisis, there are occasional breakdowns before resolution. This can be uncomfortable in the beginning and middle stages. Yet, it is necessary for transformation to occur. It helps to ask your body what it has to say and to then listen closely. Acknowledging any intense sensations as they arise or messages that emerge, allowing yourself to feel those raw feelings, even if you fear things are going to get messy. That IS therapy for you. Bodywork is therapeutic. And therapeutic isn’t predictable.

Be willing for change to happen, because it must, in order for healing to happen.  Eventually, you will feel better than before but expect the unexpected. Expect it to come just as you need it to. Accept it for its gifts. Surrender to it and be grateful for it just the same.

Allow us to honor the healer’s sacred path. Healing work is a hero’s journey. May you have many allies on yours.

How does one go about benefiting from bodywork’s application? If you’re curious, check out our other blogs on the topic. In the next blog … Shalene will be exploring How Often You Need to Get a Massage

Shalene Zarate, LMT, NMT, CST
Beyond being a massage therapist, Shalene’s calling is to help deepen the relationship people have with their own nature, by helping them re-establish a close relationship with their bodies, and with the foods and lifestyles that nourish them.