Imagine you’re lying on a bed undressed and tucked under a sheet. Your eyes are closed. Your body is relaxed. Your breathing is deep. Your mind travels with the soothing organ chords surrounding the dimly lit room.
Firm fingers glazed in coconut oil ease upward along your back kneading deeper into the muscles to unlock the deep-seated tension. Your body concedes with every stroke. The muscular knots dissipate. The energy begins to flow. Then unexpectedly, you begin to cry.
“It’s the power of letting go,” says Makeisha Rouson, a licensed massage and bodywork therapist and owner of Massages by Makeisha, a mobile massage therapy service in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Once you start taking those deep breaths, it starts allowing (clients) to release those things they've been holding on to for a very long time.”
Emotional release is a common reaction when repressed emotions, particularly those associated with traumatic experiences, are discharged provoking an emotional response such as crying or shaking.
Emotions are designed to flow through the body, according to the late Dr. John Upledger, an osteopathic physician, who along with Dr. Zvi Karni, a biophysicist, created SomatoEmotional Release, a massage technique that uses the power of touch to release emotional energy held in the body.
Positive emotions, such as joy and empowerment, move liberally throughout the body; whereas negative emotions, such as anger and resentment, when suppressed, are stored in the body’s connective tissue and can cause migraines, chronic neck and back pain.
Rouson, who has 11 years of massage therapy experience and specializes in medical, deep tissue, Swedish and Thai massage styles, says the touch-and-release technique is only effective when there’s a symbiotic relationship between her and her client.
“I think of it as a musical. I am the conductor and the client and I make a beautiful song together,” she says. “They tell me what kind of music (treatment) they're looking for, what type of issues they have. From there, we construct the notes.”
Although massage therapists are trained to facilitate an emotional release, Rouson recommends that clients who remain troubled by the emotional surge should seek professional medical assistance.
In addition to her mobile service, Rouson works at Anderson Family Chiropractor and Terminal Getaway Spa in Charlotte serving daily up to five and 12 clients respectively.
Her goal? Shoulders back, a calm look and a smile. “It’s one of those priceless feelings,” she says.