The Healing Benefits of Massage

Emotions are stored in the body. We all can feel when we are stressed and our neck feels tight or when our stomach feels upset but it often takes more awareness to connect our emotions to what is happening in the body. We can carry emotional baggage in our bodies for years without even being aware of it. This is where massage therapy can really help bring awareness and facilitate release and healing. Here is an article about the healing benefits of massage and how it can support emotional and physical well being. Enjoy! – Lauren Monroe Allen

The Healing Benefits of Massage

By Shirley Vanderbilt.

Originally published in Body Sense magazine, Spring 2002. Copyright 2003. Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals. All rights reserved.


Touch. We come into this world being touched, and we hopefully can leave being touched. Whatever our experiences in this life, touch is usually involved in some form.

Each time we are touched, the emotions related to that touch are stored in our mind and in our body’s tissues. We not only store the emotions of pleasure and happiness, but also stress and fear. These stored experiences show up in bad posture, aches and pains or, when we’re fortunate, healthy, functioning muscles and joints. Just as it takes the use of more muscles to frown than to smile, the effort it takes to tuck away experiences or feelings we’d rather forget can cause fatigue and painful tension.

When you receive a massage, the muscles and tissues release on an emotional level in much the same way they release physical tension.

This letting go manifests in many forms — an audible sigh, laughter, muscle twitching or even tears. In the safe, nurturing space of a therapy room, people are able to let down their defenses, making these kinds of emotional releases a common occurrence.

“Crying is a pretty normal response,” says C.G. Funk, branch director at the Utah College of Massage Therapy, Arizona campus. It can be about something in particular, or about nothing at all. “It can come from a variety of things, including having work done on a part of the body where the person holds the memory of emotional or physical trauma. Of course, physical trauma has an emotional component, too.”

Massage also allows the body to let go of stress.

“It may be that the client has had a stressed-out year, or month, or several months and all the stress is built up,” says Funk. In some cases, the body may be holding the memory of a trauma long forgotten. When your body finally relaxes, that memory can surface as you become more connected to being in your body. There may be tears or some other expression as your body releases and lets go of these emotions.

Massage therapists are accustomed to these emotional expressions from their clients and have been trained to help you feel safe and supported when overwhelmed by these events. If this happens to you during a massage session, and you feel too uncomfortable to continue, just let the therapist know. The two of you can decide how to proceed next.

Remember that emotional release during bodywork is not unusual and is actually a natural and beneficial part of the cleansing, rejuvenating process of massage.

After a few moments, you may choose to continue the massage, or request the therapist work more slowly or only on certain areas. But if you decide not to go on, that’s okay, too.

Massage is a healing touch that relaxes and releases. Welcome that release, accept it as your body’s way of finding balance and leading you to a higher state of health, both emotionally and physically. If you find yourself on the massage table laughing or crying, you are in a true state of body-mind connection. Go with the experience. Relax, breathe deeply and allow your body and mind to free itself of the past.


Lauren Monroe Allen


Lauren Monroe Allen, MA, LMT is a healing intuitive, teacher, author and musician. A wife, mother and co-founder of the Raven Drum Foundation and Project Resiliency, she brings her life-long knowledge of spiritual healing and energy medicine practice to wounded warriors, teens, and communities in crisis.

One thought on “The Healing Benefits of Massage

  1. Been a carpenter for 26 years
    Learned Reiki 10 years ago it works
    Every time I build , the spirit tells me in some way to stop
    I entered the hospitals 30 days ago for 30 days almost died two weeks ago from lung clots from hospital mistakes.
    During this time I was told to drop carpentry and go full time reiki and bring my daughter along to do massages..

    Coincidence the contest to meet Rick started..he has been my hero and inspiration for thirty years …and now I am even more inspired finding out about you by his side…once again while I was down ,as a fellow drummer as well, I’m reminded by his struggle that I too can find it inside myself to lift that light that is inside me and beat this thing that doctors said ,I should not be here.
    The art is awesome but finding this page is an inner blessing as well. I’m back and I’m following the path that I should of been on ten years ago…
    I follow the coincidences in my life as signs that I’m going in the right direction ….don’t know how to explain but you and your husband have been a sign and I thank you for all you continue to do for me and the other spirits on our plan.
    God bless the thunder God, more importantly God bless your whole family …

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