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Emotional Release

Things to Know About Emotional Release

Things To Know About Emotional Release


What it Is, How it Works

Emotional content includes feelings, issues, beliefs, judgments, and attitudes.

If we are preoccupied with more pressing matters or lack the skills and/or safety to process or express the feeling, the nervous system will automatically park emotional content in the tissues
. This is normal. It protects our sanity and enables us to function and survive.

Most of us probably have hundreds of discrete “contents” parked in our bodies.

Like glue, content stored in tissue often produces mechanical restrictions, congestion, toxin buildup and, ultimately, pathology.

Most content is not highly charged or a big deal. It’s more like lint. Its importance stems from its negative impacts on our health and life.

The content may have originally belonged to someone else. Regardless of its origin, your letting go of content will not hurt someone else. But it will help you.


Your cerebral cortex and ego will not show you content that you can’t handle. It will only show us content we both can handle. These are also survival strategies.

Letting Go Of Content

Typically, I only ask about the possibility of parked content when restrictions do not respond to manual therapy alone. However, the cause could also be scar tissue or adhesions, the abnormal stickiness between adjacent tissues.

When I ask about the possibility of content, I will usually give you an out. If I ask a leading question, I will usually warn you and give you the option of not sharing your answer with me, should it be too personal or painful.

When there is content, you always have a choice: Let it go, or keep it. There are compelling reasons to let go, and I can help you get there if you want.

You’ve probably worked through most of your content mentally. That’s the story. The history is in the tissue. Releasing content from the tissue is a snap.


At its essence, content is just stuck energy. Unfortunately, it anchors us in the past. Releasing this energy frees us to a more functional present.

You’re In Charge

I have decades of experience helping patients release content. But the choice to do emotional work is always yours. You have a right to not do emotional release work at any time.

Many times neither you nor I need know the nature of the content. All your body wants is your permission to let it go.

Should a particular content prove too personal or embarrassing, you need not reveal it
. I can still help you release it. Typically, all that you need to do is acknowledge it to yourself, and let go of it.

If something is particularly tenacious, I can help you get the upper hand.

If my questions seem too intrusive, please indicate your discomfort or reluctance as best as you can. Bodywork is a collaboration between you and I.

I will not judge you for setting limits. In fact, I’m likely to be pleased. My job is to provide you safety and tools. If you don’t feel safe, please let me know so I can resolve the problem.


My approach to emotional release will add to your tools and life skills. Before long, you’ll be finding and releasing your content when you are on your own. My goal is to make you autonomous and healthy.


Your Privacy

Because your personal history is private, I keep no records about emotional releases. The most I ever chart is “SER” which stands for SomatoEmotiional Release, a CranioSacral Therapy term for releasing emotions stored in the tissue, or soma. Often, I don’t even write down SER.

© Mike Macy, LMT, CST, AT, NCBMTB

Emotional Release Pt 4

Emotional Release: It’s Not What You Think Part 4

All of us have emotion parked in our tissues. Lots of it. Most of it is no big deal. However, sometimes our ego tells us we aren’t strong enough to handle this content, but usually that’s not true—ego is all about survival and likes to be in control. And of course, when we repress something for years, our psyches may imbue it with super-human power. It’s like the noise we hear in closet in the dark when we’re little and trying to fall asleep. If our parents don’t respond to our pleas and come open the closet door and see that our jeans just fell off the hanger, within no time at all, we’re convinced that there’s a monster in there.

In contemplating whether ego is correct about our inability to handle buried content, it’s worth remembering two things: First, that you are older, stronger, wiser, and have more personal resources and an entire support system to bring to bear on the issue. And secondly, that this is a therapeutic situation—you are in charge, you are safe, and you have a powerful ally in your corner who’s done this himself and helped thousands of patients do this tens of thousands of times. So, POP! Goes the weasel.

Today, we also know that emotions, issues, beliefs, and attitudes parked in tissue are really just stuck energy. Typically, releasing that stuck energy from the tissue is as easy as finding it and being willing to let it go. If there is any resistance, it’s usually about either not understanding the process or, if our whole life has been organized around the problem or diagnosis, the resistance arises from our being fearful about embarking on an unknown path. A good bodyworker can help you negotiate with the resistance and navigate through these uncharted waters. Your bodyworker may have waded through them him- or herself.

So if the idea of emotional release scares you, think again. Usually, after an emotional release, my patients feel as if a huge weight has been lifted off them. In many ways, Winston Churchill was correct when he said, “The only thing to fear is fear itself.” After 20 years in the business, I can almost guarantee that nothing will ever come up that we can’t handle. And meanwhile, we aren’t getting any younger. A pain-free, joyous life is passing us by. Come on in. The water is great.

Emotional Release was published in four parts - read them all!

Emotional Release Pt 3

Emotional Release: It’s Not What You Think Part 3

We often reach a point where the patient says, “But I worked on that and put it behind me, years ago!” My patient probably isn’t telling a lie. He or she probably has worked through this material before, but in their head. The story may be in the head, but the actual content, the history, isn’t. It’s in the tissues—where we found it.

It’s parked in the tissue because whenever we have an emotional overload, our nervous system automatically dumps the emotion into our tissues. Our body does this to keep us from going crazy and to enable us to continue to function and, most importantly, survive. Like that patient, you’re probably conscious of most of your traumas, and you’ve probably worked through most of them in your head, too. So what is there to fear?

If the patient is ready to let go of the stored content and gives the tissues permission to let go of it, that content is finally gone, at least in the sense of it no longer producing entropy/chaos in the patient’s body and life. If the patient wants or needs to work on the content at some future time, fine; the content will always be available for that, but it will no longer be creating problems.

Typically, if someone has worked through something in their minds, releasing the content from the tissues is very quick--at most minutes, and usually there is no muss or fuss. In other words, this final step often proceeds without the emotional drama that so many people seem to fear—unnecessarily it turns out. Releasing content from your body is simply a decision: “Yes, I’m willing to let it go!” followed by a permission: Go. Be on your way!” We may do a brief visualization or breathing exercise for good measure, but often even this small effort may be superfluous.

Thirty or forty years ago, experts believed that the bigger the drama the bigger the trauma, and the bigger the trauma, the bigger the drama. This misconception may stem from the fact that, by its very nature, drama grabs our attention. Today, however, we know that the most important releases often are barely perceptible. Even though there are measurable, palpable changes to the tissues involved, a sigh, a breath, a softening in the tissue, the tiniest tear, may be the most obvious external indication that a person has finally dispatched a lifelong trauma. Even when there are lots of tears, by the time the patient is off the table ten or fifteen minutes later, their face full of color, radiant; they usually look about ten years younger; and the vast majority are beaming.

Emotional Release part four will be published soon - plan to visit in several days

Emotional Release Pt 2

Emotional Release - It’s Not What You Think! Part 2

Here’s how it works: When a restriction resists gentle, hands-on techniques, this can be a clue that there is some sort of content holding the restriction in place—and waiting to be addressed. To find out, assuming my patient is willing, I begin by asking their body: “Is the restriction we’re working on primarily physical, emotional, spiritual, or a combo?”

For someone who’s never talked directly to their tissues, this may seem like a leap. And it can take some getting used to. But my approach has several advantages, both immediate and long-term. It saves a great deal of time. It avoids any possibility of me telling people what their stuff is, even if I thought I knew. And it eliminates any risk of the therapist projecting his or her stuff onto the patient, which unfortunately does happen. It more fully involves patients in their own healing. In fact, it puts them where they belong, in the driver’s seat. Finally, after just a little practice, patients are empowered to work on themselves any time, anywhere, should the need or interest arises.

I wouldn’t be asking if I’d managed to release the restriction without my patient’s assistance. So I may have my suspicions, but my agenda is always to do what’s best for my patient, not demonstrate my psychic prowess, or lack thereof. My patient is completely free to report what he or she hears in his or her mind. In fact, if the content is something the patient doesn’t want to share, I’m fine with that, too. But I encourage them to at least hear it. Either way, we proceed according to what they hear and to the extent that their willing to proceed.

I there’s resistance, it’s there for a reason. Assuming the patient is willing, we will try to understand it. We will try to negotiate it. But we will never overpower it. That is absolutely inappropriate. Recently, I was working with a young girl. She had a restriction in her right lung and the beginning of scoliosis in her thoracic spine. She is right at that age when girls are most prone to developing scoliosis. When she explored the restriction, she discovered some content. She wasn’t willing to share it or let it go. All I could do was explain why there might be a better way to deal with things and left it at that. When she came back several weeks later, there’d been a shift in her family dynamics, the restriction had eased significantly, and she was willing to let go of the rest.

Here’s how it works: When a restriction resists gentle, hands-on techniques, this can be a clue that there is some sort of content holding the restriction in place—and waiting to be addressed. To find out, assuming my patient is willing, I begin by asking their body: “Is the restriction we’re working on primarily physical, emotional, spiritual, or a combo?”

For someone who’s never talked directly to their tissues, this may seem like a leap. And it can take some getting used to. But my approach has several advantages, both immediate and long-term. It saves a great deal of time. It avoids any possibility of me telling people what their stuff is, even if I thought I knew. And it eliminates any risk of the therapist projecting his or her stuff onto the patient, which unfortunately does happen. It more fully involves patients in their own healing. In fact, it puts them where they belong, in the driver’s seat. Finally, after just a little practice, patients are empowered to work on themselves any time, anywhere, should the need or interest arises.

I wouldn’t be asking if I’d managed to release the restriction without my patient’s assistance. So I may have my suspicions, but my agenda is always to do what’s best for my patient, not demonstrate my psychic prowess, or lack thereof. My patient is completely free to report what he or she hears in his or her mind. In fact, if the content is something the patient doesn’t want to share, I’m fine with that, too. But I encourage them to at least hear it. Either way, we proceed according to what they hear and to the extent that their willing to proceed.

I there’s resistance, it’s there for a reason. Assuming the patient is willing, we will try to understand it. We will try to negotiate it. But we will never overpower it. That is absolutely inappropriate. Recently, I was working with a young girl. She had a restriction in her right lung and the beginning of scoliosis in her thoracic spine. She is right at that age when girls are most prone to developing scoliosis. When she explored the restriction, she discovered some content. She wasn’t willing to share it or let it go. All I could do was explain why there might be a better way to deal with things and left it at that. When she came back several weeks later, there’d been a shift in her family dynamics, the restriction had eased significantly, and she was willing to let go of the rest.

Emotional Release part three will be published soon - plan to visit in several days

Emotional Release Pt 1

Emotional Release: It’s Not What You Think Part 1


People who haven’t experienced the release of emotions from their bodies in a therapeutic setting are sometimes daunted by the prospect. Needlessly so.

Often, emotional content arises unbidden. When it does, we deal with it.
I’ve never seen it result in a problem the patient couldn’t manage. There is a very strong part of each of us that will not allow anything to come to the surface that we can’t handle at the time. I’ve experienced this personally as a patient and as a bodyworker.

I’ve had two patients where what came up was part of a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the patients could have dealt with it right then and there but chose not. So we let it go.

Different therapists have different approaches to emotional release work. Mine is to give the patient the reins. This may seem scary, but it isn’t. In fact, it’s particularly helpful for those who most need it, those who have been victims at one time or another. This way they directly experience and practice the opposite of powerlessness, being in charge. Who doesn’t like being in control?

This is part one of a series - part two will be publlshed soon so plan to visit in several days