What is Bodywork in Psychology?

Bodywork practitioners commonly say, “People hold their issues in their tissues.”  This means that our pain, suffering, anger, and joy are all felt in our body. It also identifies the important link between mental health and physical health. There are other common sayings like, “Depression hurts” and “When I am anxious my stomach is tied in knots” that also identify this mind body connection. Since we can feel emotional suffering just as we feel physical pain, it makes perfect sense that we would try to manipulate the body to treat mental health. 

Research indicates that supplementing mental health treatment with bodywork can be useful for individuals who have trauma, anxiety, depression, and addictions. One of the beliefs behind bodywork is that we hold our emotions in our bodies and that if you relax, touch, or work the area where you are holding emotional tension or suffering, your symptoms will decrease or you can heal or rewrite negative memories.

Some of the most common forms of Bodywork include:

Massage Therapy




Tapping Therapies (Emotional Freedom Therapy, Thought Field Therapy)





Dance and Movement Therapy


Tai Chi

It is easy to find free videos online, books, classes in the community or therapists that specialize in different kinds of bodywork. You do not need to have a mental health diagnosis to participate in and enjoy the benefits of bodywork but it is a good idea to check with your doctor first prior to starting any new physical routine. Most techniques at the very least will make you feel relaxed, focused, and calm. Why not look some techniques up and try to implement one or two into your self-care routine?  Happy healing!!!!! 

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