Release the pain of pent-up feelings

I AM not in the habit of crying in front of friends, much less strangers. I do not bear the emotional scars of a particularly traumatic childhood, nor do I suffer from psychosomatic illness.

As far as the Rosen Method is concerned, I would consider myself an unlikely beneficiary of therapy.

When I explain this to Ulrika Tham, she assures me that she "loves" meeting sceptics. There is nothing evangelical about her, just a low-key conviction that cynics will be won over.

People who experience Rosen, she says, are either eager to learn more about what it can do for them, or immediately fight shy of it. I am confident that I will remain unmoved.

What follows, when I lie face down, is remarkable. Ulrika places her hands on my feet, her touch firm but gentle. She runs her hands over my calves and legs, not kneading them, in the manner of a masseuse, but applying a light pressure.

It feels as though the areas she handles are suffused with a warmth, until she reaches my knees. There, I suddenly feel a peculiar, aching sensitivity. I have suffered sporadically from sore knees ever since I can remember, but this is unlike anything I have experienced before.

Ulrika quietly says that knees support the body; she asks me what I am holding there. Why is there a difficulty surrounding the concept of standing on my own two feet?

Inexplicably, a wave of emotion wells up inside me. There is nothing probing nor particularly insightful about the question, yet a large tear comes trickling through my closed eyelashes and blobs wetly on to the bed. I find myself talking about the loss of my father, who died a few weeks before my third birthday.

Even as I speak, I am wondering why on earth I am telling this woman such an intimate detail of my life. There is nothing revelatory about what I am saying, in the sense I have in the past shared my feelings with those closest to me. Yet I keep on talking.

The moment passes and the hands gradually move up my bare legs and back. Just below my left shoulder, I feel an aching knot of tension of which I had previously been unaware.

I begin to laugh. I laugh so much, Ulrika joins in. I am shaking with the sheer joy - of what? She asks me if laughter is a problem for me; I demur.

But then, slowly, tears come again, and I no longer want to speak. The treatment continues in silence and, when it is over, I relax for some minutes before dressing.

My body feels inexplicably lighter, I feel strange and unsettled by the experience. Ulrika asks me if I think I will come back for another session.

I reply that I am not sure. By the time I reach home, I know that I won't. JW


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