Repressed Emotions, Your Body Aches and Pains, and Massage

Repressed Emotions, Your Body Aches and Pains, and Massage

We are often taught to push away negative feelings because they are unpleasant and difficult to deal with. While hiding our emotions from our awareness may feel relieving in the moment, the feelings do not simply disappear. Instead, our unwanted emotions are stored as energy within our body and, if not released, can result in symptoms of physical pain and discomfort.  The cycle that occurs in this process is as follows:

“Negative emotions aren’t as welcome as positive emotions. When we experience sadness, anger, resentment, loneliness or sorrow, we feel it deeply. And because it hurts, we sometimes suppress those parts of ourselves to keep the pain from intensifying or spreading. Imbalances often occur when we resist an emotion and its natural path through the body.  Resistance can cause an emotion to lock into body tissue, eventually leading to physical ailments. ~ John Upledger, DO, OMM”


This Psychology Today’s article ( helps shed further light on this phenomenon by offering information about physical points on the body or overall conditions that might be symptomatic of you holding on to specific emotions that are causing you pain or discomfort (Hint: “pain in the neck” is not just a colloquial expression!!)

  • Overall Fatigue – stress and resentment
  • Neck and Shoulder Discomfort- struggles with too many responsibilities
  • Headaches – loss of control
  • Heart and Chest pain- hurt
  • Stomach and Intestinal Distress – fear
  • Lower Back pain – anger
  • Numbness throughout the body – trauma

While this map may not exactly represent your personal territory, there is an undisputed known relationship between repressed emotions and physical ailments.


How does this relate to Massage? 

Besides providing relaxation and release of muscle tension and tissue release, massage can also provide the mechanism for the release of emotions. The release can be recognized through sounds such as sighs, laughter or tears and all can commonly occur during a treatment where the environment is safe and nurturing. During a massage therapy session, build ups of stress over extended periods of time can hold long-forgotten emotions. As the body relaxes during deep tissue massage or other techniques, the emotions held under the stress are given a pathway out of the body.

In a safe environment under the skilled hands of a massage therapist,  one of the most natural, beneficial and cleansing gifts you can give yourself is the opportunity of massage to help you let go of the emotions that can be at the heart of  your pain or chronic discomfort.




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