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What Is Clenching?

I’m a why and a how person. Why do I hurt and how can I fix it? Why am I tired and how can I have energy? Why am I sad and how I can I be happy? Once I know the why behind something, I can research and find out the how. Finding out the how is the 1st step to healing something, rather than masking it. That is what massage therapy does for the body. It heals.

Recently, I discovered a huge problem that is causing a lot of issues around chronic pain that cannot be explained. The “why”. When a person is stressed, i.e., overly busy, has something stressful going on in life, is having a hard time coping with circumstances around them, they will consistently clench their muscles. Just in their everyday life. They could be clenching the jaw, neck, arms, legs, or even the entire body. Some of this could be from emotional trauma as well as physical trauma, such as a sprain or a tear of the muscle or a break of a bone.

What does it mean to clench?

Have you ever been in a massage and your therapist gently reminds you to relax? You state, “I thought I was relaxed!”. That is a good indication that you were clenching muscles in your body. The therapist felt the resistance. A more technical description: a person’s involuntary, excessive muscle activation strategy. (Google search)

There is a lot more to discuss around my new revelation but, for now, I want to leave you with this; once a day, check in with yourself. If you are watching tv, take a second to take a deep breath and feel every part of your body, from head to toe. Did something automatically relax once you were intentionally focusing on your muscles? Become aware. Be interested in that. Start to take note of it once a day and see how that changes your body or, at the very least, your awareness.

I will post more on this topic in the future but, in the meantime, if you have any questions about it, feel free to shoot me an email. I would be happy to have a conversation about it. Until then, be aware, check in, and relax!

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