Is Myofascial Unwinding all in the Mind?

In What is Myofascial Unwinding? I talked about one of the most common outward signs of gentle myofascial unwinding. But unwinding isn’t just a physical thing and it’s not just myofascial release therapists who recognise it. Unwinding is a mind/body healing process recognised in other therapies.

John Upledger, a well-known osteopath and scientific researcher who developed cranio-sacral therapy, believes that if the body suffers injury through physical impact then the tissues retain the energy of that impact until it is released physically. While practitioners of somatic experiencing believe that emotional trauma can result in physical effects, which can be released through a combination of bodywork and talk therapy. These ideas are linked to concepts like tissue memory or muscle memory.

In more mainstream therapies Freudian psychoanalysts link mental distress with physiological dysfunction. And we’ve all heard the (much misused) term psychosomatic illness, ‘psyche’ meaning the mind and ‘soma’ being the body.

Within all of these disciplines and ideas is a recognition of the mind/body relationship and some concept of unwinding, although not everyone uses that term. So it will come as no surprise that unwinding can be an emotional release that results in physical benefits.

Just as physical unwinding occurs at the body’s own pace, so emotional release and unwinding happens within a person’s own natural comfort zone according to their individual inclinations and needs. I have worked with clients whose unwindings in or after sessions have ranged from:

• drifting memories and a dawning realisation of certain connections
• powerful sensations of reliving an injury or event that result in the sudden release of physical symptoms
• exuberant laughing, talking or singing that just feels good

However you do it, unwinding is good.

No doubt I will come back to the endlessly fascinating subject of myofascial unwinding again and again.


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