De-Armouring is a bodywork modality that I use a lot in private sessions with clients for emotional release and for the expansion of one’s capacity to feel pleasure. It is incredibly powerful in shifting a person’s sensate experience and redresses a wide range of issues, from premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction, to inoragasmia in women and men, vaginismus, and body issues such as low self-esteem, shame, and more. Please note that it is not about genital touch, as it works with the surrounding muscles which have implications for healthy intimacy such as the psoas, adductors, and more.
What is de-armouring?
De-Armouring is a bodywork practice of applying pressure to specific points on the body known to release emotions, memories, or physical constrictions which impede one’s experience of being embodied – on a sensate, psychological, emotional, and even psychic level. In contemporary practice, de-armouring is most often done to expand the body’s capacity for sexual pleasure and is called Tantric De-Armouring.
This modern conception of de-armouring evolved from Wilhelm Reich’s study in the 1930s: his theory held that life events (everything from emotional pain to the experience of birth) cause muscular constrictions in the body which, over time, hardens, creating an ‘armour’ of the body’s tissues. Memories re-trigger a muscular reaction, further contracting the body. Reich’s experience was that by removing the armour, accomplished by softening the body through specific bodywork techniques, orgasmic capacity is significantly enhanced. His practice of healing emotions and physical ailments through the body was part of a larger movement in that era, and one which led to the development of many modalities such as Rolfing, Bowen Therapy, Re-Birthing, to name but a few.
In fact, this practice of deep-tissue ‘de-armouring’ is as old as time. In many Native American traditions, de-armouring was performed for physical healing, psychological as well as psychic purposes. It was, and still can be, a quite Shamanic experience, lifting one into a liminal space, where spontaneous healing may occur. In native traditions, de-armouring aimed far beyond the liberation of sexual energies: it was meant to free life force energy from the pain of the past, thereby expanding one’s joy and health overall.
Concepts of de-armouring are similarly reflected in the application of Traditional Chinese Medicine acupressure, which correlates pain and emotion to a restriction in the flow of chi in specific points. There are arguably numerous cultures that have discovered the power of bodywork as applied in this manner. It’s important to note that every practitioner, whilst building on the traditions of her training, inevitably draws on a deep body wisdom learned in contemplative application over time.
How does it happen in a session?
The client is on a massage table and I try to get a sense of where the body is storing tension and emotion to get to a starting point. We begin with conversation, so often we both have a sense of where to begin. A bodywork session always commences with waking up the body with light touch. It’s important to bring blood to the surface and warm the tissues before going into deep tissue work. Then I find and hold specific points. The client and I work out a way to communicate that he/she has reached a limit of discomfort with every point, and we always hold a point for a while to release the discomfort (which can be emotional or physiological). Sometimes I use some visualisation as we go, particularly if we have done any hypnosis work, and have found that certain internal representations are helpful for attaining desired states. For example, a person’s sensate response to dancing may be the desired feeling of ‘letting go’ during intimacy, so we will draw on this imagining as we release muscles known to assist with optimum sexual sensation.
How often does it need to be done?
A good two hour session can have immediate results in how one experiences one’s energy. For some, it may be sufficient. For others, there can be external triggers that cause the body to remember something which contracts muscles, and/or limits emotional/sexual/relationship response. So a top up is required. For someone who has not had a lot of bodywork or has not done this kind of releasing, 2-3 sessions can be most useful. There are no rules! If in doubt, contact me for a chat.