All About Somatic Emotional Release Treatments:
I offer several styles of Somatic/Emotional Release Treatments.
Holographic Memory Release–HMR
A Brief History Of HMR
“The technique was developed by a Chiropractor named Charles Daily in the 1990’s. His journey into creating this new technique was sparked by some different experiences in his life including being in the US Army Special Forces “Green Berets”, working with the mountain tribesmen of Vietnam and Cambodia. He then became a chiropractor and was led into studying Classical Homeopathy and its relationship to Acupuncture, Shiatsu, Cranio-Sacral, Muscle Energy and Somato-Emotional Release Techniques. “The ultimate catalyst was the writings of Dr. James and Nora Oschman. After reading their material I awoke in the middle of the night with a flood of new ideas. It appeared to me that my soul and I were fully integrated and that I was in some way connected to my higher consciousness. This cognition seemed to possess a clear channel to the entire knowledge base of the universe.” He typed up all of his inspiration from that flow of thoughts and “had captured the seed of thoughts of what I now call the Holographic Memory Release Technique-HMR.” HMR is an integration of all the models of health and disease that he had been exposed to.”–Ashley Stewart
Theory Of HMR:
The idea is that the body knows how to heal itself if the essence of the disease process can be effectively communicated in an indirect gentle manner. HMR is part of the Mind/Body/ Clinical Hypnosis model. The conscious mind must be effectively removed from the healing process. Personal healing seems to occur when we are able to get beyond our own consciousness.
Somatic (body)/Emotional Memories: Research shows that when the brain cannot completely process a physical, or emotional trauma, the memory is stored for later resolution at a subconscious level in the connective tissues of the body. I compare it to a lock and key–the brain is the lock and the key is in the tissues. These unresolved memories are constantly recycling on a subconscious level, waiting to be released through “reframing” or resolution. Without resolution, our bodies become overwhelmed with layers of unresolved issues or memories causing pain, restricted movement, and chronic tension called “body armoring.”
These unresolved trauma memories influence our posture, health, decisions—even our personality.
How Does HMR Work?
HMR and other body work techniques for releasing somatic/emotional memories, release old information and postural patterns and give the body/mind room to process current messages in a more positive and functional way. This technique stimulates the body’s natural wisdom to heal itself with the correct stimulus. As old issues are resolved through HMR, people experience positive new ideas and experiences.
How Is The Treatment Given?
HMR is most frequently done in a group setting to increase the healing dynamics for everyone. Individual treatments can be given upon special request. Clients remain fully clothed and lay comfortably on a massage table. A series of “Contacts”—(very light pressure) is applied to specific acupressure points that are storage sites for unresolved memories.
The greatest benefit is gained through a series of treatments allowing the backlog of memories to be resolved as the body is ready to let go of them. You must try this if you are in chronic pain!
How It Worked For Me: (Phoenix)
I’m excited to tell you that HMR has changed my own life. It’s having a profound healing effect in my life and in the lives of many others getting this treatment. I’m experiencing a dramatic release of unresolved trauma that has been resistant to other types of bodywork and treatment. The chronic tension patterns locked in my back and neck are letting go. I’m feeling much less restriction and pain. My life is full of positive change.
What Is The Cost?
The treatment time varies depending on your body but generally takes about a 1/2 hour. It’s important to have a series to achieve the full benefit of this fantastic technique. You will receive benefit from each and every treatment.
$50 per session.
Indications & Contraindications:
There are actually no contraindications; HMR is a noninvasive “energetic” therapy.
Possible Benefits of HMR: (I make no guarantees as to what your benefits will be.)
Improved Emotional Control
Resolution of Past Trauma
More Positive Attitudes/Outlook
Improvement of Chronic Health Problems
Decreased Pain and Muscle Tension
Better Productivity and Creativity
Better Quality Sleep
The possibilities are numerous and vary with each individual.
No specific guarantees are made as to which benefits you will enjoy. I invite you to experience HMR for yourself.
30 minutes $50 per treatment in a series of 6
“I personally have received treatments of this technique ever since I was a child. I always feel a sense of emotional relief and lessened muscle tightness. I think HMR is an innovative, inspired new technique that combines a lot of other good methods all into one. I think it has a good way of unlocking bound up memories and emotions and allows you to let go of them forever. I have especially benefited from the leg length balance technique.
The only thing I think may be a little awkward is that it’s typically done in a group setting so I think some people may feel more guarded around other people releasing their emotions. Luckily though, you can specifically ask to have a private treatment.”–Ashley Stewart
Somatic Emotional Release –
Allow me to introduce you to a type of body-work unknown to most people.
I consider it my most intuitive and specialized bodywork style. It has become my passion because of the profound healing effects it offers on an emotional and physical level. Generally it’s called Somatic Emotional Release. (Somatic means the body.)
When our mind or body receives an insult, injury or trauma (emotionally, physically, chemically, or psychologically) and is unable to fully resolve the trauma at that time, it is stored in the body for future resolution.
Resolution can finally take place when the mind, body and emotions are carefully guided to work together during this specialized bodywork session. The relief experienced can be dramatic and profound.
Benefits of this type of bodywork may include:
Relaxation and pain relief
Improved attitude and well-being
Improved sleep patterns
60 minutes for $110.
A Trauma Survivors Experience of Relief from Chronic Pain and Anxiety in 1 Treatment!
“Phoenix Has A Gift!”
For most of my adult life, I’ve experienced anxiety and tension due to emotional trauma from rape and incest. I’d lived with this for so long that I had no idea the toll it had taken on my body. Phoenix was recommended by a dear friend, and though I’d never considered Somatic Emotional Release Treatment, I went to see her for what I thought would be a simple massage. She did not know of the horrors I’d endured, or that I had battled depression for years.
The massage began and I was impressed and amazed at how intuitively she used her hands to locate what I now know to be stored traumatic body memories. She concentrated on two main areas, and I became overwhelmed with emotion. I unexpectedly began to cry, though I had no idea why I was crying. Phoenix then asked me a series of questions about the meaning of the tears, which I answered spontaneously and with surprising answers. After the treatment, I felt unburdened, relieved…free! I have never before in my adult life experienced such profoundly innocent happiness, and am still in awe of the relief I felt after sitting up and realizing how light my body felt. In the days that followed, I noticed that my senses were more acute and that my body responded to my husband’s touch more readily.
I would not hesitate to recommend Phoenix to anyone who has a physical or emotional issue that they need addressed. Phoenix’s gift allowed her to connect to me on a spiritual and physical level, and enabled me to disconnect from the trauma I held all those years. I’m so grateful that she has been given this wonderful gift—It truly changed my life.
–Pamela E., Eden Prairie MN
Another Testimonial about Interactive Trauma Relief
“I have been receiving Somatic Emotional Release Bodywork (Aka: Interactive Trauma Relief) from Phoenix Alexander for a while now. I have tried other styles of bodywork, and was looking for someone with the skills and talent to help me offload the negativity I wanted to release. I found Phoenix and began treatment immediately. When I first came, traumatic events from my past were still having a negative effect on my present life- which is very successful in most areas. I just needed some help in re-framing, and releasing events, feelings and circumstances that were still injecting their negativity into my life and intruding on my ability to have all I design to achieve. I have tried several other approaches, including other types of bodywork, and coaching/counseling, with limited success. I had not yet found the right resources to overcome my limitations until I this. I’m so glad I found Phoenix and her bodywork style– Interactive Trauma Relief!
This bodywork has had so many positive benefits in my life. As a best-selling author, I rely on my creativity to produce ideas and results and make me money. When I was using too much of my energy to deal with the past, it drained my creative energy. Now, since I have been receiving Interactive Trauma Relief, I have much more energy to concentrate on what I want and create what I desire. The fears, difficulties and limitations of the past are fading into oblivion. I am moving rapidly forward in every arena of my life, from relationships and family, and writing creativity ,to improved self-image and mind-body health.
I tell Phoenix often, she has an exceptional gift of helping people heal. She is great about working at the pace I need to get the greatest results. I believe anyone looking to get to the next level of achievement, or find relief from negative circumstances from the past or present, should come and get bodywork from Phoenix. She knows several different styles all designed to give you relief. You will finally find the inner strength, peace and help you deserve! Come and let her help you the way she has helped me.”
Interactive Trauma ReliefTM
Excerpts from my book:
Turning Trials Into Triumphs The Way Of The Phoenix- A Guide to Personal Empowerment Through Coping Strategies and Life Skills
(Click On The Title Above to Buy My Book)
Interactive Trauma Relief is a specific type of Somatic Emotional Release Bodywork that I originated–Phoenix
I developed ITRTM based on years of experience with other types of Somatic/Emotional Release. It’s a combination of various techniques I found especially helpful in resolving trauma. It requires active participation on the part of the client to assist in the resolution process.
Below is a more thorough explanation of Interactive Trauma Relief also known as a type of Somatic Emotional Release Bodywork. You will learn how it works, and why you may benefit from it. There is a much more thorough explanation found in my book called:” Turning Trials Into Triumphs The Way of the Phoenix” in the Healing Bodywork chapter. You can learn much more about the book and me at:
Excerpts taken from: Turning Trials Into Triumphs The Way of the Phoenix: By Phoenix Alexander
Available at www.mynameisphoenix.com
Somatic Emotional Release Bodywork
We all have unresolved issues or trauma that can be stored in the brain and body. Each of us has experiences in our life that cannot be fully processed at the time of their occurrence. These traumas can create pain and dysfunction in our bodies. Some of us have pain and issues that have eluded resolution with any other type of treatment. If this sounds like you, I have exciting news….
Research in the field of psychology has shown that if an experience is too traumatic for the person to deal with or understand, the brain “walls off” this memory as a means to protect the individual and allow them to function at some level. In a sense, all memory of the actual event can be blocked from the conscious mind, although it is present fully intact in the subconscious mind and in the tissues of the body that participated in the event.
Obviously, this is not an ideal way to live but it preserves the individual until they have the necessary skills or understanding to begin working through the trauma. This memory can be repressed for many years or indefinitely. However, it does affect the individual. They may have unexplainable feelings, anxiety, panic attacks, and a myriad of health problems, but cannot relate it to a particular experience in their conscious mind. It is not uncommon for a victim of childhood assault to block this memory until they reach their thirties or forties.
Here is my interpretation of Somatic Emotional Release Bodywork and why it’s so effective.
The phenomenon of people storing trauma in their bodies and having the trauma triggered with the full intensity of emotion, experienced at the time, was most noticeable in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) victims of wars and other monumental tragedies. It was as if they were re-experiencing the trauma repeatedly without a resolution of the experience. People began researching and studying why and how this happened.
Massage therapists and other professionals noticed it wasn’t just isolated to experiences of severe trauma and that in fact all of us have some experiences that were too difficult for us to fully process at the time of the event. Consequently, these memories were stored in the body for further resolution. The trauma or insult to the body can be emotional, physical or chemical in nature, and each of us carries a backlog of unresolved experiences waiting to be released and “reframed.”
If you have a pleasant experience or conversation with someone, it is stored in the normal way in the subconscious mind but not necessarily in the cells of the muscles or organs. However, if we have an experience that causes fear, sorrow, anxiety, anger, pain, severe distress or illness, the body stores this memory completely intact for the individual to process or “reframe” at another time in the body. If a person does not have enough information to process the experience; perhaps they are too young to understand, too badly injured or in severe shock, then the body keeps this experience “alive” in a sense. The body reacts to it daily.
These memories seem to have more power because of their negativity and unfinished characteristics. They can exert power over how we react in many other situations and experiences. This can cause the body to become worn down, overwhelmed and develop diseases. It can leave us feeling that we don’t have the emotional energy or capacity to deal with present day stresses. It can keep us re-living the experiences in our dream states.
Overall, these traumatic events keep us from fully functioning and being alive to our fullest capacity until they are released.
Without resolution, our bodies become overwhelmed with these memories causing pain, restricted movement, and chronic tension called ” body armoring.” These unresolved memories influence our posture, health, and decisions—even our personality. Once enough information is received or correct stimulus is applied, the body can “reframe” the context and content of the traumatic memory and free us from re-experiencing the trauma repeatedly.
Charles Daily, the developer of Holographic Memory Release, compares these cellular memories to an answering machine that stores every experience we’ve ever had in the form of a message. The traumatic messages that have not been successfully resolved or re-framed are played repeatedly. It’s as if every time you want to listen to a new message you have received, you have to play back through years of old messages to get to the current one. Eventually you run out of tape to store new messages on. Additionally these traumatic memories are stored much like a “holographic image” with all of the details of the original experience.
There is some debate as to where these “cellular memories” or “somatic” (meaning body) memories are actually stored. Is it exclusively in the brain, where past research suggested all memory is stored, or are these traumatic memories stored both in the mind and the body? My opinion, based on several decades of using this type of bodywork to relieve the traumatic experiences of my client’s, leads me to the conclusion it is stored both in the tissues of the body and in the mind. It appears that these memories are stored in the muscles and connective tissue themselves along with information in the brain. I compare it to a lock and key. The muscles, tendons, and ligaments hold the memory and are the “key.” The brain stores a portion of the memory and I compare this to the “lock.” In order for the memory to be released and resolved both the brain and body must be involved.
The most exciting news is that cellular memories can be resolved and the trauma is finally over!
If you have had good experiences with a caring psychotherapist or counselor, I’m very happy for you–stay with it. Very likely, this type of bodywork is something your counselor has heard of and would be supportive of you receiving it. It can be a powerful adjunct to the work you do in counseling.
If you haven’t been able to fully resolve your difficult life experiences through counseling here is my explanation for why this happens. Some of us have elaborate sabotage mechanisms built into (or intentionally placed) in our subconscious mind. No matter how willing our conscious mind is to overcome and heal, the subconscious mind is acting out another agenda. This can make traditional counseling alone ineffective. We want to get over something and try to talk it out, but in our gut or body, it’s really never over. Our bodies keep reminding us of the experience through pain and dysfunction, fear or anxiety and even illness.
I believe the reason talking alone is often ineffective is we cannot isolate an experience and break it down into the components that allow full resolution by left brain, logical, discussion of the trauma. Sometimes the trauma is so great that the memory is not accessible to our conscious mind, much less our speech. Sometime the trauma happened before we could talk and although we were pre-verbal, the terror is still there but you cannot give it a voice since you had no words with which to understand the experience.
Our entire bodies are sensory organs and participated in these events. It’s impossible to fully express the intensity of some experiences through speech alone. It does not resolve the trauma. It requires the full participation of our being. Fully participating means accessing the body parts that were involved in the experiences, along with the feelings or emotions felt at the time of the trauma; and possibly those feeling occurring afterward, and the accompanying memory itself—which may or may not be accessible through speech.
It’s not always necessary for the memory to come to the conscious mind to be resolved. It depends on the style of bodywork used to release these cellular memories. It is clear however, that it requires a hands-on approach to coax the body into yielding up its secrets and freeing the mind and body from the trauma.
It’s not necessary to re-experience the trauma to resolve it with somatic emotional release bodywork. It’s possible to give the mind and body an affirmation before beginning the bodywork session. For example, if something is too difficult to remember on a conscious level, the body and mind can still release it by connecting a physical sensation—like a sore neck or a headache—with an emotion experienced when that area is touched. Additionally, about 90% of the women who come to me for this style of bodywork have assault issues. Obviously, I don’t re-traumatize them by insisting on touching the involved areas. The body can very effectively release the trauma from the pelvis through touching the sacrum (the triangle shaped bone at the bottom of the spine) or by gently laying a hand on the abdomen. These sites can release issues of assault and childbirth.
You Can Handle What Comes Up
A client won’t have a memory or emotion come up that they are not ready to process.
The body and mind will protect the memories until the person has the ability to resolve it. If they have anxiety about this fact, I have them repeat the affirmation
“I don’t have to remember what happened, I can just connect to a physical sensation, and an emotion and then the memory is released.” Giving the mind these instructions can facilitate tremendous breakthrough in healing.
My Technique Is Unique Since I Developed It
My Somatic Emotional Release Technique was developed by putting together several others isolated techniques from various bodywork styles. It’s unique to me because I developed it and have used it successfully for over 2 decades now.
Here’s a little background about how it evolved. I explain to my client that we are working together to connect an emotion with a physical sensation, or a memory.
I make sure that whatever I do, I ask permission to touch them, let them know exactly where I’ll be touching them and ask them to tell me when they’re ready for me to begin. This empowers and informs my clients. I never touch in a way that makes the client uncomfortable. I usually start with the element of physical sensation since most people are somewhat aware of areas of pain or discomfort in their body. I gently place a hand on the area of pain or discomfort with very light pressure. When I do this, their body will begin to move in response to my light touch. My hand will follow the movement of their tissue. This has been referred to as “unwinding”. The idea is that the tissue involved will repeat the same pattern of movement it experienced during the initial injury or trauma
My mind will then open up to information about my clients that I can feed back to them and assist in releasing their trauma
I think this ability to sense and feed back their experiences and feelings is an intuitive gift that seems to only operate for me when I have the intent to facilitate healing, have my hands on their body, and I let go of all the thoughts in my own mind.
Here are some other experiences that my clients have had with Somatic Emotional Release Treatments from me.
One of my frequent male clients came for a typical massage that included work on his back, neck, and arms. It was the first time I’d worked on his face. This facial massage caused him to be cold for days. He called me and asked if I could figure out why he was having such an unusual reaction. He said he just could not get warm. I explained it could be a memory surfacing or the body trying to resolve something.
When I get very cold after bodywork or counseling, it’s because I’m processing fear or terror. I told him to come in if it didn’t stop after this explanation of a possible cause. He then remembered and told me about being assaulted so severely it caused his skull to fracture and required reconstruction of his skull around his eye. After connecting with this memory and relating it with cold sensation, it was reframed and resolved. He felt much better afterward. In fact, he came back for more work of this type specifically for head, skull, and face.
His body was so ready to unload that trauma that all it took was the stimulus of having his face massaged to trigger it. If he hadn’t called, I could not have given him the missing information about its possible emotional connection (that led him to recall the assault) and relieved the trauma for him.
Another male client came when I first started using somatic emotional release. He hurt first in his low back, then knees, then groin. He began laughing as the pain traveled from place to place. I asked him what was so funny and he remembered having a bat thrown by a fellow player in a baseball game that hit him in the groin and caused him to drop to his knees creating pain in his knees, low back and groin simultaneously. He had completely forgotten the incident and it was finally all connected during this treatment—which oddly made him chuckle. Of course, I did not work on his groin but once the memory was connected to the pain it totally resolved.
After the connection of the memory was made, his chronic low back pain was greatly relieved. He had multiple low back injuries, which I had been treating him for with a prescription for massage, but only when we connected everything did he start to make real progress.
A female client came to me because she could not swallow her food well. It was getting stuck in her throat and it was very tight and uncomfortable. As we explored the origin of the pain she explained that her ex-husband tried to choke her to death. She said “He’s in prison with Charley Manson.” She explained that he was being released soon and had promised to come back and “finish the job” and kill her. She had a lot of trauma to unload! We worked together to unwind and release her throat and within about 20 minutes she was able to swallow without pain and felt much better. As I continued working with her I kept “seeing” in my mind her body and especially her head being forcibly banged into a wall. The image was very persistent so I said, “I keep getting this image of you being banged into a wall, has that ever happened?” She was not thinking of those incidents at the time and was experiencing a block where nothing was coming up. Apparently, I got the image first because she said, “Yes, I have been thrown against a wall several times. Once I was on a ship on a cruise and a man was assaulting me. I wouldn’t cooperate and so he threw me against the wall. Luckily a crew member walked by and saw what was happening and I was able to escape.” As soon as she said it the tissue in the back of her neck where I was touching relaxed dramatically. She could even feel the shift. It released the trauma. She was blocked from it consciously but it was being broadcast to me quite clearly. As soon as I voiced it she filled in the details of the experience and it was resolved or re-framed which caused an immediate relaxation in her chronically tight neck muscles. This was the memory that was keeping the back of her neck rigid. When all the memories were released she felt totally better.
Trauma Anniversaries-When the Body Recycles Past Trauma
Without resolution, cellular memories and trauma can be recycled on an incredibly accurate time schedule over and over.
I had a client who was uncharacteristically intense and angry during the month of December, consistently. He also has some subconscious stimulus that causes low back injury in May. He has injured himself just by bending over twice, on the exact same day in May. At first he was reluctant to accept the fact that there was something unusual going on when I suggested he might be experiencing the results of a cyclical cellular memory. After the second back injury on the same day exactly one year apart, he started paying attention. I suggested that we do some somatic memory release work for him. Some amazing things came up for him that he had not connected to his current low back pain.
During one treatment with somatic bodywork, I was working to release his sacrum and the memory of a car accident that occurred many years ago came up. He had never consciously connected with the low back pain caused in that accident since the pain in his neck from the whiplash injury overpowered the pain in his low back. Yet there it was, still waiting for him to acknowledge it and resolve it. As the memory unfolded he was aware of getting out of the car and feeling very shaky and weak (from shock) and recalled having an immediate intense pain in his low back as soon as he stood up, that was quickly overpowered by neck pain. He had forgotten the low back pain because it was blocked by neck pain.
Another memory waiting to be re-framed was a groin injury that caused intense pain that had occurred many years before in a Karate class. As we worked on various areas of his body, memories of longing and disappointment over his first love came up for re-framing. This memory was 25 years old yet still had an influence on the feelings and postures in his body.
As we began the treatment, I asked him to clear his mind and think of what difficulty or trauma he experienced in December that was influencing his current behavior. He had been unable to figure out why he was feeling and acting in such a hostile way so I suggested it might not have anything to do with the current circumstances and to look back to uncover its origin.
In just a few minutes, he remembered that he had received a layoff notice from a company that he had saved several million dollars for by the work he had done for them. He had been employed with them for many years. It would have left him without a job in December. The layoff actually occurred several months after December, but he had been strung along for several months in a very unpleasant situation before his job was terminated. He felt very hostile at the time about the way it had been handled. This unresolved trauma had such a hold over him that it recycled hostility beyond his awareness of its origin every December.
He was very happy to get to the bottom of this. After he connected to the memory and let it go in the session he had an immediate improvement in his behavior and attitude.
His bodywork session strongly illustrates the point that unresolved trauma is never really over until it is addressed. Everyone has some kind of cellular memories that are keeping them from fully functioning until they are re-framed, and the best way to do it is connecting with them with this kind of bodywork. They may be memories from as far back as your birth. For example, even a very old injury can be a factor in the severity of pain experienced in any additional injuries because the first pain to the body was never fully resolved. It creates layers of unresolved tension, and pain at the site of the injury and the memory storage site. So often, it cannot be resolved because in other types of treatments the elements of emotion, memory, and physical stimulus—or pain, are not released simultaneously. Both the car accident and the groin injury were causing some type of holding pattern, or stimulus for re-injury, because they had not been satisfactorily resolved at the time of their occurrence.
There are many more stories I could share. Come and let me help you resolve yours.
See Me For Individual Bodywork Sessions To Release Past Traumas And Gain Relief From Body Armoring and Chronic Pain Patterns.
I consider this kind of bodywork my life work. I just happen to be one of the few massage therapists who specialize in this kind of work. Come and see me for resolution of your past traumas and relief from “body armoring”.
Some of the possible benefits from Somatic Emotional Release Bodywork are:
Relief from chronic pain and tension in the back and neck.
Resolution of previously unresolved emotional and physical pain.
A feeling of optimism and enthusiasm for life.
Improved relationships and communication.
Improvement in chronic health problems.
Better productive and creativity.
Greater understanding of self and personal motivations.
There are many other positive possibilities!