Does the Arneson Method trigger emotional release?
Almost never. “Emotional release” is a popular term for spontaneous emotional expression and relief (e.g. sobbing), which I call SNS emotion discharge. In contrast, the Arneson Method triggers safe, precise SNS pain discharge for elimination of chronic pain.
Blocked emotions are contained (mainly) in chronic muscle tension, originally termed “armor” by Wilhelm Reich. The purpose of muscle armor is to mechanically bind and bury repressed, painful childhood emotions, so they are not available to be experienced by the person. Unfortunately, chronic tension is pathological, while the need to avoid painful feelings limits one’s learning capacity and overall satisfaction in life. Understandably, scores of counseling and complementary healing methods pursue reversal of this debilitating condition.
Emotional release is all too easy to achieve. Buried emotion can be mobilized by 1) talking about upsetting life situations or memories, 2) altered states that defeat one’s habitual, defensive state of awareness, or 3) manipulation of muscle tension via manual pressure, energy medicine, deep breathing, or guided movement. After the emotion is mobilized, the body will attempt to discharge it. Satisfying discharge requires that the client 1) feel the emotion directly, and then 2) express the emotion with the face, voice, and spontaneous muscle movement, such as sobbing or hitting. Ideally, following discharge, the client notices emotional relief, relaxation of muscle tension, and effortless behavior improvement. However, from start to finish, the emotional release process is fraught with dangers, the primary concern being the body’s biological tolerance for emotion that was purposefully locked inside.
The Arneson Method is a niche method, developed expressly to permit discharge of residual injury stress response while leaving buried emotions alone. There are guidelines that ensure precision; I call it “surgical discharge.” For example, if properly guided, the body will quickly discharge injury memory leftover from a whiplash injury, while leaving the deeper emotions safely bound in the neck (until the client chooses to pursue emotional release with a different method). Necks thus guided have recovered completely from whiplash effects, but remained susceptible to occasional “stress” symptoms.
On the other hand, sometimes minor emotional release is seen in the Arneson Method when the root of chronic pain is actually emotional blockage. Physical trauma is the typical source of physical pain—readily expelled with the Arneson Method. However, sometimes severe emotional stress can lead to chronic neck exhaustion and pain. In this case, instead of physical pain, the neck neatly discharges a small amount of fear, with the same result of relaxation and permanent pain relief. Or, with early life trauma discharge for infants (the most important Arneson Method application), discharge is emotional and enormous. The infant’s body has not yet accumulated hundreds of “layers” of emotional trauma, which complicate emotional release for adults. The simplicity of early life trauma discharge—assuming that it happens during infancy—renders it functionally identical to injury memory discharge.