Somatic Therapy and Myofascial Release – Trauma Informed Bodywork in Dorset

Myofascial Release at Freedom Within, Trauma Informed Bodywork for chronic pain and other stress related somatic symptoms.

Safe therapeutic touch can have powerful effects. Maybe you feel you’ve been holding on so tight for so long you don’t know how to let go. Maybe you’re fearful of what you might feel if you did. Maybe you would like to learn to trust your body again, to feel a sense of EASE, to feel HELD, to feel WHOLE, spontaneous, FREE from the ‘stuck’ feeling that stress and chronic pain bring. Trauma Informed Bodywork can help you achieve this.

What does it feel like to be you?

Think how you might describe how it feels to walk barefoot in the sand to someone who has never been to the beach.

You could try your best but until that person actually walks barefoot in the sand it is impossible to fully appreciate.

It is the same with describing how something feels, there will always remain aspects that words can’t describe.

The intention of Trauma Informed Bodywork

The intention of Trauma Informed Bodywork is to help you explore areas of ‘stuckness’ from a place of safety, a place of rest, where you can get out of your own way, free from preconceptions and limiting beliefs. Connect with the physical experience of being you, in your own body, and explore the sensations associated with thoughts and feelings – otherwise known as Somatic Awareness. 

Many of us have very little Somatic Awareness

It’s only when the pain alarm sounds, making something ache or hurt, do we become aware e.g. of tightness across the shoulders, tension in the lower back or the knot of anxiety in the belly.

We become disconnected

The problem is by the time the pain alarm sounds (cue physical symptoms) the nervous system has gone into survival mode. Typically, we respond by resisting or distracting ourselves from the pain / the discomfort.  The result? We become even more disconnected from our bodies!

Wherever you go, your body goes with you

Your relationship with your body affects your relationship with everything and everyone else

Bodywork can help you re connect

By bringing awareness to sensation, allowing – not resisting – and being as present, open and connected with it as possible, we can start to open ourselves up to our deeper layers, process the origins of pain, turn off the alarm and feel more spacious.

Therapeutic touch and muscle tension awareness techniques assist you to notice how you are inhabiting your body. Sometimes we think that we are relaxed but, when guided to really notice tension in the body, we notice that we are not relaxed at all.

Fascia and Emotional Health

Fascia will tighten in response to emotional trauma and accumulated stress.

This can lead to discomfort, pain, and reduced blood flow, affecting the immune system and reducing your resilience even further.

When the source of your pain is emotional trauma, which makes everything tighten up, Myofascial Release can help assist Emotional and Nervous System Regulation by providing a powerful signal to your body that you are “safe.”

Myofascial Release Can Assist Emotional and Nervous System Regulation

In cases of prolonged stress, physiological changes can include constant hyper alertness, sleep disturbances, heart palpitations, fatigue, anxiety and many other uncomfortable symptoms. Myofascial Release can interrupt the stress response, facilitate nervous system regulation and restore balance as you finally feel at home in your body again.

All treatment sessions are unique to you and your specific set of symptoms but may include:

Indirect Myofascial Release techniques

Many think Trigger Point Therapy and foam rolling is the entirety of good myofascial release. But they are missing a much deeper and more effective resolution if that’s all they do.

Indirect myofascial release techniques address the entirety of the fascial system by gently engaging with restrictions in such a way that your body does not have to protect itself. We then “nudge into” or “lengthen at” the barrier of resistance surrounding a restriction in the fascial “web.”

Over time, as we maintain a steady, aware pressure, the restriction will begin to melt, rehydrate, and become mobile again.

This is very different from the typical bodywork approach and experience of rubbing, stretching, and pinning. We are able to reach deeply into your body through the fascial web, even where fingers and tools will never reach on their own.

Myofascial unwinding

Unwinding is the name given to a treatment response often associated with myofascial release and other similar therapeutic approaches.

The term ‘unwinding’ is thought to have originated from the teachings of Viola Frymann, an English Osteopath. She was renowned for her approaches to body memory, trauma and spontaneous movement as a treatment response.

Unwinding is a normal and natural response as you begin to allow yourself to really feel the gentle and subtle work. First your stomach might gurgle, your breathing might slow and deepen and sometimes you might sigh. This is thought to be a change to a more parasympathetic state from sympathetic state. Then, you may slowly start to spontaneously move, just as if your brakes have been taken off.

The process of unwinding is not a technique; it can’t be done to someone, it is a spontaneous experience. It is not a prerequisite and some clients never need to, or will, unwind and that’s ok. Our trauma patterns become embodied through our fascia and our nervous system. Feeling trust and feeling safe are what is important in learning to let go, the process will be unique for everyone, there is no specific way this should occur.

How does fascia respond to touch?

Fascia loves slow gentle pressure!

Myofascial release is a different approach to that of massaging muscles of the body. A muscle knot can be addressed with a stronger pressure but fascia cannot be forced as it will naturally meet that force in return.

This approach to bodywork is gentle. You will be guided to notice your breath and your body. Using the appropriate level of touch for each individual, I intuitively sense what pressure to use and when and where to touch, using Myofascial Release techniques to locate and release tension and holding patterns.

Gentle sustained, pressure facilitates release.

A Somatic Approach

Somatic therapy guides you to focus on your underlying physical sensations. A session may include breath work, visualisation, massage, grounding and trauma informed mindfulness.

Fascia plays a critical role in the central nervous system through the dural tube that encases the brain and spinal cord – these membrane layers of fascia contain and protect your entire central nervous system.

Myofascial Release provides a gateway via the body (the soma) for emotional factors to be addressed and resolved. Emotional Processing can be used to dive deeper and to help you explore and address the emotional factors involved in your chronic pain.

The Mind-Body Connection

Myofascial Release promotes the philosophy that the mind and body work together to maintain health and well being.

The body ‘remembers’ postural positions, actions and emotions without the conscious mind telling it to do so. Your body is a repository of information which provides access to your emotions and belief systems.

Supplying the central nervous system with new information (awareness) allows for bio mechanical change as well as improved potential and consciousness.

Trauma Informed Bodywork can help the physical and emotional content of stressful life experience to be processed and integrated in a safe and gentle way, allowing you to heal at the deepest level.

Curious to know more about fascia? Dip into the publications on the Fascia Research website >

Photos
Footsteps on beach: Zack Minor on Unsplash
Sunset: Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

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