Being in bodywork for 18 years, I have worked with athletes, body builders, dancers, actors and office workers; with people in chronic pain and acute pain. These days people come and see me for the pain that does not shift. They may have seen all the technical experts and they do their rehab and yet there is pain that won’t go away. What to do with that kind of pain is the big question.

What I have found in my work is that to meet tight muscle with force only works if the only thing causing the tightness in the muscles is congested muscle tissue. Tissue that has shortened, compressed, become clogged up with lactic acid and toxins, but we are not just mechanical in our make up.


Our bodies are expressions of how we feel into the world, how we interact with the world and how we present to the world. Micro muscular holding patterns, the things that we didn’t say but felt are often expressed and held in the body. Often the deeper muscle structures are stuck on ‘alert’ and lead to muscle exhaustion, pain and tiredness. This is the holding pattern of anxiety, stress, of trauma, of complex post traumatic stress disorders.

Lately I have been working in a very special way with this kind of holding pattern, the holding patterns of stress and anxiety. Because of my training in many different styles of massage I can feel what the different techniques do and lately what I have been doing has been delivering remarkable results.

What is remarkable is that what I have been doing is very simple.  All I have been doing is  applying the lightest touch just to be able to meet the edge of holding in the muscle and then gently letting it go. It’s difficult to describe but it’s a sense of making contact with a particular tension in the muscle where you can feel a subtle vibration that comes with muscle exhaustion. It literally teaches the muscle to notice that it is holding and then just by gently meeting it and letting go I’m teaching the muscle to remember to let go; to remember that letting go is also an option.

I just make contact, meet the contact with a little counter tension and then release. The muscles then tend to melt like butter. A client will invariably breath with more ease, experience more space in their rib cages and sense their bodies sinking into the massage table. If you can truly let go of holding in one part of the body the whole body follows suit and the entire muscular system of the body just. Lets. Go...

This work has been developed through my trauma therapy work and an understanding of holding patterns associated with emotional distress.

Of course there is always a place for deeper massage work but first meet the emotional holding pattern and then go in deep and open up and rebalance the muscles. That way the muscles won’t snap back into holding patterns after the session.

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Anwar Picture

By Anwar Ravjani