Esalen style massage was the first thing I learned in 1975. It was not a system that stirred up a lot of emotional stuff. Then, very soon after, I learned Rolfing, a very deep style of work, which can be painful, and back in those days was for sure painful . People going through the series of sessions would proudly compare black and blue bruises which demonstrated the potency of their sessions. This type of work did produce emotional content often. But because there was a certain amount of work that had to be done in each session, the actual table part of which was only 45 minutes, emotions were ignored. If one wanted to explore that, go elsewhere and do some Primal work, or Rebirthing, Gesstalt, Encounter, or one of any number of other emotion based therapies becoming so popular back in the seventies.
When Rebalancing was being birthed by us, we were drawn to bring the emotional component in. Exploring the material that the deep work brought to the surface was just to enticing. Plus there were so many talented therapists around who could show us how to work with anger, shame, shock, abandonment, resentment etc. This work appeared to be very juicy, plus once the door was open, people could enter emotional drama very quickly, there was a lot going on and it seemed to be leading somewhere very good.
Time passed, more was learned about how the mind builds pathways that in the very process of wanting to remove negative influence mostly re-inforces it.Think of vehicles on a dirt road creating deeper and deeper ruts. Also how the body embeds layers of trauma, one on top of the other, building a physical wall of tension and holding which does not give way to direct attack. The more pointed the approach to breaking down the defence, the threatened structure responds by tightening and becoming ever-more defensive.
So it is that in we now tend to work with the emotional body in a more indirect way. allowing material to surface as it wants to and giving it space to integrate and change. Without pushing and aiming for any particular result, we honour the wisdom of the body/mind to, given the chance, heal itself. We stick with the physical opening, working in a slow, non push fashion, and if emotional material moves, we give it the space. Much like a mother holding her child who has just had a fall and scraped its knee, we are present and understanding without making a bid deal out of it. In this way, without pressure, charged emotions can give way to feelings to be integrated.