Humans tend to wear a kind of protective body armor created from a fear of intimacy. Built to protect the heart from pain with bricks made of muscle tension or collapse, over time it can become a prison and create loneliness or lack of feeling altogether. Biodynamic massage therapists are unique in the massage world, in using the concept of body armouring to help their clients towards more fulfilling lives. There are many different patterns of body armoring, but here’s a spectrum with extreme under-contained at one end and extreme over-contained at the other. Most of us are somewhere in the middle but which end do you tend towards?
Positive Romantic qualities
The body armor of the Romantic has many positive qualities; she might be open hearted, emotionally accessible, sensitive, have a spiritual awareness, able to experience exquisite feelings, to be empathic and an expert communicator.
Negative Romantic qualities
But on the downside she is also limited by her openness. She might be easily overwhelmed, quickly tired, easily distracted, perhaps prone to collapse, anxious and leaking all over the place!
The trouble is that this kind of body armoring doesn’t make for a great container; the boundaries are are a little bit floppy and don’t have the muscle or tissue tone or grounding to contain the life force which would include emotion, sensation and strength. They are like a river in flood; lots of flow and not enough structure to direct the water.
Help for Romantic-types
If this sounds like you, here are some suggestions to help build better physical and energetic boundaries: strengthening stuff like aerobic exercise, standing yoga poses to strengthen musculature and anything that makes you feel more contained and stronger. Biodynamic massage helps Romantic-type body armour by both strengthening the muscle and tissue tone while also emptying out the flood of energy.
Positive Hero Qualities
The Hero has a more conventional sort of body armouring and a different set of qualities, she can take on anyone, possesses endless energy, she’s dependable, worldly, grounded, practical, often successful and more than likely result focused.
Negative Hero Qualities
All this looks pretty good, but she too suffers difficulty; she’s not able to communicate softer feelings so well and can even be cut off from her feelings. Vulnerability is perceived as extremely threatening. She’ll probably not have a spiritual connection, may lack empathy and sensitivity, and feels an emptiness inside her that is hard to fill.
The Hero is over armored having too much muscle and tissue tone. Being over-contained might make for a successful life; it does not make for a satisfying life because the life-force is not so accessible. People who tend towards this end of the spectrum will come to a point in their lives where they begin to notice ‘something is missing’ in themselves or that that there is an emptiness to their relationships which needs to be filled. Heros are like a dry river with banks so high, the water cannot be seen.
Help for Hero Types
If this sounds like you, you’ll need some softening and opening activities like massage to dissolve the muscle armour, yoga to soften and open the body, healing to open the heart and maybe re-connect the heart to sexual feelings. More being/meditative/inward focused time and less doing also helps.
A real person, unlike these archetypes will have a far more subtle blend of body armouring; for example Romantic arms (gives up too quickly and lets go too soon), the chest of a Hero (fearless but unable to be vulnerable). The fun is in developing the awareness of the different parts of your body and aspects of yourself and learning how to educate your body to be a better container so you can have a happier, more fulfilling life.