4 November 2009 0 Comments

Freeing the Heart Through the Body

Freeing the heart—physically–can help free your heart in the metaphorical sense.

A regular body therapy client came in with jaw, neck and shoulder muscles unusually tense. He seemed subdued, his voice too quiet. When I asked how he was doing his mood was fine. I knew from his muscle tension pattern that he’d been up to something like over-lifting. I asked a series of questions to find out. “I can’t think of anything,” he said.

Ten minutes later he remembered lifting eighty pounds and carrying it up some steps. I stopped what I was doing, aware of his chest. It did not respond normally to massage. Somehow I could see that his pericardium—the sack around his heart—was bound up in his chest.

Freeing Heart LilyI’m not sure how I see this kind of thing but I do. I had to untwist his rib and sternum muscles before I could address his pericardium. The moment it released his chest relaxed. His breathing and the way his chest and back moved when I pressed on him were totally different.

Several interesting things happened. His voice changed. It was brighter and livelier. He suddenly started talking more, with greater animation. And his memory got better. He now remembered moving huge suitcases. Circulation from heart to brain had improved.

My client said he felt a lot better, more open through his chest, but hadn’t noticed it was a problem until I corrected it. I hear this often.

We easily become habituated to sensation so we don’t notice it. Layers of twisted and stuck-together tissue limit movement, sensation, feeling and expression. This is a huge factor in the experience of AGING. We get bound up inside ourselves.

Tissue restriction can put a strain on organs. When bone, muscle, ligaments that hold organs in place, and the linings of organs cannot move freely this structural tension restricts the flow of blood, nerve, lymph, and energy. Numerous medical conditions can be prevented by skilled structural work.

Culturally, we think of structure, movement, and emotion as separate functions. The body is not burdened by the notion that we are parts and pieces. All of it works as one. Structural restriction impacts every kind of function. When we are free and flexible in our bodies feeling heart-centered and emotionally warm comes more naturally. Freeing the physical heart frees the emotional heart too.

What have you noticed about the way body therapies change the way you express yourself?

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