Bodywork Exercises — Opening the Chest

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REMINDER: If you want to learn to do “real” Body­work, you must find a qual­i­fied teacher — some­one who has “hands on” expe­ri­ence — and there­fore can help you to learn to judge the amount of pres­sure to apply.

That being said, apply­ing mod­er­ate pres­sure while play­ing with these exer­cis­es will give you feel for what Body­work is about.


Impor­tant cautions

Please note the fol­low­ing impor­tant cau­tions before fol­low­ing this exercise.

Not all exer­cise is suit­able for every­one, and this or any exer­cise pro­gramme may result in injury. Con­sult with your doc­tor before you use the exer­cis­es from the The Phoenix Cen­tre for Cre­ative Liv­ing’s Body­work pages and videos.

To reduce the risk of injury, nev­er force or strain your­self dur­ing exer­cise. If you feel pain, stop and seek med­ical atten­tion if nec­es­sary. Those with spe­cial health con­sid­er­a­tions should con­sult their med­ical prac­ti­tion­er before per­form­ing any exercise.

The cre­ators, pro­duc­ers, per­form­ers of The Phoenix Cen­tre for Cre­ative Liv­ing’s Body­work pages and videos can­not guar­an­tee that this prod­uct is suit­able and safe for every individual.

Any lia­bil­i­ty, loss or dam­age in con­nec­tion with the use of The Phoenix Cen­tre for Cre­ative Liv­ing’s Body­work pages instruc­tion, includ­ing but not lim­it­ed to any lia­bil­i­ty, loss or dam­age aris­ing from the per­for­mance of the exer­cis­es demon­strat­ed here, or any advice or infor­ma­tion pro­vid­ed by The Phoenix Cen­tre for Cre­ative Liv­ing’s Body­work pages in the videos, or on the web­site, is express­ly disclaimed.

CHEST Release

A brief video featuring Bodywork on the chest

Chest Release

The chest area is noto­ri­ous for hold­ing ten­sion in var­i­ous “lay­ers.” The longer you work and the deep­er you go, the grater the vari­ety of emo­tions: for exam­ple, sad­ness, grief, hap­pi­ness, and joy.

It is not for noth­ing that we have the expres­sion,
“Get­ting things off of your chest.”

Pres­sure is applied into the Inter­costal spaces, (the orange areas on the illustration). 

The Inter­costal spaces are locat­ed out­side of the ster­num (green) and between the ribs (yel­low.)

Please note the“between” part.

CAUTION, at the base of the sternum is a little bone called the zyphoid process (blue.)
You must never apply pressure to the xiphoid process, as it’s easily broken.

The eas­i­est way to find the xiphoid process is to run your fin­gers up the bot­tom of the rib-cage, until they meet on the ster­num. Then, slide your fin­ger down the ster­num about 2 inch­es. You are now “on” the xiphoid process. 

The Chest Release Process

The key to this exer­cise is for the recip­i­ent to keep breath­ing through­out. Emo­tions are like­ly to be trig­gered, and they can be scary. Often when we are scared we hold our breath. So, the per­son doing the work needs to care­ful­ly mon­i­tor the recip­i­ent to see that they keep breath­ing, deeply and rhythmically.

Recipient: Begin by assuming the regular breathing position. Close your eyes. Begin the breathing cycle.

Giv­er: Mon­i­tor the flow of breath­ing, and encour­age the recip­i­ent to breathe smooth­ly and deeply.

  • Per­son Giv­ing: Begin at the top of the rib-cage, below the clav­i­cles. Press into the top pair of Inter­costal spaces. The pres­sure is firm and straight down.

    Recip­i­ent: work at mak­ing nois­es on the out breath. If emo­tions come up (like tears, anger, sob­bing, etc.,) let them happen. 

  • Per­son Giv­ing: work down the chest, into each Inter­costal space, (in pairs, either side of the ster­num) until you reach the “mark­er point,” below which is the zyphoid process area.

    Also, note that the Inter­costal space extends between the ribs all the way around the body. You can move out­ward from the ster­num, between the ribs, if you choose. First time, though, lim­it your pres­sure to next to the ster­num in the Inter­costal spaces.

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