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Can Thai massage release trapped emotions?

 Thai massage locates and physically frees the restrictions in muscle and surrounding fascial tissue that house traumatic memories.

There is ample scientific evidence that proves extreme stress or trauma can overload the nervous system and cause our bodies to activate a protective mechanism. This overload halts the body in its instinctive fight or flight response, and the body instead stores this traumatic energy in the surrounding muscles, organs and connective tissue. Our brain disconnects from that part of the body to block the experience, preventing the recall of the traumatic memory.

Thai massage will not release stored trauma unless certain conditions exist. First, the body must have access to resources that were not present when the trauma occurred. Second, the body must be relaxed enough so the released energy has someplace to go. And finally, the brain needs to reconnect to the area of the body that holds the stored trauma.

When a Thai massage relaxes the muscle and surrounding fascial tissue that houses traumatic memories, these locked memories resurface, causing the body to “replay” body movements associated with the memory of the trauma. This release reconnects the brain with the tissue housing the trauma and allows the body and mind to heal. This release often manifests itself as strong emotions in the client.

While Thai massage can create the conditions necessary for the body to release stored trauma, massage alone will not help the client process the trauma. Instead, many types of verbal treatment are an ideal follow-up to assisting a person in handling the traumatic experience.

In Thailand, Thai massage is only one part of a more extensive, holistic medicinal system, which includes physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects. So traditional healers in Thailand are well equipped to deal with more than physical healing. But in the West, medicine is not holistic. The four aspects of health are separate specialties, and practitioners must keep within the scope of their practice.

As a Thai massage practitioner, my focus is only on helping my clients move better. So while I witness many clients experiencing strong emotions during a Thai massage, I do not try to counsel my clients. But clients need time to process these emotions before heading out into the world, so I purposely block a half hour after every treatment to sit down with clients for tea.

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