Body Memories are, simply put, the stress our body stores when we are in an environment of being overwhelmed physically, mentally or emotionally. Unless we actively release that stress, our bodies store it for years, creating inflammation.
A friend has a great example: “I was riding my bike and signaled to turn left. As I was turning left, a car accidentally hit me. Even though I rode my bike shortly after the accident, my body resisted turning left for a very long time. It remembered the one time it was dangerous to turn left. I broke out in a sweat, my heart rate increased, and my muscles tensed up. Once I was able to release the body memory and the trauma from my muscles, I did not have the symptoms anymore.”
To release body memory we simply allow our bodies to move without judgement. Sometimes memories come out of the movement and sometimes they don’t – it doesn’t matter if we know the source, what matters is honoring the body’s release of the old stress, trauma, fear, emotion, and/or anxiety with the intention of healing and releasing the past.
Another example is when we relax in a meditation or in the space of Reiki or when we are drifting off to sleep and our foot or hand twitches – that is our muscles letting go of the stress they have been holding in. These muscular releases are actually a good thing. Sometimes we need to visit the emotional aspect of what our muscles are holding on to.
It is a unique experience and one worth pursuing if you have chronic pain that nothing seems to help on a permanent basis. I believe setting intentions for healing from the past is a key part of memory work. See this related blog post: http://iamangela.org/2013/03/07/healing-intentions/