In Touch Massage and Craniosacral Therapy, Westport CT
Life Works

Emotional Release


Somato-emotional release is the release of emotional memories stored in the body.

CraniosSacral therapy uses holds which often induce a deep state of relaxion. This allows the effects of the work to go deep without stimulating the body’s defenses. When working with fascia in this way, we can unlock the residue of trauma stored in the tissues. This unlocking and facilitated resolution process is called Somato-Emotional Release. Although emotions can rise to the surface, the release is not likely to be a painful, cathartic event.  After receiving this type of work, people describe greater clarity, peacefulness and insight along with positive change in their physical symptoms.

Doctors warn us that stress is the primary cause of disease. Their role is to correct the dysfunction in the tissue when symptoms develop. We have to go outside of the medical model to understand how stress transitions into disease.

There are noticeable and unnoticeable ways our bodies hold stress. We notice when our shoulder and neck are tight after hours of computer work. When our stomach get queazy before public speaking, or when our jaw clenches in our sleep as we over think unresolved problems. Surprisingly, there are just as many unnoticeable places in our body where stress accumulates without our awareness.

Our response to the emotional charge of any experience can either release and pass through us, or become repeated in our thoughts recharging the emotion, or be contained, stored, and dissociated from somewhere in our body. Each person holds stress differently, but the same person often holds it the same way repeatedly. The accumulation over time weakens our system often without our awareness until a critical point when symptoms develop.  The body is the dumping ground for stress.  

The work itself feels sort of neutral.  The mind often is not connected to what is releasing.  A 4 year old child came in for a session presenting with a digestive issue. Her session followed a series of releases which ended with a somato-emotional release. She was sitting on the massage table listening to the story her mom was telling as I felt the release occur. Following the session her digestive problem resolved on its own.

As a practitioner, I don’t need to identify the source of the issue. That is the beauty of this work. It is gentle, simple, and guided by the ability to sense what the body is asking for.

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Often I work with people who are perfectly healthy and choose this type of therapy to increase the shift of old patterns of distress out of thier body to increase their vitality and support the longevity of the use of their body.

Our bodies carry our history. Whether going through a divorce, grieving the loss of a loved one, changing careers, changing schools, or living with someone who is difficult to get a long with, the body stores the emotion charge. Support during these times will keep the emotions moving, prevent stress from accumulating, and provide an opportunity to change how you respond to stress. It provides grounding and centering for you at a time when knowing your truth is invaluable.


Hey Gail. I just wanted to thank you for the session the other day. Wow. I spent the day sort of muted…in as much stillness as my life would allow…feeling like things had been reconfigured, I just laid low.
And then Mon eve I realized: “OMG…I have just released this stuck grief around this one person that no matter what I did it just wouldn’t lift. Wow. Gail did that.” It’s like all my preparatory work up to that point finally paid off when you unblocked the energy, or whatever it is you did. Words cannot express the miraculous effect. And the perfection of the timing, since tonight I happily, giddily, said good riddance to 2013 and the angst I couldn’t shed.
All that is to say I am grateful …and I am excited about what this year holds for me.
Happy New Year!!
Linda Albright

Over my life, I have seen many practitioners of different kinds. I have had neck pain, reproductive surgery, and life traumas. The work I am doing with Gail Bernson is very special. From physical pains and discomfort to the deeper issues inside, Gail takes a holistic approach. She scans and approaches the whole of me, not just my body. She “listens” to my body-mind-spirit for where to go and what to do. How does she do this? Darned if I know! If I could do it I’d quit my job and do it it, too, it’s so cool. Extraordinary gifts of discernment, insight, training, and knowledge interplay artfully as she places her hands on or over my shoulders, my eyes, my head, my neck, my toe. How does my body call her there? How does she “hear” it? All I know is, it happens, and I leave transformed, not just pain-free. Who should go to Gail? Anyone with anything challenging you, from physical to systemic, from acute to chronic, from curable to untreatable, from mental to spiritual. Her easy-going, down-to-earth persona takes the woo-woo out and leaves the results in. I am so grateful for this work, experiencing deeper healing at a time when life is calling me to show up bigger and better. Gail is beautifully supporting my body-mind-spirit to do just that.
Susan Babcock



photo credits 

girl elated with arms out stretched