3 Ways to Use Your Body for Emotional Healing

Using the mind to heal the mind is the premise of most treatment modalities in the world of therapy. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Applied Behavior Analysis, Psychoanalysis, Hypnosis—the list of therapeutic approaches that solely focus on cognitive aspects to emotional healing is widespread. But with the profound understanding of the mind and body connection, we must equally celebrate how the body can be used to heal the mind. 

Zen Shiatsu

The power of human touch on healing past trauma is irrefutable. Decades of research have confirmed that simply being touched by another human has the ability to calm cardiovascular stress, activate the release of our “love hormone,” oxytocin, rebalance our central nervous system, lower cortisol levels, and engage the orbitofrontal cortex, the region of the brain responsible for learning, decision making, and emotional/social behaviors. 

Zen Shiatsu is a specific form of massage that utilizes science and intuition to foster both physical and emotional healing in the client. It combines traditional Chinese medicine with popular massage techniques, requiring the practitioner to engage in a meditative state in order to coordinate their movements to the body’s responses. Zen Shiatsu practitioners are highly skilled to find and treat the body’s imbalances, working to soothe the autonomic nervous system, improve blood and lymphatic circulation, and support internal organ function. All of these components combine to release both emotional and physical trauma contained in the body. In fact, many clients who have engaged in Zen Shiatsu report crying during or after their treatments.

Torus Therapy offers Zen Shiatsu with our Licensed Massage Therapist, Rachel McKillip. You can read more about her specific approach here.


Ancient civilizations, particularly the Greeks, Egyptians, and Taoists, considered sex to be the greatest energy force on Earth. And many psychology experts today consider it to be a necessary component to mental and physical vitality. Holistic Intimacy Expert, Jamie Elizabeth Thompson, explains that when your sexuality is flowing freely, that energy translates into all other aspects of the human experience. Connecting to our bodies or sharing them with another releases numerous chemicals in the brain that create feelings of love, intimacy, and euphoria. It also creates a physiological reaction that combats pain and inflammation. In fact, sex is one of nature’s most potent pain relievers. During sex and particularly orgasm, the body experiences an intense of endorphins. 


It sounds strange. Breathing is an automatic process that is occurs whether or not we are even conscious. So how hard can it really be? Well, it turns out there actually are “right” and “wrong” ways to breathe. And for most of us living in a high-stress, modern society, we are shallow breathers that leave our brains deprived of the oxygen it needs to maintain psychological homeostasis. Whenever we are under stress, our breathing is our first thing to suffer. You may notice that your chest becomes tighter, your pace becomes quicker, and your inhale becomes flatter. 

Engaging in deep breathing can be one of the quickest ways to change your emotional state. Brain activity scans reveal that rapid, pressured breathing triggers feelings of anxiety, fear, and anger within the amygdala. So to reverse these negative emotional experiences, we want to takes longer, slower, deeper breaths. Doing so will increase oxygen to the brain and allow us greater control of our emotions through our use of intentional respiration patterns. Many people find it helpful to follow a count such as inhaling for 2….3…..4. PAUSE. And exhaling for 2….3…..4. Take note of what your natural breathing patterns look like throughout the day. How do they change during moments of distress and moments of pleasure. Try to consciously adopt a breathing pattern that more closely simulates your moments of pleasure. 

Written by: Aubrey Koel, LPC