I personally discovered the body/mind connection when I realized that we feel emotions, we don't think emotions.
After 10+ years of working in an office of a large international NGO, I had reached a point where I needed a radical change in my life. On the outside everything seemed perfect, but on the inside I felt pressure. Pressure to fit in, pressure to succeed, pressure to be perfect. This inner conflict was creating restlessness, anxiety and sleeping problems. I had ignored my body's signals for too long and this ongoing tension developed into panic attacks.
My GP back then recommended regular talk therapy. I had many helpful insights and learned a lot about myself and my patterns. But it wasn’t until I started bodywork that something shifted inside of me. I realized how much I was living in my head. I was trapped in negative thoughts about myself. Internally I was very critical towards myself. Externally I was proud to be a perfectionist. I was deceiving myself. Subconsciously I was scared to take off the mask that I had put on. I was afraid that somebody would see the real me, with all my imperfections and vulnerabilities.
The Power of Touch
Then in all my attempts of finding more calm, I discovered the power of touch. Long, embracing and healing touch. The pressure and tension that had built up slowly started to soften. It wasn’t a ‘big bang’ release; it was a gradual process. Massage therapy and other forms of bodywork helped me to really feel what needed to be felt, to connect with the pain that was underneath my mask. It was as if a whole new world opened up to me. I discovered that our emotions are stored in the body, waiting to be felt, to come out, if we let them. I always used to (over)analyze and rationalize my problems. But when I felt connected to my body, I could really connect to my feelings. I realized that we feel emotions, we don’t think emotions.
Through massage therapy and other forms of bodywork I became more aware of my body. I learned how to listen to what it wanted to tell me. By connecting more to my body I feel more connected to myself and also to the world around me. I feel more confident, more resilient and more calm. I know now how to navigate my own nervous system and can deal much better with all the small and big challenges that are part of life.
And I said to my body. Softly. ‘I want to be your friend.’
It took a long breath. And replied ‘I have been waiting my whole life for this.”
From passion to profession
Fascinated by this profound realization and how it changed my view on life, I immersed myself into the world of emotions and the body/mind connection. I completed the 4 year-program at the Akademie voor Massage en Beweging in Amsterdam to become a licensed massage therapist. This post-HBO study equipped me with the skills and tools to work with the body in a therapeutic setting.
I graduated on the topic of shame. While shame is primarily an emotion and a feeling, it is also “a biologically hardwired experience”. I have personally experienced how feelings of shame can manifest in the body, leading to tension, pain, immobilization, disconnection and other physical symptoms. However, I have also realized how massage therapy and bodywork can help to restore the connection with the self and therefore contribute to healing from shame.
At the heart of my practice is the sincere desire to help you listen to and comprehend the language of your body. When your body feels acknowledged and seen, it no longer needs to shout for help or go on strike. Your body deserves your attention and tender loving care.
My clients value my calm, empathic and caring presence. I genuinely wish for everyone that they feel more connected with themselves.
Goed om te weten - Good to know - Gut zu wissen
Although this website is in English, I am also fluent in Dutch and German. That means you can take sessions with me in English, Dutch or German.
My passion for life and birth
Next to my massage practice I also work as a birth doula, supporting pregnant women (and their partners) through pregnancy, birth and the post-partum period. You can read more about my doula services on www.doulamarlene.nl