By Rick Halle-Podell, Licensed Massage Therapist, Founder of Massage Therapy of Oak Park

Have you ever had a physical injury that seemed to plague you long after the site had healed? It’s not as unusual as you might think. Even when craniosacral therapy releases restrictions in body tissues, sometimes a release of emotional energy is necessary to fully discharge a trauma. In those cases, the craniosacral therapist may gently encourage a SomatoEmotional Release.

Research conducted in the late 1970s by Dr. John Upledger and biophysicist Zvi Karni led to the discovery that the body often retains the emotional imprint of physical trauma. These imprints, especially of intense feelings of anger, fear and/or resentment that may have occurred at the time of injury, leave residues in the body called “energy cysts.”

Although you can adapt to energy cysts over time, your body needs extra energy to continue performing its day-to-day functions. As years pass and the body becomes more stressed, it can lose its ability to adapt. That’s when symptoms and dysfunctions begin to appear and become difficult to suppress or ignore.

Through SomatoEmotional Release, a therapist engages in imaging and dialoguing techniques that can guide the patient through an otherwise challenging encounter with long-held emotions. The patient does not need to analyze the problem to release it. Often the body will spontaneously return to the same position it was in when the injury was first sustained. As this occurs, the therapist can feel the tissues of the body relax as the energy cyst is expelled. Then the body is free to return to its optimal levels of functioning.

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