Respect the Tissues
As a bodyworker, our goal is to help the body have nice soft, supple, mobile tissues. You are trained to look for where the tissues are not moving and try to get them moving. You look for knots or tension in the muscles and apply the techniques you know to get them to release that tension.
With this goal in mind, some people are taught to apply as much pressure as possible until the tissues release. The harder the better in some cases and some of your clients might like this as well. While this can work, I’m not a big fan of this approach. It can create bruising and trauma to the tissues.
I don’t think we need to create either of those in order to get tissues to release. In fact, when you learn to listen to the tissues and allow them to guide you, you can find you get beautiful releases with hardly any pressure at all.
If a tissue is not releasing from your gentle pressure you are not getting to the real reason it is tight in the first place. Tissues create tension for a reason. What is the reason? It might be tight because of a physical injury, an emotional trauma, or an energetic holding pattern. And how you release that tension varies with each different issue.
Learning to listen to the tissues will help guide you in their release. Instead of demanding their release with pressure, tune in and see what wants to happen in the tissues. Instead of imparting your wisdom and knowledge into the body, you can learn to listen to the wisdom of the body. Follow it and let the body guide you. It’s a totally different approach yet one I find much more successful.
The best way to release physical injury is to listen to the energy of the tissue. By asking them what they want to do, the energy will show you the direction of the injury. When you allow the tissues to do what they want to do, they release.
I liken it to playing hide and seek with the body. As soon as you find the pattern of injury, sometimes just saying it out loud, and taking the tissues into the pattern of injury can allow the release to occur.
Take a sprained ankle for example. Just hold the injured foot in your hands and let the foot show you which direction it went. When you tune into the energy of the foot it will start moving into the injury pattern. Allow the foot to move into this pattern and just hold it at its end range you may feel a softening of the tissues as it releases the trauma from the injury.
It’s also like opening a glass cabinet door held closed with a magnet. You have to push in on the glass door for it to open. This is what I feel you need to do in order to allow the tissues to fully release. When you allow the tissues to go into the pattern of injury it releases and lets go of the pattern.
When tissues remain tight as you try to release them, it’s either an emotion being held in them or an energetic holding pattern. By asking the body/tissues if there are any emotions being held in them, it opens the possibility for release. Have your client breathe into the restricted area and feel into the tissues to see if any emotions come up. This is the first step in identifying if it’s an emotional block. Allowing your client to recognize the emotion and feel it fully will offer the tissues the ability to release more fully without you having to force any release.
I had a client who I was doing intravaginal work with and she had really tight pelvic floor muscles on one side that just weren’t releasing. She started to tear up on the table but quickly shoved the emotion back down. Since I didn’t call her out on that she never allowed those emotions to release. Nothing else I did that session got those muscles to release since I don’t force tissues to release.. She got up from the session and proudly gloated, “Ha! My friends told me I would cry but I didn’t!” I immediately knew why her muscles never let go. I’ve seen it in many other clients that as soon as the emotion is released the muscles just melt.
Energetic Holding Pattern
Most energetic holding patterns are there without our knowledge. What sets this apart from the other two is the lack of energy flow. If there is no emotion you can sense in the tissues and the energy of the tissues is not moving, then you know you are dealing with an energetic holding pattern.
Understanding the left side of the body represents our feminine energy and the right side our masculine can help guide you as to why the tissues might be holding on. Depending on the side of the body you find the restriction on and discussing the potential issue arising from that side can bring greater awareness to the holding pattern. Most holding patterns may have a limiting belief associated with it. Figuring out what that belief is can help in getting the holding pattern to let go.
A common holding pattern I see in women is the inability to receive support from others. If you have this belief you feel you need to do everything yourself and shouldn’t ask for help. This can block the flow of energy on the left side of the body, in particular, the posterior part of the pelvic space. Helping your client to see how this pattern is holding them back and may have been established when they were younger and is not needed anymore, can initiate a release. Finding the limiting belief holding it in place is critical for letting the pattern go. Without getting to the root cause of the holding pattern it will remain or come back worse sometimes if you were able to get a release from force!
In my Advanced Treatment of the Postpartum Body course, we dive deeper into learning to listen to the tissues of the body. You learn how to work with releasing the emotions in the body, how to release core holding patterns, limiting beliefs and trauma responses in the body. It’s a great course to experience to clear your own limiting beliefs and stuck energy in your own body. I feel the more clear you can be in your own body the more you’ll be able to support those clients that come to see you.
I hope this gives you some new ideas to try in working with getting the tissues to release. It’s my belief you should never force a tissue to release, as it will just come back stronger and angrier than before. I know you don’t want that!