Muscle pain or Emotional Armouring

It is now becoming a mainstream concept that our psyche has a direct effect on our bodies (soma) and vica versa. However, most people still miss the chance to realise the ’cause and effect’ relation between their bodily suffering and their mental state.

Often when we feel vulnerable with slow self-esteem our posture collapses, our shoulders become rounded and our breathing turns shallow.
Likewise, when we feel stressed (threatened) our body naturally prepares for battle and starts using our muscular system as armoring. Unfortunately, our nervous system cannot make a differentiation between psycho-emotional and physical threats.
Whilst it is natural and necessary to experience stress, unfortunately, a lot of us (if not most of us) get trapped in a cycle of constant stress.

Phot depicting an anxous state. Asian male holding his head with finger tips.

Whether that will manifest as a hyperactivated or “frozen” state of our nervous system, it will also directly affect our musculoskeletal system. Which in return leads to misalignment, shortened and inactivated muscles.
Thus prolonged emotions often lead to muscle pain. In worse cases, to chronic debilitating pain.

Our body is a feedback system that is constantly telling us how we feel and where we need adjustment. It is our choice wether to listen or not.
In any case our choices will lead to consequences.

There are at least 71 channels or pathways used in Chinese Medicine.
They all have different purpose and effect when accessed during an Acupuncture session.
However there are 12 sinew channels -encompassing all muscles, tendons, ligaments- that a Tuina Massage therapist works with predominantly.

In terms of Chinese Medicine, people experiencing high amount of stress and anxiety usually leads to the qi (vital energy) to be trapped in the upper part of the body.
You don’t even have to imagine it. Just pay attention to your body when this happens. You will feel as you cannot breath deep into your abdomen, you chest might feel a bit heavy and constricted. Your shoulder (especially your trapezius muscle) will tighten and raise your shoulder. You might even feel tension in your neck as in something is pulling on it -from around a place between your scapula.

This is a basic explanation of when certain Sinew channel pathways become tense and constricted. The real problem is however, when these muscles groups are shortened for a prolonged time, as they will literally start building up armour -especially around the shoulder- that will feel like wood or concrete. Thus ’emotional armouring’.

Photo showing the use of cupping for back pain
Cuping therapy for backpain

There are many ways to reverse this process, however it will always require consistency and investment.
Wether you go for massages regularly, be seen by an osteopath or attend yoga classes. Real, long lasting change will only happen if you bild awareness in your body.
You will need to leave behind aggravating habits and pick up new ones that help to release this armour causing you muscle pain.

That is why Qigong and Tai Chi classes are excellent. Because you not only learn exercises to help and relax both your body and mind. But you also build -over time- deep awareness in your body and your life.

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