by Christopher Sherman, RMT June 17, 2021
For the past near 20 years I’ve been a Massage Therapist trying to help people with their physical ailments from a physical approach. I’ve had success and have been fortunate and privileged enough to have helped literally thousands of people over the years with the physical modalities of massage therapy. However, as I evolve in both my therapeutic and human journey, I have come to realize one of the more overlooked and likely the most important aspect of healing – our emotions. Modern western research and science is finally coming to realize what eastern holistic philosophies have known for millennia – what we think and feel can and does manifest itself into our physical being. It’s no secret now that stress is one of our biggest threats to health and wellbeing. It’s also safe to say that most would not equate the state of being under stress to that of being in a positive or happy emotional state. That in itself should provide the average layperson enough proof to back up the statement that our emotions directly affect our health. How many times have you heard a friend, colleague, or client state how all their aches and pains seem to go away when they’re on vacation? Or even consider in yourself how, when you’re happy and in a good mood, your body is more in alignment with you and hence generally less symptomatic of painful conditions. This is without even digging into modern research backing the philosophy (see below just a few references of many). One of the exacerbating issues I believe is that we, as physical creatures in our physical bodies, tend to concentrate more on the physical hurts as they cause us more acute grief and are easier to acknowledge. Hence, we look for physical causes and cures when perhaps the larger underlying causes actually pertain more to our emotional states and our inability to understand and deal with the physical manifestations of our emotional traumas, be they big or small, now or from the past.
How often have you been around kids and thought “If I could only bottle that energy and take it when I need it, or sell it and be a bajillionair!” You’ll see kids frolicking in the cold ocean, shivering and almost blue but not caring in the slightest because they’re having a gas. When they get hurt they cry and wail and get it out. When they’re mad or upset they yell, cry, and act out, and they get it out. We, as always, can learn a lot from the wee ones whom we feel it’s our job to teach. We could also learn from the instinctual habits of animals. When a wild animal (domestic as well), undergoes a traumatic event, such as being chased by a predator but surviving, it instinctually takes physical measures such as panting and shaking to dissipate the negative effects of the stress and traumatic emotions.
I’ve heard of companies that have “anger rooms” that essentially contain household items and such that an employee can go in, put on some safety gear, and then smash to bits with a bat to get their stress out. How cathartic! A good friend of mine went on a healing retreat years ago in Merrit, BC, and part of the course was taking one of those red plastic bats and beating the stuffing out of a pillow for 20 minutes while screaming the names of people or things that have caused him aggravation. He said it was awkward at first, especially being in a room of people, but before long everyone was fully on board, stuck in their own moment and fully engrossed in the throes of their own emotional liberation. He also said it was absolutely amazing and he felt better for it.
Unfortunately most of us in our daily lives have outgrown the unfiltered purity of children and generally don’t feel like we’re in a safe enough environment to smash the hell out of something while screaming the name of those who have caused us stress. Instead, for the most part we tend to not want to upset others in our social circles and family or get in trouble at work, so we bottle our emotions and put a cork on it, forcing our bodies to store the negative (low vibrational), energy of those emotions in our tissues causing everything from muscular tension to outright disease.
So I would encourage you to seek out ways to liberate your physical body of its stuck emotions. Meditate and practice mindfulness; find some place you can shake, shiver and holler at the top of your lungs; beat the living s%*t out of a pillow; dance like no one is watching even if they are; get some energy healing like Bio- Energy Healing or Reiki; find outlets of passion to balance the negative; get regular exercise; watch some informative movies like Heal (2017), and E-Motion 2.0.
Let the next bottle you pop a top on be the one containing all of your pent up emotions (even if you don’t feel you have any, we all have some), and then come see a physical therapist like myself so we can make a deeper impact with the part we play in your journey to wellness 🙂