Trauma & Bodywork

June 17, 2019

Vanessa Leveille

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Recently I posted a video on my Instagram page about an experience I had while getting a massage. My masseuse practices different techniques and uses a combination of deep tissue massage, sports massage and trigger point massage. Not all at once, but on this particular day, he was administering trigger point massage. So there he is, on my back… right between my shoulder blades, near my rhomboid and deltoid muscle pressing and releasing. This has been a problem area for me for a few years now; ever since my car accident in 2017. I had suffered from whiplash and a concussion, and as a result of the way the seat belt pulled at my shoulder the front of my body jerked forward, I have had pain and soreness in the left side of my back and shoulder since then.

So again, he is pressing and releasing in that area and all of a sudden I was flooded with thoughts and emotions about my previous relationship. During part of 2016 and 2017, I had been in a toxic, unhealthy relationship that was ending around the same time of my car accident. So when my masseuse pressed in that particular location I couldn’t deny that was where I was holding the emotional pain from that relationship.

Our bodies are the warehouse for all of our life experiences. And the body does not forget what it has been through. Many of us are storing and carrying emotions within multiple areas of our body, and sometimes we aren’t even aware of that. So much of those emotions can become so repressed and trapped in our bodies for years. What stores there is energy, and when energy amasses like that it has to manifest, and the manifestations are chronic pain, ailments and other un-wellness issues.

These old wounds can be triggered during Bodywork sessions, and if you aren’t ready for it, you can have an experience very much like mine that catches you off guard. My experience came out of nowhere because I hadn’t been thinking about that time in my life for some time. While I have worked through this relationship experience in therapy, there are still parts of it that come up from time to time that are still pretty sore for me. When someone goes digging in those areas and trigger you, both metaphorically and physically, you body is bound to have a reaction.

It isn’t a pleasant experience to be triggered, however, if you read my last article, you would have noted that triggers, and being triggered, offer us an opportunity for exploration and healing. Since triggers sometimes come from traumatic experiences, Bodywork is a great means to healing trauma. What exactly is Bodywork?

Bodywork is part of a larger holistic scope that includes more than 150 varieties of body manipulation therapies used for relaxation and pain relief. Of those included, they typically fall into the categories of  massage therapy, herbal therapy and energy therapy with massage therapy being the most utilized. It is the most popular and with reason. A massage can make you feel tremendously relaxed and encourage pain-relieving endorphins. The masseuse applies manual techniques to the muscles, fascia, tendons, and ligaments with the goal of healing the body. It is in the fascia that most of the energy from traumatic experiences are held.

The healing comes in when you combine a positive therapeutic relationship with the Bodywork practitioner, who really gets to know your biomechanics, with talk therapy with a Psychotherapist to uncover the root causes behind old physical ailments, and their emotional connections. Benefits can be exponential when the Bodywork practitioner is trauma-informed trained, and they team up with you and your therapist to assist in more intentional work.

Bodywork is growing in popularity and is no longer being seen as a luxury activity, but rather a complement in healing work. Often times it is seen as the gateway for your healing journey as it can open up what has been dormant in your body for years, encouraging further digging. While it is growing in popularity, Bodywork is definitely not new. Much of the Bodywork treatment modalities we use today are rooted in ancient healing arts, and were, at times, the most trusted technique for healing the body from physical and emotional pain for some cultures.

If you think that Bodywork may be something that interests you, I encourage you to do more research to find the type of treatment you feel may be best for you. Sometimes you have to try a few different modalities of treatment before you find the one that feels like the best fit. I have found the combination of acupuncture, massage, Reiki and talk therapy to be the best combination for me. A quick google search for Bodywork could yield many results so my suggestion is to talk to the practitioners to get a sense of how they may be able to assist you, even talk it over with your therapist to get their input. Once you have made your decision, a good practitioner will take a health history and inquire about anything they should know. I would encourage you to be upfront about your own history so they may be able to guide you through the session in a helpful, healing manner.

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Trauma & Bodywork

Our bodies are the warehouse for all of our life experiences. And the body does not forget what it has been through.

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