The body may participate in memories in several ways.

If your back (or other body part) is injured or tense at the time of a traumatic experience, the emotional memory of that experience may become imprinted in that part of your body. This seems to happen more often when you don't allow yourself to fully experience or express your feelings. The painful emotional memories remain buried in your body, as though imprinted on a tape recording.

'Sheila' was a 45 year old store owner who worked long hours. She was in a horrendous auto accident. Driving home from work late one night in the rain, she was stopped at a red light when a trailer truck skidded into the rear of her SUV, leading to a five-car pileup. Her car spun around and her head hit the side window. While physically battered, Sheila wasn't seriously injured because she had her seat belt buckled. Two drivers, a woman passenger and her baby in the cars ahead of her in the pileup were less fortunate. They were pulled from their cars with multiple, bloody facial injuries and fractures, moaning and screaming.

Sheila was severely shaken, but calm and able to assist some of the injured until the ambulance crew took over. She required no treatment and was released after a brief exam in the emergency room.

Three months later, Sheila started to have severe headaches at the base of her skull, and in the back of her neck. Multiple examinations and pain medicines over a period of years were of no avail. She was referred to a pain management clinic, where relaxation exercises and massage were prescribed. During her first massage, vivid memories of the accident suddenly surfaced, with strong feelings of fear and anger. As the massage progressed, she started weeping, recalling that the baby had been pronounced dead on arrival in the emergency room.

As the massage continued, she suddenly recalled having had a spontaneous abortion many years earlier, after a minor auto accident in which she had also been rear-ended while stopped at a light. This memory was accompanied by wrenching sobs, as Sheila released grief that had been unacknowledged, unexpressed and buried beneath her conscious awareness for years.

Following this massage, she no longer had headaches or neck pain.

This is not an uncommon experience in massage and other bodywork therapies. Another, more profound example of an emotional release with massage is given by Peter Clothier, in an article in the International Journal of Healing and Caring.

Psychotherapy may be an essential part of a treatment program to release energy cysts. This is too vast a subject to discuss in detail here. Suffice it to say that forgiveness is often required in order to release hurts and angers that bind us to illness. This is true for healing of personal, relational, and international problems.

If you pair a stimulus to the body with an emotional experience, the emotional experience becomes 'anchored' in the body. The stimulus could be anything from the touch of a finger to a traumatic injury. This has been extensively explored through techniques of Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP). You can demonstrate this to yourself in a simple exercise.

Focus your mind on an experience that has left you with a negative feeling (e.g. sad, angry, frustrated) and reinvoke the feelings in as great intensity as you can. When you feel they are at a maximum, ask yourself, "If '10' represents the worst I could feel about this, and '0' means it doesn't bother me at all, what number is the intensity of these negative feelings?" After you note what level of intensity you feel, press with one finger on any part of your body, such as your thigh muscle. After holding the pressure for about 30 seconds, release the pressure but be sure to not move your hand so that you can press repeatedly on exactly the same place. Think of any other experiences you want to for a few seconds. Then press again. What do you notice as you press again with the same finger, using the same pressure on the same spot? (Keep your hand in the same place to continue the exercise.)

Most people will notice a resurgence of the negative feeling when they press on the 'anchoring spot.' It is as though you have set up a button that now reactivates the feelings associated with that memory.

Now, focus your mind on a positive experience, reinvoking the feelings associated with this (e.g. happy, joyous, confident) and use a finger of your other hand to press on a different spot, again keeping your hand still so that you can press again later on the same spot with this finger. Hold the pressure for about half a minute, then release. Again, be sure to keep your hand in the same place so that you can press repeatedly on exactly the same spot. Think of any other experiences you want to for a few moments. Then press again. What do you notice this time? (Keep your hand in the same place to continue the exercise.)

Now, press with both fingers simultaneously and hold the pressure for 15-30 seconds, or as long as it intuitively feels right to do so. Then release the pressure and again hold your hands steady in their places.

Now press again with the finger that anchored the negative feeling. Note the intensity of the feelings you experience. What level of intensity are they (0-10)?

Most people note that the intensity is noticeably decreased. The factual memory will remain, but the emotions associated with the memory will not be as strong.

This simple exercise confirms that your body is clearly an integral part of your consciousness. It participates in your awareness of experiences and in your feeling memories of experiences. It can also participate in your healing of traumatic experiences.

Three observations are evident from this exercise:

1. Memories of negative experiences can be anchored in physical body memory, related to tensions in muscles, tendons and ligaments.

2. Memories of positive experiences can be anchored in body memory.

3. Positive body memory experiences can be used to diminish the intensity of negative ones.

Traumatic body memories
Physical tensions and blows to the body that occur randomly during traumatic experiences may imprint memories of those experiences on those parts of the body that are tense, receive blows, or are injured at the time.

George, a Viet Nam veteran, suffered from chronic debilitating backaches that began several decades after his war experiences. None of the usual medical or chiropractic treatments provided more than temporary relief. He found deeper relief in his first two Reiki treatments, and in the third treatment he suddenly recalled his anguish over the death of Don, his buddy in Viet Nam. When Don was severely injured by a booby trap, George had carried him on his back for many hours through the jungle, finally reaching a place from which a helicopter could evacuate him. George was devastated to learn a few hours later that Don had died of his wounds. George had no time to grieve because he was immediately sent back into action with his platoon.

During this Reiki treatment, he connected with the ache in his back from the hours of carrying Don through the jungles, and with the ache in his heart over Don's death. After more than an hour of deep sobbing, his back pain abated, never to return.

Yet another way of releasing body memories and energy cysts is with the self-healing method called WHEE: Whole Health - Easily and Effectively. More on this can be found in the Pain Management section of and on

Body memories of these sorts are very common. It is rare for conventional medical assessments to focus on this cause of physical problems. It is common for CAM therapies to do so, and CAM therapies are often successful in treating these.

Healing is not a matter of mechanism but a work of the spirit.
- Rachel Naomi Remen

Resources for clearing energy cysts and traumatic body memories

WHEE: Whole Health - Easily and Effectively®
Wholistic Hybrid derived from EMDR and EFT

Benor, Daniel J. Seven Minutes to Natural Pain Release: WHEE for Tapping Your Pain Away - The Revolutionary New Self-Healing Method, Fulton, CA: Energy Psychology Press 2008.

Benor, Daniel J. Healing Research, Volume II: (Professional edition)
Consciousness, Bioenergy and Healing, Bellmawr, NJ: Wholistic Healing Publications 2004.

Benor, Daniel J. Healing Research, Volume II: (Popular edition)
How Can I Heal What Hurts? Wholistic Healing and Bioenergies,Bellmawr, NJ: Wholistic Healing Publications 2005

Clothier, Peter. His Father's Pain,

Author's Bio: 

Daniel Benor, MD authored "Seven Minutes to Natural Pain Release: WHEE for Tapping Your Pains Away," and many articles on wholistic healing. He is editor of the International Journal of Healing and Caring (; and appears internationally on radio and TV.
See More on WHEE: Whole Health - Easily and Effectively

Additional Resources on Pain Management can be found at:

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Daniel J. Benor, MD, Official Guide to Pain Management