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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