Let’s face it: Few things in this world are as relaxing and satisfying as a good massage.
But what if your body responds in a way you don’t expect? Have you ever experienced sudden feelings of sadness, resentment, fear, or anger during a massage?
If so, it’s possible that you were experiencing an emotional release. And although it may have felt strange or even alarming, it’s actually a good thing!
Keep reading as we dive into the concept of “emotional baggage” and what happens to your body during an emotional release.
What Is “Emotional Baggage” Anyway?
Interestingly, the term “emotional baggage” was first coined by writer Ian Fleming in his James Bond novel, Casino Royale. It then became popular during the 1950s as psychoanalysis (especially related to childhood memories) started to go mainstream.
The idea is that we carry the weight of past experiences with us — in our relationships, our careers, and our personal lives. With some emotions, we simply process them, release them, and move on.
However, emotions and trauma we don’t deal with don’t just magically “go away.” If we resist a negative emotion or try to suppress it, it can take up residence in our soft tissues and restrict our body’s natural flow of energy.
This isn’t a new concept. Asian cultures have long recognized that emotions can become trapped inside our bodies and wreak havoc on our health. Modern research confirms that unresolved emotions can manifest as headaches, muscular tension, chronic pain, and other physical ailments.
What Happens During an Emotional Release?
Some experts believe that the memory of trauma becomes “stuck energy” inside the body. Others feel that the brain (on a subconscious level) associates certain parts of the body with certain memories.
Whatever the case, one thing is certain: activating certain areas of the body can trigger specific memories, leading to an emotional release.
As your body attempts to process these emotions, you might:
- Burst into tears
- Laugh uncontrollably
- Curl into a fetal position
- Suddenly shout, yell, or curse
- Shake, tremble, or hyperventilate
Any of these things can happen even if you weren’t consciously thinking about a traumatic or emotional event. Although an emotional release can occur at any time, it’s actually a very common occurrence during a massage!
As your massage therapist works on your muscles and joints, they might release tension that your body has been holding onto for years. Some of this tension could be associated with “emotional baggage” you’ve knowingly (or even unknowingly) been carrying around.
If this ever happens to you, don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed. Instead, take a deep breath and go with it! Allow yourself to feel whatever it is you need to feel in that moment.
It’s also appropriate to ask your therapist to pause the session or even step out of the room while you process the release. Don’t worry, they won’t judge you or try to pry into your personal life. Instead, they’ll acknowledge and respect that your body is trying to heal itself.
Later, take some time to reflect on what you thought and felt during your emotional release. Validate your emotions, make peace with them, and try your best to let them go. Make self-care a priority in the coming days and, if necessary, speak to a counselor or medical professional about your experience.
Massage Therapy for Your Emotional Health
As we’ve discussed, your body stores and processes emotions in a variety of ways. Although having an emotional release during a massage may seem like a strange thing, it’s actually a very normal and healthy reaction!
Whatever the current state of your health, regular massage therapy can improve the way you feel. Our skilled therapists are ready to help you ease your physical aches and pains as well as any “emotional baggage” you’ve been lugging around.
Call us today at 970-748-1600 or use our online form to book your next massage in Avon or Glenwood Springs.