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Body Cells Carry Emotional Memory

                      By Boris Prilutsky

I found the theory that body cells carry emotional memories to be a true one. During my 38 years of clinical experience, numerous times I have witnessed the emotional reactions of my patients/clients to soft tissue mobilization. To more clearly explain this phenomenon, I would like to share one of my most interesting clinical experiences with you that support the theory of emotional memory being carried body cells.

Over 20 years ago, I treated one of the world-renowned boxers of the time from a shoulder injury. The right shoulder had a severe sprain/strain case with suspicion of possible rotator cuff tear. As with all such cases, after 24 hours of cold application procedures (cold application must be applied no more than 10-15 minutes and must be repeated every two hours) we started intensive massage therapy on the unaffected side in order to awake vasomotor reflex that will express by increasing blood supply to the injured extremities. I began to follow the treatment protocol for the above-mentioned purposes, starting to mobilize all groups of rotator cuff muscles layer by layer, as well as the anterior, posterior, and middle part of the deltoid muscles. As he was receiving the massage therapy, suddenly this big, tough, extremely strong man started crying, vocalizing sounds like that of a little boy. He was confused and expressed his embarrassment at breaking down in tears.

Being familiar with the theory that body cells carry emotional memory, I suggested to him to cry out whatever this emotional memory was. The sport clinical psychologist was informed of the incident. During his evaluation, this professional athlete, with the help of the psychologist, recovered a memory from his deep subconscious of an event that happened to him when he was eight years old.

Briefly, the story was that the boy's grandfather (his mother's father) once interrupted the constant fight between the boy's father and alcoholic mother; his grandfather attacked his father with a hammer. Afterward, the father was delivered in critical condition to the hospital and the grandfather was arrested. During this period of time, the little boy future boxing champion fell, off his bicycle and hurt his left shoulder. Crying, he came to his mom who was screaming into the phone, and asked her to comfort him because of the pain in his shoulder. His mother reacted in anger, and took his pleas as just whining for attention and she hit him with the phone a few times on this painful shoulder. All these years, on a subconscious level, this man carried difficult baggage of these memories of events related to losing the most important people in his life; his grandfather and father; and related to rejection by his mother. This kind of crying, emotional release tremendously helped this athlete to get rid of this subconscious trauma. This heavy emotional baggage was terribly disturbing and robbed him of a lot of happiness all these years, without him even knowing it existed. My experience has taught me that usually these emotional releases happen with people at the time when we perform massage (including deep tissue mobilization) in the inhibitory regime. Please be aware that emotional release may not be expressed by crying. Many clients may report to you that they have trouble sleeping and experience worry, or they may start shaking during the massage. Some of them will report unusual emotional sensitivity. Please explain to your clients that all above-mentioned reactions are very positive reactions and within the next few days of going through these reactions, they will feel a great deal better. Regarding the boxer whose case I presented to you, he later reported to me that he never thought that this subconscious baggage could destroy the quality and happiness of his life so much. He told me that thanks to this innocent massage therapy on the healthy shoulder, he was able to find peace within himself.

It's reasonable to assume that the memory of the emotional experience is stored somewhere in the brain - the system that is specialized in memory handling and remained inaccessible, as many other memories a human being experiencing during the life. But the shoulder cells hold the bookmark or a memory address of where the actual memories of the incident were stored in the brain. Thus by activating the shoulder cell you triggered the process of loading the content of that remote memory in the active memory, causing the aforementioned reaction.

As you can see from this episode, clinical psychology approach alone wouldn't be sufficient, because of the emotional memories carried by the cells of his body. Presently, I receive professional referrals from clinical psychologists.

Dear colleagues, I would like to encourage you to contact clinical psychologists in your neighborhoods and to offer them your services to incorporate massage therapy in their treatments. The Latin word "doctor" means educator. After being involved in many cases,at US it is clear to me that we should educate not only our clients about the power and importance of massage therapy, but also other health care practitioners.

www.medicalmassage-edu.com

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As we make available our skills and knowledge to other fields the value of our work spreads. I have also worked on people with childhood injuries, even long forgotten, which brought out emotional release and deep memories as the body healed.

It's reasonable to assume that the memory of the emotional experience is stored somewhere in the brain - the system that is specialized in memory handling and remained inaccessible, as many other memories a human being experiencing during the life. But the shoulder cells hold the bookmark or a memory address of where the actual memories of the incident were stored in the brain. Thus by activating the shoulder cell you triggered the process of loading the content of that remote memory in the active memory, causing the aforementioned reaction.

 

Since cells are replaced many times over during a person's lifetime, how do the old cells being replaced hand their "memories" over to the cells replacing them?

Raven.this is clinical discussion. Phenomenal of emotional releases as I described is a reality from treatment room.

If you spent enough time in treatment room as a massage therapists most likely you witnessed  it or possibly didn't   paid enough attention for not significant muscular constrictions at the time of touch, shortening of breath est. A lot of things we don't know to explain, but if it works then we should continue to use it for our clients advantage. In my previous post you asked how we will know that it will work or working. If providing somebody with therapy

and client for  no reason for it(no pain est.) start crying then it means that he/she releasing negative emotions, and during the next few procedures A) will not cry B) will report"feeling better". when you massaging any part of the body and at that time like a reflex client constricting muscles, not reporting pain, you will continue to work on it, and during few  next times clients will not constrict muscles,and with time will report, that she experienced less anxieties,improved quality of sleep, positive mood changes, est. this is the desired  clinical outcome.and who cares where this emotions where stored. Did you hear about sensitization/Phantom syndrome.where this memories stored and all life.stored for life and no matter as you stated"Since cells are replaced many times over during a person's lifetime, how do the old cells being replaced hand their "memories" over to the cells replacing them?" they still there.

Best wishes.

Boris

Hi Boris

we are indeed very privilaged individuals to be able help our fellow sufferers release these locked in emotions. I am unable to descibe the exact mechanism or why it happens when it does, but I am in no doubt this is a good thing, so much more preferable than staying locked in.............you are so right to raise awareness of this to fellow massage therapists as it is an area in which we could/would  have so much to offer.

 

Regards steve 

Yes, I have spent a lot of time in the treatment room, and since a large part of my practice has been with refugees and wounded vets, I have been present on many occasions where emotional release has occurred.

 

I don't doubt at all that they are expressing negative emotions; I am asking why you claim the memories of those emotions are in the cells, rather than in the mind or brain.

 

I assume by phantom syndrome, you mean phantom limb syndrome, where someone loses say, a leg, and still feels pain in it? That is a perfect example of how the brain processes pain information, and then projects it back out to the (now-missing) limb. There are no cells there any longer to hold memories, but that doesn't matter--the brain works as it normally does, receiving information, putting it together, and then sending it out to where it is perceived by us to be. This is not a mysterious process, and requires no inexplicable "memory" on the part of structures with no nervous system of their own. why is it any different for non-phantom-limb syndrome?

 

and although you brushed it off with "no matter", my question was 100% serious--if it is the cells in the body that contain memories, rather than the brain, then those cells are replaced many times over a person's lifetime. When the cells die, and get broken down, how do the memories of old trauma get transmitted to the new cells replacing them, which did not exist at the time of the trauma? 

 

cheers,

 

Raven


Boris Prilutsky said:

Raven.this is clinical discussion. Phenomenal of emotional releases as I described is a reality from treatment room.

If you spent enough time in treatment room as a massage therapists most likely you witnessed  it or possibly didn't   paid enough attention for not significant muscular constrictions at the time of touch, shortening of breath est. A lot of things we don't know to explain, but if it works then we should continue to use it for our clients advantage. In my previous post you asked how we will know that it will work or working. If providing somebody with therapy

and client for  no reason for it(no pain est.) start crying then it means that he/she releasing negative emotions, and during the next few procedures A) will not cry B) will report"feeling better". when you massaging any part of the body and at that time like a reflex client constricting muscles, not reporting pain, you will continue to work on it, and during few  next times clients will not constrict muscles,and with time will report, that she experienced less anxieties,improved quality of sleep, positive mood changes, est. this is the desired  clinical outcome.and who cares where this emotions where stored. Did you hear about sensitization/Phantom syndrome.where this memories stored and all life.stored for life and no matter as you stated"Since cells are replaced many times over during a person's lifetime, how do the old cells being replaced hand their "memories" over to the cells replacing them?" they still there.

Best wishes.

Boris

 

Dear Steve .

 Yes ,we are indeed very privilaged individuals to be able help our fellow sufferers release these locked in emotions and more. No one can explain it but it very important factor to consider and to pay attention, in treatment room, and to educate and prepare clients in regards of emotional releases. When this “emotional garbage”is disposaled, it changing life and  health of people. I know we share passion and love to our occupation and it makes me feel great. Also make me feel great when I meeting more and more my fellow colleagues who share this  passion and also feeling privilaged individuals.

Have a blessed day.

Boris



Stephen Jeffrey said:

Hi Boris

we are indeed very privilaged individuals to be able help our fellow sufferers release these locked in emotions. I am unable to descibe the exact mechanism or why it happens when it does, but I am in no doubt this is a good thing, so much more preferable than staying locked in.............you are so right to raise awareness of this to fellow massage therapists as it is an area in which we could/would  have so much to offer.

 

Regards steve 

Raven.this is clinical discussion. Phenomenal of emotional releases as I described is a reality from treatment room.

If you spent enough time in treatment room

 

Given that Raven is both an experienced massage therapist and an anatomist, that's a pretty condescending reply.

 

Her question is a good one, and it highlights the fact that memories are not stored within individual cells.  This is why there is not a single neuroscientist, cognitive psychologist, or anatomist working in their field who endorses that position.

 

Why is it that the same cells replaced retain the configuration of scar tissue?

Ravensara Travillian said:

It's reasonable to assume that the memory of the emotional experience is stored somewhere in the brain - the system that is specialized in memory handling and remained inaccessible, as many other memories a human being experiencing during the life. But the shoulder cells hold the bookmark or a memory address of where the actual memories of the incident were stored in the brain. Thus by activating the shoulder cell you triggered the process of loading the content of that remote memory in the active memory, causing the aforementioned reaction.

 

Since cells are replaced many times over during a person's lifetime, how do the old cells being replaced hand their "memories" over to the cells replacing them?

Raven.good for you that you agree in regards of emotional storages. The title of this article is "

"Body Cells Carry Emotional Memory"

as long I can remember it is for last 39 years I knew about this theory, and probably someone once named it this way.

Professional discussions is about learning, and to  argue .BTW.and if you wil lread careful my sentences that you offerd

than you will find that I am expressing "maybe opinion" that the memory of the emotional experience is stored somewhere in the brain.you just repeated the same only insisting that this negative emotions stored in memory centers.on this I do not argue with you because I don't know where they are stored. What is important that during soft tissue mobilization somehow we stimulating them out. I am educator and proposing useful material.the bottom line to pay attention and if you will discover expressions as I described  in my previous reply,just spend a little bit more time on this area and you will reach better and sustained results.

Boris stated in article:It's reasonable to assume that the memory of the emotional experience is stored somewhere in the brain - the system that is specialized in memory handling and remained inaccessible, as many other memories a human being experiencing during the life. But the shoulder cells hold the bookmark or a memory address of where the actual memories of the incident were stored in the brain. Thus by activating the shoulder cell you triggered the process of loading the content of that remote memory in the active memory, causing the aforementioned reaction.

 



Ravensara Travillian said:

Yes, I have spent a lot of time in the treatment room, and since a large part of my practice has been with refugees and wounded vets, I have been present on many occasions where emotional release has occurred.

 

I don't doubt at all that they are expressing negative emotions; I am asking why you claim the memories of those emotions are in the cells, rather than in the mind or brain.

 

I assume by phantom syndrome, you mean phantom limb syndrome, where someone loses say, a leg, and still feels pain in it? That is a perfect example of how the brain processes pain information, and then projects it back out to the (now-missing) limb. There are no cells there any longer to hold memories, but that doesn't matter--the brain works as it normally does, receiving information, putting it together, and then sending it out to where it is perceived by us to be. This is not a mysterious process, and requires no inexplicable "memory" on the part of structures with no nervous system of their own. why is it any different for non-phantom-limb syndrome?

 

and although you brushed it off with "no matter", my question was 100% serious--if it is the cells in the body that contain memories, rather than the brain, then those cells are replaced many times over a person's lifetime. When the cells die, and get broken down, how do the memories of old trauma get transmitted to the new cells replacing them, which did not exist at the time of the trauma? 

 

cheers,

 

Raven


Boris Prilutsky said:

Raven.this is clinical discussion. Phenomenal of emotional releases as I described is a reality from treatment room.

If you spent enough time in treatment room as a massage therapists most likely you witnessed  it or possibly didn't   paid enough attention for not significant muscular constrictions at the time of touch, shortening of breath est. A lot of things we don't know to explain, but if it works then we should continue to use it for our clients advantage. In my previous post you asked how we will know that it will work or working. If providing somebody with therapy

and client for  no reason for it(no pain est.) start crying then it means that he/she releasing negative emotions, and during the next few procedures A) will not cry B) will report"feeling better". when you massaging any part of the body and at that time like a reflex client constricting muscles, not reporting pain, you will continue to work on it, and during few  next times clients will not constrict muscles,and with time will report, that she experienced less anxieties,improved quality of sleep, positive mood changes, est. this is the desired  clinical outcome.and who cares where this emotions where stored. Did you hear about sensitization/Phantom syndrome.where this memories stored and all life.stored for life and no matter as you stated"Since cells are replaced many times over during a person's lifetime, how do the old cells being replaced hand their "memories" over to the cells replacing them?" they still there.

Best wishes.

Boris

Christopher. I was involved in few discussions where You took part of it too.you always asking questions never  expressing your opinion but if you do express opinion then it only in the frame:" I am skeptic""not sure about it" "can you prove it?" I don't blame you you cannot have opinion because you are not massage therapist. My opinion that you also cannot be a principal investigator in massage therapy subjects. Just stop to do it. It is not fair to no one and especially to massage therapy community. Just drop it. Few times I say to you: this is waste of time to discuss with you any issue related to massage therapybut you continue to come back.have some respect to yourself. I am assuming that my discussions not only you and Raven reading, but for some reason looks like most of our community agree with you or you was successful to depress professional self-esteem of our guys by at the time of discussions talking to them categorically. Please check all your discussion and correct me if I am wrong.just get lost.

Christopher A. Moyer said:

Raven.this is clinical discussion. Phenomenal of emotional releases as I described is a reality from treatment room.

If you spent enough time in treatment room

 

Given that Raven is both an experienced massage therapist and an anatomist, that's a pretty condescending reply.

 

Her question is a good one, and it highlights the fact that memories are not stored within individual cells.  This is why there is not a single neuroscientist, cognitive psychologist, or anatomist working in their field who endorses that position.

 

Because the collagen fibers in the scar tissue are aligned and cross-linked with each other. They form a matrix (framework) for the scar to hold its shape. No non-nervous system memory needed to explain it, because it is an electrochemical process

 

In the first picture at this site, you can see a diagram of the fibroblasts going in all random directions (no alignment) in the uninjured tissue, as well as of the fibroblasts forming a characteristic "basket-weave" pattern as they migrate into and cross-link in the scar tissue. 

http://www.ma.hw.ac.uk/~jas/researchinterests/scartissueformation.html


Daniel Cohen said:

Why is it that the same cells replaced retain the configuration of scar tissue?

Ravensara Travillian said:

It's reasonable to assume that the memory of the emotional experience is stored somewhere in the brain - the system that is specialized in memory handling and remained inaccessible, as many other memories a human being experiencing during the life. But the shoulder cells hold the bookmark or a memory address of where the actual memories of the incident were stored in the brain. Thus by activating the shoulder cell you triggered the process of loading the content of that remote memory in the active memory, causing the aforementioned reaction.

 

Since cells are replaced many times over during a person's lifetime, how do the old cells being replaced hand their "memories" over to the cells replacing them?

"You cannot have opinion because you are not massage therapist"?

Does that also mean we do not need to provide good and solid information to clients because they are not massage therapists, and therefore cannot have opinions?

 

How does understanding better what we do "depress professional self-esteem"? Are traditional practices to be protected at all costs? In that case, the industry is wasting its money on promoting research literacy.

 

Or is the purpose of research to better understand what it is that we do, and discard things that don't work in favor of promoting what we do that does work? In that case, how does "professional self-esteem" attach to discussing these matters openly and transparently?

 

"Have some respect to yourself"

"just get lost"

 

I thought this site was for massage "professionals", where we could discuss professional issues without getting other people's permission to do so. You can say "just get lost" all you want, but I don't think you have any real authority to dictate who participates in the discussion.

 



Boris Prilutsky said:

Christopher. I was involved in few discussions where You took part of it too.you always asking questions never  expressing your opinion but if you do express opinion then it only in the frame:" I am skeptic""not sure about it" "can you prove it?" I don't blame you you cannot have opinion because you are not massage therapist. My opinion that you also cannot be a principal investigator in massage therapy subjects. Just stop to do it. It is not fair to no one and especially to massage therapy community. Just drop it. Few times I say to you: this is waste of time to discuss with you any issue related to massage therapybut you continue to come back.have some respect to yourself. I am assuming that my discussions not only you and Raven reading, but for some reason looks like most of our community agree with you or you was successful to depress professional self-esteem of our guys by at the time of discussions talking to them categorically. Please check all your discussion and correct me if I am wrong.just get lost.

Christopher A. Moyer said:

Raven.this is clinical discussion. Phenomenal of emotional releases as I described is a reality from treatment room.

If you spent enough time in treatment room

 

Given that Raven is both an experienced massage therapist and an anatomist, that's a pretty condescending reply.

 

Her question is a good one, and it highlights the fact that memories are not stored within individual cells.  This is why there is not a single neuroscientist, cognitive psychologist, or anatomist working in their field who endorses that position.

 

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