The Bodywork Perspective – Dealing with Muscular Tension

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Muscular Tension

neutral posture

We’ll be continually be referring to neutral positions for the body and its parts.

A neu­tral posi­tion, from a mus­cu­lar ten­sion per­spec­tive, needs lit­tle effort to main­tain. Which is why I keep encour­ag­ing you to exper­i­ment with each and every posi­tion. Feel what mus­cles you have to tense and short­en, which mus­cles have to let go and stretch to assume non-neu­tral positions.

Here’s the point: each unre­solved emo­tion­al or phys­i­cal trau­ma caus­es mus­cles to con­tract, and the oppos­ing mus­cles to stretch.

Human bod­ies are dynam­ic processes.

If you flex your biceps (go ahead!) and look in a mir­ror, you’ll see that the biceps con­tracts and the tri­ceps (the oppos­ing mus­cle, under the arm below the biceps) stretch­es and relax­es. If you extend and tight­en the tri­ceps, the biceps relax­es and stretch­es. Dynamic.

Now, imag­ine flex­ing your biceps and leav­ing it flexed. For, say, a month or two. First of all, after a few min­utes, your body would send pain sig­nals. Your arm might begin to spasm. If you choose to ignore your pain, block it, tune it out, even­tu­al­ly your biceps would shrink and the tri­ceps stretch, try­ing to reach sta­sis and to elim­i­nate the pain.

Were you then to straight­en your arm, (and this would not be easy!!!) your biceps would have to stretch, and your tri­ceps take up slack. Result? Pain.

Now, rec­og­nize that in each pos­ture that is not neu­tral, exact­ly this process has tak­en place. Mus­cles have stretched; oth­ers have con­tract­ed, away from neu­tral.

As you try these posi­tions, and hold them, you’ll feel pain. You might then won­der at the abil­i­ty of a per­son for whom this posi­tion is “nor­mal” to block the pain you are feel­ing. Block it they do. At the price of not feel­ing much at all in the con­tract­ed area.

Chi, or ener­gy, has trou­ble flow­ing through a tight­ened mus­cle. This results in less and less of the life force mov­ing through the body. Con­verse­ly, when the block releas­es, the per­son feels a flood of blocked emo­tions, as well as a flood of mov­ing energy.

To conclude: any position that is not neutral is maintained through the contraction of muscles, the blocking of pain and with an attendant loss of feeling in the BodyMindSpirit. Each blocked section “limits” the movement of chi, or life force. Freeing the blockage releases the muscle, the trapped emotion and the feelings that caused the muscle to tighten. Chi flows freely.

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