Good Energy Massage

Integrative therapy for the Body, Mind and Spirit.

Massage and Emotions

I was working with a client today and afterwards we were talking about his experience on my table. He said that at one point he almost felt like crying. I replied that it is not an uncommon thing for emotions to come up during a massage/bodywork session, and all emotions are welcome here. When we deny or stuff emotions, we inhibit our capacity for healing and growth and truly be in the now and live and authentic life.  When we look at ourselves, our body, mind and spirit and how they all play together it is no surprise that emotions can surface in a session. The challenge for most men and women is allowing themselves to be present for whatever comes up. I will certainly not judge them and invite them not to judge themselves.

Our life story starts at the moment we are conceived. Everything that happens to us is stored in our bodies or should I say our cells. Some memories are good and invoke feeling of warmth and security, some are bad memories that make us contract and clench our bodies. As a trained somatic therapist it is part of my training to deal with emotions. Emotions can be anything from anger, sadness, grief, panic, anxiety, frustration and even laughter and joy.  It can be a simple sigh of relief or a deep breath. It can a few tears. Some emotions may just be a sense of heat or cold in an area of the body.   “When the massage therapy begins to disrupt the underlying physical patterns behind the pain, then emotional patterns related to the chronic physical pattern may surface.” Psychology of the Body-Elliot Green

Sexual, physical and emotional trauma at any age can leave it’s imprint on bodies and emotions and leave our nervous systems overwhelmed and stuck in a fight, flight or freeze. Even the lack of touch and not taking time for our own needs can create a great deal of tension in the body. Overtime when we ignore our needs and emotions and do not allow them to discharge or be met in some way we can develop body armor.  Armoring (self protecting) in the body is a natural result of trauma that has not been dealt with or allowed to be discharged in a safe environment.  The effects of Trauma can be summarized as: chronic patterns of involuntary tension in the body that dampen or block emotional expression, alter perception of both the outer and inner psychological world, diminish or eliminate body felt sense awareness and even inhibit our range of motion. The war vet will think that a loud noise is a gunshot and duck and cover for protection. The man that was abused sexually/physically may think a touch with good intention is meant to do harm.  People in car accidents that experience impact /whiplash may experience a stiff neck and chronic upper body tension, migraines and even tense up when driving a car.  All these effects when ignored in the long run diminish our well being and quality of life.

As a trained Somatic therapist it is essential to offer a safe, nurturing environment.  In a world with so much chaos and demands more and more people are living with overwhelmed nervous systems and trauma. The skill of being present with the client is essential. Being present is: holding space with open heart, free of judgment and hidden agendas of any kind. When this space is created it can open the door where you can totally allow the experience and be present for whatever shows up. To do this requires  not only skill but  that you have done and are doing  do your own personal emotional work as well. With all my training and life experience I have had shed my won tears, faced my demons and have learned to set boundaries.

An emotional release is never expected. The point is to educate clients that if emotions do come up it is perfectly natural and part of growth and healing. And at some point if the client is truly showing up, surrendering to the experience and being present with themselves some form of emotional release is inevitable.

May 24, 2012 Posted by | Healing, Massage and Body Work, Sacred Intimacy, Somatic Experiencing | , , | Leave a comment

What is Somatic Experiencing Therapy

What is Somatic Experiencing?

Traditional forms of therapy to deal with chronic problems are focused solely on the thought and emotions of the client. Changing habits of thoughts and action are treated with cognitive therapy with great success. Processing deeper misconceptions of thought or emotions are addressed with success in more psycho-analytic based treatments that work with unearthing and healing childhood and relational issues.

However these two forms do not readily address issues that are rooted more deeply in the biology of the body. When traumatic events or developmental stressors like neglectful parenting occur, very often cognitive and psychoanalytic therapies do not succeed. The reason for this is that the dysfunctions in the biology of the body and nervous system are not being addressed.

Somatic Experiencing, as developed by Dr. Peter Levine, works specifically within this arena. In studying wild animals, who typically do not suffer from stress disorders in the same way as humans do, he found that there is a natural mechanism in all mammals that self regulates and heals trauma from within.

Natural pulsations and rhythms within the organism, such as breath, heart rate, sleep/wake cycles, digestion, and many more, are part of a natural resilience and resonance that manifests as health, or conversely as disease in our systems. Trained to recognize these rhythms as they manifest in the body, mind, and heart of clients, Somatic Experiencing Practitioners support clients first by supporting the clients “felt sense: experience. The practitioner is also observing the clients nervous system signals, and occasionally gently “nudging” them so that they can move towards discharging stored stress and trauma, and restoring natural rhythms and resilience to the client.

How does Somatic Experiencing Work?

Awareness Having a “felt sense” of the moment, or orientation to one’s surroundings is an essential first step to moving towards healing. Often this first step is overlooked, and in so doing, a frustration with a lack of progress occurs.
Resource Most forms of therapy work by looking for where the “problem” is, or the difficulty, and then focusing on that in order to heal it. Somatic Experiencing typically works by supporting what feels or is good in the moment, inviting the experience of the cup being “half-full” or of feeling good and relatively safe.
Titration: Working from a place of resource, with its inherent safety, moving towards challenging thoughts, feelings, or sensations arise naturally. Somatic Experiencing invites this natural movement to be gentle, and very small, named here titration after the term made famous by the science of chemistry, where only a tiny amount is added to a solution.
Pendulation: After this arising of a small amount of challenging material, the practitioner will invite the client to redirect their focus back to resource again, allowing the client to maintain a sense of safety even in relation to the challenging material that is present. This then becomes a swinging back and forth between the two sides.
•Discharge:Often after some gentle attention to pendulation, the nervous system will discharge stored stress in various ways. Involuntary movements, skin flushing, nausea, discomfort are among common symptoms that arise, which then allows the body more resilience and less stress.
Benefits of Somatic Experiencing :
o Less pain, tension, and anxiety
o Reframes and transforms current or past negative, abusive, and overwhelming experiences.
o Become more present and engaged in life.
o Increase resiliency to future stressors.
o Greater sense of ease, optimism and hope.
o Greater confidence.
o Greater sense of self and wholeness.
o Stronger sense of clarity and purpose.
o Deeper spiritual connection
o Improved ability to focus and concentrate.
o Greater sense of peace, ease and calm (in body, mind, heart and life).

January 13, 2011 Posted by | Healing, Somatic Experiencing | | Leave a comment

Somatic Experiencing Certification

 Last year I started a new traing in Somatic Experiencing with the Human Enrichment Foundation. I was drawn to the work after doing a one year introduction to Bioenergetic therapy and was referred to the SE work by one of the instructors . What drew me to the work was how it relates to the body and our emotions and how they affect one another. I have just completed the sixth class (Intermediate 3) and two more to go. Advanced 1 in June and Advanced 2 in October. I look forward to contiuing this joureny and to share the work with my clients.

What is Somatic Experiencing (SE for short)? 

In short, Somatic Experiencing allows your nervous system to gently release stress and trauma through body awareness, completing healthy instinctual and self-protective responses to events that have had a negative impact on your life.

What should I expect during an SE session?

Similar to talk therapy we will have a dialogue about you and your body. The SE work blends vert well with Cranial Sacral therapy,my Tantric sessions as well as my therapeutic massage. When the dialogue, the touch and enhancing your awarness  your nervous system can return to homeostasis.

During a session, I help you to deeply connect with the sensations of your body and help you to become consciously aware of your inner and outer resources that strengthen your health on all levels. Through this awareness, I will help you reduce the impact of mental, emotional and physical stress and trauma. My intent is to provide you with the experience of safety and calm while you transition your focus to joy, healing, and pleasure.

During a session, you may notice a gradual discharge of your nervous system. This occurs in several different ways: trembling, shaking, twitching, tingling and vibrating sensations. You may also become aware of temperature differences, expanded breathing, and skin and digestion sensations. Crying, laughing and yawning may be part of your experience as well. All these responses are therapeutic and often can come with a sense of unfamiliarity. Please be assured that these reactions are welcomed and restorative to your nervous system.

Somatic Experiencing is ideal for psychosomatic issues such as pains in the body that may be related to emotions. If you are suffering from syndromes or symptoms that cannot be explained medically, I strongly encourage you to explore Somatic Experiencing.
My clients have loved the integration of the work and have noticed a difference in there own healing and well being.

Please feel free to ask any questions if you would like to know more.

-Micahel Riley

April 22, 2010 Posted by | Healing, Somatic Experiencing, Workshops | | Leave a comment

How are you feeling? Your emotions and how they affect your body.


Many things that happen in your life can disrupt your emotional health and lead to strong feelings of sadness, stress or anxiety.

Your body responds to the way you think, feel and act. This is often called the “mind/body connection.” When you are stressed, anxious or upset, your body tries to tell you that something isn’t right. For example, high blood pressure or a stomach ulcer might develop after a particularly stressful event, such as the death of a loved one. The following can be physical signs that your emotional health is out of balance:

  • Back pain
  • Change in appetite
  • Chest pain
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Extreme tiredness
  • General aches and pains
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia (trouble sleeping)
  • Lightheadedness
  • Palpitations (the feeling that your heart is racing)
  • Sexual problems
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stiff neck
  • Sweating
  • Upset stomach
  • Weight gain or loss

Do you ever stop to notice the connection of how your mood is affecting your body and vice versa?

I do not provide psychological counseling. That is out of my scope of practice. However, I do offer support and help in bringing your awareness, growth and empowerment forward. I use somatic experiencing and other modalities, which creates awareness in deep, tangible and meaningful ways; helping you to manifest your true desires.

I am a Holistic Health Practitioner and I am neither a physician nor a psychologist and can not “diagnose” nor do I “treat” any medical conditions or psychological disorders.

Many of my clients have told me after a session how much better ther feel physically and mentally.

April 3, 2010 Posted by | Healing, Somatic Experiencing | , | Leave a comment