Emotions play a huge role in our lives, but often they can take themselves off on a joy ride – even if we’re expecting a relaxing countryside jaunt! It’s hard not to be affected when our emotions become unregulated. From anxiety to depression, OCD to panic attacks, it can cause a whole raft of problems. In some cases, there is no trigger. In others, it comes from life stresses or illness, and in some cases, emotions have been damaged which interfere with your ability to feel happiness and well-being.
The biggest problem with this is that it becomes a vicious cycle in which we’re constantly battling a skewed version of the world, which harms both our physical and mental health. It can impact our relationships, keeping us in a constant state of fight or flight.
One of the greatest ways we can overcome these hurdles is with emotional release techniques. They help to free stuck emotional energy and, if you’re anything like me, they are ideal if you don’t want to start taking prescribed medications. They offer a natural intervention that can be worked around your life. Although it requires you to work hard at overcoming your problems, emotional release therapy is able to free you from painful thoughts or memories on release. It can help your distress fade away.
There are many popular emotional release techniques, with much research and anecdotal evidence showing their many benefits. I had to try several before finding some that really worked for me, applying them to my emotional challenges and circumstances to see the personal benefits. A particular favourite was Somato-Emotional Release Therapy. Developed in 2002 by John E. Upledger, author of ‘Somato Emotional Release’, SER offers an advanced version of CranioSacral Therapy, utilising common methods from this practice but also expanding on these principles to help rid your mind and body of trauma.
CranioSacral Therapy is a form of alternative therapy that involves manipulating the synarthrodial joints of the cranium, as well as sometimes combining this with some light touches on the spine and pelvic bones of the patient. It is an alternative therapy that tunes into an individual on a very subtle level, interacting with the patient’s body and allowing it to respond.
Somato-Emotional Release also looks to work the body and mind through touch. ‘Somata’ means ‘body’ in Greek, and the focus is very much on healing the body through physical contact, combined with verbal insight. Dr Upledger, the founder of SER, developed this therapy from his experience with patients, in which he noticed that many physical symptoms weren’t able to become fully released and healed until an emotional component had also been treated. He began to identify ways in which the mind and body were connected, and how physical tissue releases could help the brain also release trapped emotions.
The therapeutic application aims to see the body and mind as connected, rather than separate entities, such as much other medicine believes. The body tissues are worked by a trained professional, which then helps to release any retained trauma trapped emotionally. It can be applied in many ways, although importantly, it will be gentle.
In my first session, I met with a practitioner who asked me about how I was feeling, what I was sensing and whether I could notice anything happening within my body. It is important to be honest and open, and often I would recall images or memories. This gave the practitioner some vital clues to help dig deeper and provide the physical and mental changes that I was looking for. In the end, I saw changes in how I felt, the way I moved, my posture, activity levels and general health.