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A massage therapist that’s trained to understand the mind body connection can help you make sense of where the tears are coming from. The body is a storehouse of information and with the right guidance you can bring consciousness to patterned behaviors (e.g. chronically tight shoulders, torqued hips, tension headaches). Each of these physical ailments has an emotional story to tell.

Working from a holistic, integrative perspective, the body is viewed as a reflection of the whole person and of all lived experiences. The body is the home of emotions (including the non-conscious dynamics), belief systems and spiritual expression.

One way of understanding the mind body connection. An attuned bodywork therapist is sensitive to your level of activation. He or she knows how much pressure to place on your body, and where to place it. What happens in the body reverberates almost instantaneously in the brain. For instance, as the bodywork reduces tension in the body, it calms the mind. I’ve certainly seen this happen over and over in my work with Self-Regulation Therapy, a body-based approach. Intense, stressful thoughts diminish as the body settles down. (Which explains the popularity of yoga, tai chi and other mind-body regimens.)

Most people think it’s the other way around. They assume that the tension in their body is the result of their thoughts. And, yes, to some extent this is possible, but based on the way the nervous system operates, the reverse is more likely. That’s because most of our behavior, our thoughts and our emotions arise from bottom-up (i.e. they originate in the body) there are more one-way neuropathic connections going up from the body to the brain than there are going from the brain down into the body.

Bodywork includes all forms of massage techniques, as well as other types of touch and healing therapies that aim to enhance awareness of the mind-body connection. Any therapy, which involves touch or the application of pressure or vibration to tissues of the body, can be termed ‘bodywork’. But bodywork also includes those activities that might entail shifting body states consciously. For example, I am doing bodywork when I shift myself from an elevated heart rate and shallow breathing to a place of collected calm. These body-based practices share some common characteristics; such as the principles that the human body is self-regulating and has the ability to heal itself and that the parts of the human body are totally interdependent.