Body Work and Emotions

When receiving body work such as myofascial release or cranial osteopathy, it is possible you may have an emotional reaction during or following the treatment .

It is believed by some practitioners that this phenomenon may be due to traumatic “memories” stored in your body through your fascia (connective tissue) surrounding your muscles and bones .

This may be due to the body’s (somatic) responses to your fight-or-flight (sympathetic) nervous system at the time of a traumatic event.

Craniosacral therapists call this SomatoEmotional Release and other body workers may call this Myofascial Unwinding .

This reaction has shown in a small number of patients to improve symptoms of depression.

In fact, there are now developing models to integrate traumatic emotional responses with your body’s response such as Somatic Experiencing that has shown improvements in some patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).


  • Understand that it may be a normal and potentially healing response to previous trauma.
  • Consider seeking additional therapies to address any possible traumas
    • Dialectic Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Psychedelic/MDMA Assisted Therapy, Somatic Experiencing, Exposure Therapy
  • Ensure you have a trusting relationship with your manual therapist in a safe set and setting.


Understanding the process of fascial unwinding. Minasny B. Int J Ther Massage Bodywork. 2009;23:10–17.

Does fascia hold memories? Tozzi P. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2014;18(2):259-265.

Trauma energetics. Oschman JL. J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2006;10:21–34.

SomatoEmotional Release: Deciphering the Language of Life. Upledger, John E. North Atlantic Books, 2002.

Efficacy of myofascial unwinding and myofascial release technique in a patient with somatic symptoms – a case report. Goyal M et al. Indian J Psychol Med. 2017;39(2):199-201

Somatic Experiencing for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Outcome Study. Brom D, Stokar Y, Lawi C, Nuriel-Porat V, Ziv Y, Lerner K, Ross G. J Traum Stress. 2017;30(3):304-312.

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