Psychosomatics of Muscle Tension in the Body

Muscle tension is a state of muscle or muscle group tightness even at rest. In this state, the muscle hypertrophies (enlarges), becomes “stone-like,” and hinders movement.

Blocks are a combination of muscle tensions. In this case, the muscles can be either too tense or too relaxed.


  • Sharp or dull pain, arising suddenly or gradually,
  • Painful movement (painful to turn the head, pain during shoulder movements, raising the arm, etc.).

Psychosomatic tensions in the body are distinct in that rubs and massages do not help (they can only partially alleviate).

Chronic muscle tension is commonly referred to as a “muscle armor,” which can lead to various diseases as it compresses nerve endings, constricts blood vessels, and deprives corresponding organs of nutrients.

Consequently, the consequences of muscle tensions, if ignored, are very serious: spinal curvature, flat feet, varicose veins, etc.

Psychosomatics of Tensions in the Body

First, let’s consider the functions of muscles. They are responsible for physical activity through action and movement in the human body. Thus, the muscle ailment we are discussing, by hindering physical movement, symbolizes causes that interfere with a person’s emotional activity.

This can indicate resistance in the soul: “I don’t want to do this.”

Another group of reasons may be associated with experiencing the impossibility of taking action.

Any internal conflict that a person suppresses within themselves leaves a mark in the form of muscle stiffness. For example, when experiencing fear, a person holds their breath, straining the corresponding muscles. Thus, the body reflexively tightens the muscles in a protective reaction.

If this happens once, this automatic body reaction gradually passes. However, if a person experiences fear constantly, and their body reacts with muscle tension time and again, tensions arise.

Thus, emotions and tensions, if not released or only partially released, are stored in the body in the form of tensions and blocks.

The location of tension or block depends on the content of the suppressed emotion. For example, constant suppression of anger, unwilling to express all the pent-up feelings, leads to a tension or block in the throat. This can be identified through chronic neurotic cough when a person is not suffering from a cold but constantly coughs as if clearing a “lump in the throat.”

Therefore, tensions in the neck and shoulders area indicate that a person lives with the feeling that someone is sitting on their neck, that they carry too heavy a burden. This may be due to the weight of responsibility that a person feels. However, the problem is that this feeling is imaginary, often unnecessary responsibility.

Tensions in the leg area suggest that a person does not feel confident, supported.

Tensions in the abdomen area usually arise from fear for life, a sense of danger. This sense of danger may also be unfounded.

Muscle memory is such that muscles remember the body’s reaction. If a similar dangerous situation arises, or a person recalls such a situation and the emotions experienced, the muscles reflexively tense. Thus, the body becomes uncontrollable, defending itself reflexively against both real and imagined danger.

If physical level blocks hinder free movement, then on the energetic level, they impede the natural flow of life energy through the body, leading to a lack of energy, manifesting as a feeling of constant fatigue.

Psychological Causes of Muscle Tensions

Psychologist Wilhelm Reich identified seven types of tensions. This number is related to the fact that he conditionally divided the human body into seven areas: ocular (including the forehead), jaw (mouth), throat (neck), chest (shoulder blades, arms), diaphragmatic (myocardium, lungs), abdominal (back), pelvic.

  1. Tensions in the eye and forehead areas are associated with social fears (fear of making a mistake, fear of offending someone, etc.).
  2. Tensions in the mouth and jaw area are related to suppressing loud emotional expressions (crying, screaming, or anger).
  3. Tensions in the neck and throat area are linked to a prohibition on crying, screaming, resentment, and anger. Tensions in this area manifest as neurotic cough, too soft voice.
  4. Tensions in the chest, arms, and shoulder blades are related to discomfort experienced in the world and manifest through posture. Tensions in this area also arise from a prohibition on passion (love, jealousy, sorrow, enthusiasm, etc.) and manifest as breathing problems, cold or sweaty hands, drooping shoulders, etc.
  5. Tensions in the diaphragm area are associated with the prohibition on expressing disgust and revulsion. They manifest as a feeling of “nausea from everything.”
  6. Tensions in the abdomen and back: muscles of the back and lumbar region indicate hidden fear of “being attacked” or “caught off guard,” while tensions in the sides indicate suppressed anger and dislike.
  7. Tensions in the pelvic area are linked to fears for life, a prohibition on sexual arousal, and manifest as weakening or semi-bent legs.

How to Get Rid of Psychological Tensions: Paths to Healing

Modern psychology and psychotherapy offer exercises, massage, various relaxation techniques (meditation, yoga, dancing, etc.) to relieve muscle tensions.

Body-oriented therapy (BOT) focuses on identifying and interpreting tensions. Reich, as one of the practitioners of BOT, developed special exercises to relieve muscle tensions and blocks. Practice has proven the effectiveness of his methodology.

At the same time, it should be noted that healing is an individual journey, as each body has its language, and each person has their psychosomatic “mosaic.”

The reflexive mechanism of muscle tension indicates where to look – in the subconscious, the repository of rejected thoughts and suppressed emotions. And the existing tension of certain muscles in a particular area is already a hint – what to look for.

Therefore, it is logical to start healing by analyzing this internal “mosaic”: What do I feel? What is eating at me (irritating, making me angry)? etc. Special methods with exercises and relaxation techniques should be practiced simultaneously with working on one’s inner world.

By fulfilling these two conditions, the result is the best.

Wishing you lightness in soul and body! Lada

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