Emotional Tension

By Dr Guy Ashburner | January 4, 2015

Emotional Tension

The word emotional tension refers to positive or negative feelings that are produced by particular situations.One way in which the body protects itself from emotional intensity is the development of chronic musculartension. Our emotional life has an enormous impact on our structure. Every thought and feeling registers inour muscles and joints, and our emotional structure and physical structure blend to make up who we are,and how we act and react. For example, think a happy thought, then look at your posture. Now comparethis with the effect of a sad thought.

Too much muscular tension impairs health because it constricts and inhibits normal physiology. Nervoussystem (feelings and thoughts), breathing, and the venous and lymphatic circulation, which are responsiblefor clearing the body of toxins. Stress (anger and anxiety) repressed inner turmoil translates in the body astension at every level (visceral/muscular/autonomic), and contributes to many health conditions.Psychological and emotional attitudes are always represented in the body structure. Fear, grief, and angereach have a characteristic posture and pattern of movement. An emotional response immediatelyprecipitates contraction of muscles and movement away from structural balance. Then gravity pulls thestructure downward, making the body compressed resulting in imbalance and compensation in other partsof the body. Altered structural tension always results in and altered physiological function.

While physical patterns can become solidified from psychological attitudes, the converse is also true. Aphysical trauma, for example a childhood fall off a horse, a slip from a bicycle, or a motor crash, caninfluence the emotional state. A relatively simple accident which nevertheless leaves the body misalignedand out of balance can affect the psychological sense of the individual. Chronic and severe pain is verydebilitating and can itself cause mental stress.

Recovery from an emotional shock requires adaptability of movement of the musculoskeletal system, anability to return the body toward the ideal posture. If an individual continues to dramatize an emotionalsituation, the physical body becomes set into a psychological pattern. Once these changes have takenplace, the postural attitude becomes fixed. Instead, they live, move, and have their being in an attitude. Noamount of discussion, thought, or mental suggestion can change the pattern. To escape from their chronicfear, grief, or anger, the physical tone of the muscles and the structure must be changed.

Osteopathy can be very helpful in chronic stress and associated complex pain syndromes. Osteopathyseeks to discover and treat the cause of the problem and not just the symptoms. By affecting the structureof the body (fascia, muscles, joints) it can unravel these tensions, having a direct impact on the physiology(circulation, lymphatics) and psychology (nervous system) of the patient reducing the need to experimentwith one medication or supplement after another.

When muscular efficiency is optimal, the expenditure of energy by the body in any activity ­ working,walking, and exercising ­ is minimal. Hence there is more energy available for other vital functions such asthought, digestion, circulation, repair, immune system etc. Along with this greater efficiency comes a greaterpsychological ease and emotional security. The integrated body not only accomplishes a multitude of tasks,but it carries them out effortlessly and happily.


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