I have written two posts on armoring, first as protective body armor against sexual molestation. The second post, ocular armor – our first line of defense. We psychically shut our eyes to the unbearable reality in our abusive environments. Furthermore, Wilhelm Reich, the founder of armoring theory stated that our body can be delineated into 7 segments where armoring occurs ocular, oral, cervical, thoracic, abdominal and pelvic segments.
Basically, we subconsciously armor or contract our body to repress negative emotions and the concurrent painful somatic sensations.
The second line of defense we adopt is oral armoring – we are forced to shut up. Speaking out means rejection, violence, ridicule, and contempt. Gradually, as dependent kids, we realize that our survival depends on not expressing our needs and feelings. We do what we are told to do, even though we find it distasteful. We resign ourselves to having no say in any matter.
Release of our body armor occurs when we release our primal pain
I spent most of my life grinning and bearing all the shit that was heaped onto me. I never expressed or shared the abuse with anyone. Mainly because I was afraid of being further attacked and rejected. But forcing my mouth to remain shut, tightened the muscles around my mouth. Not surprisingly my teeth are quite misaligned and I developed scoliosis. It’s not surprising that those with scoliosis also have misaligned teeth.
Numerous studies have shown that your jaw position and the way your teeth fit together affect your balance and posture. Our emotions define our musculature while our skeletal structure grows to fit in within the restrictive confines of our muscles.
Oral Armor and Jaw Pain
Recently, I was suffering from terrible jaw pain. I first thought it was an abscessed tooth but my teeth seemed okay. Nonetheless, the throbbing pain was unbearable. After trying all the possible remedies to no avail I turned to my never-fail remedy – sound healing music.
Serendipitously, I selected one of the music videos for teeth healing on Youtube.
While listening to the sound vibrations, unbeknownst, I felt a sob rise from deep within my being. I was surprised because I wasn’t even feeling sad, just in terrible physical pain. The sob turned in uncontrollable howling. A flood of tears streamed down my face. I was transported back in time – a sad, lonely 11 year who had lost her Mum and trying to cope with an abusive father. That little girl could not stop weeping. No one really loved her. She was a nuisance, That helpless girl, wept in shame, terror, and sadness. – fighting off sexual molestation, false accusations, being used and abused. There were 3 more episodes of this gut-wrenching weeping over the week, after which surprisingly, my jaw pain eased.
Releasing those pent-up emotions felt emotionally and physically cathartic. I felt I could open my mouth better and magically the pain was was gone.
“To get better we need to take the emotional trip to our history and undo the damage through reliving—what he calls a “primal.”
Oral Armor – Primal Scream
Pain and Emotional Repression
This becomes clearly apparent as I heal my emotional trauma. I am aware of the right side of my face feeling tight. I wasn’t aware of this earlier. Now as my repressed emotions slowly release, I can actually sense the armor loosening.
Subsequently, this has released my neck muscles. I feel my musculoskeletal structure going through a kind of rebalancing. The skull which was tightly pulled to the right side and all the muscles of that part of the body are getting recalibrated. It is uncomfortable, your body changing its structure when in your 50s.
Primal Release – Body Armor
Most scoliosis therapies focus on the physical aspect, pushing the spine into position through bracing and other physical manipulations. However, most of these don’t work in the long run because the underlying reason for the misalignment has not been addressed.
Modern medicine still refuses to fully acknowledge the intricate connection between emotions and the body. How the brain controls different muscle groups. Moreover, our bones don’t move unless our muscles make them move. Our muscles are controlled by our nervous system. And our emotions are the master controller of our bodies. So if any of the bones in our body are moving out of alignment, it’s because our emotional system is sending the message – repress, control, armor up.
According to Janov distorted posture and tense musculature are”guardians” of “deeply hidden or denied feelings.” Healing any physical dis-ease should begin with healing the underlying emotional cause. Just manipulating the “body armor” does not help cure scoliosis unless there is a change in the emotional landscape – both internal and external.
The only way to resolve those contracted or armored muscles is to re-connect with those traumatic life experiences that forced the formation of the armoring.
Muscle Memory and Neuroplasticity
Not only our brain gets imprinted with a traumatic memory our body also keeps the score. The trauma memory imprints our muscles, cells, and genes. That’s why in many instances generations are inflicted with the same condition.
However, our brain is neuroplastic, what changed our brain can be unwired and rewired. But it takes persistence, patience, and belief. That you can change – your mind, body and your life.
As our emotional armor is released, our physical armor releases. Unfortunately, years of holding it in have kind of fused my bones into my character armor. I have to break the habit of being myself. Changing your mind is tough and changing your body is tougher. De-armoring is painful.
First, the emotions, then the brain which conveys information to our nerves and blood vessels then our muscles and lastly our bones have to release emotional patterns or armor. The longer you have had scoliosis, the more protracted is the healing process.
Healing Scoliosis -Releasing Primal Pain
No doubt, releasing our earlier imprinted memories can be challenging. Many a time we don’t know/can’t remember what is holding us back. I have been on this journey of self-healing for a long time. Whenever I am stuck in one healing modality I try another. Movie therapy, music therapy, nature therapy, and occasional screaming therapy.
However, don’t go around wailing or screaming, it will only alienate people. Find a safe space, a therapist, or close friend, partner, etc and then vent. Releasing our repressed primal screams really helps release our body armor which eventually releases the protective armor of scoliosis.
Image Source: Wikipedia
Primal Scream – Dr. Arthur Janov
PRISONERS OF PAIN – Unlocking the power of the mind to end suffering – Dr. Arthur Janov
New Primal Scream – Dr. Arthur Janov
The Language of the Body by Alexander Lowen