How Bodywork Heals Trauma and Anxiety


With bodywork, when you touch one thing, you touch everything

Your animal is a conscious, living, feeling being who is embedded into their physical body. The physical body holds and experiences the animal’s life. Everything that happens has a profound effect on the physical body. The physical body cannot be divided from the mental, emotional, and sensory experiences of the animal. The being is a whole. The physical body is an expression of the whole, but not the whole picture. However, you can connect with and affect the whole picture by interacting with the body. This is how bodywork heals anxiety and trauma, which are non-physical aspects of the being – you can’t cut them out or see them on an x-ray.

There is one system that penetrates every part of the physical being, and which stores emotional and mental patterns of energy. This is a complex, fractal network of connective (fascial) tissues and nervous tissues. This network holds everything in the body together, gives everything in the body it’s form, and is deeply involved with the sensory, felt, mental and emotional experience and consciousness of the animal.

This is the magic of the neuro-fascial network, an amazing three-dimensional, fractal spiderweb of connective and neural tissues that interpenetrates and interconnects every part of the body on every scale of dimension. This deep interconnectivity means that when you touch one part of your animal’s body with one fingertip, you are touching and affecting the whole body in a profound and beautiful way – physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Every touch of your human hands affects the connective tissues locally and non locally. Every touch causes an emotional and mental response in the being who is touched. Every touch affects the nervous system, causing responses on all levels of the nervous systems. The central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system, the Sympathetic and the Parasympathetic nervous systems are all affected with every kind of touch, but this effect can be magnified immensely with skillful intentional touch.

This impact then flows onto all of the organs, organ systems, all of the tissues and structures in the body through the physical and neurological interconnections of the neuro-fascial network. The body is a whole, and the neuro-fascial network literally holds the body together, interconnecting everything. Touch and feeling is transmitted through the neuro-fascial network.  Information is stored in the near-fascial network. One kind of information that the near-fascial network can store is trauma. 

The body stores trauma or anxiety as a whole – all dimensions of the being are impacted

The energy of the traumatic events are imprinted or embedded as patterns of energy into the being physically, mentally, emotionally, in every way. There is a pattern of energy stored imprinted into the body as a result of any traumatic experience. A very physical pattern of tension is left as a legacy. This may include scarring from physical damage to the tissues, but not always. Sometimes it is more subtle, a snapshot of the animal’s reaction to the traumatic event. Of course, if the event is repeated (for example a dog that has been repeatedly physically abused), then those patterns become stronger. They are reinforced. 

Working with the physical tissues and structures of the body, hands-on, opens a doorway to healing. Because the patterns of tension, pain, trauma, or anxiety are physical, mental, emotional (and more), releasing them on one level can release them on all levels. Physical touch then touches the untouchable – the emotional being, the mental processes, all of the fractal layers of patterns of energy that make up the living, feeling, conscious being that is your animal.

Intentional touch (bodywork) can engage with, release, integrate, and heal the patterns of trauma and anxiety that have been imprinted into the body. The mental/emotional aspects of the animals are engaged by your physical touch as you work hands-on, releasing and integrating the physical patterns that are part of the whole gestalt of the traumatic event. Stored trauma in the body may be connected with, re-experienced, and healed through skilled, intentional touch. 

The mind is a potential stumbling block here. Due to learned experience, animals’ patterns of thinking can become entrenched. In a traumatised or anxious animal, a fear or arousal response may be triggered by a stimulus (a sound, a man with a hat on, a situation, etc.). This triggers a mental response, which can make the physical and emotional reaction worse. The mind is an important factor in reinforcing and exacerbating trauma and anxiety issues. 

When working hands-on with the Whole Energy Body Balance Method with animals who are anxious or traumatised, the skillful intentional touch of WEBB causes a body-level relaxation response. Paradoxically, this may cause mental and emotional distress in the animal! These animals are often in a state of unhealthy arousal all the time, on edge, hyper vigilant, alert for danger (even when no true danger is present). Relaxation may feel unsafe, uncomfortable, or strange. However, if you gently persist, over time the mind will catch up with the body, and the animal will learn how to regulate into healthy relaxation. 

To heal, your animals must feel!

Another reason for animals experiencing distress as you work hands-on with them is re-experiencing trauma. Sometimes when you connect physically with patterns of trauma or anxiety imprinted into the animal’s body, the animal will re-experience (feel) the emotions or mental distress that were imprinted into the being when the harmful event(s) occurred. 

Both of these responses will be uncomfortable for the animal, and a normal response to discomfort is to avoid it. This means that often when you work with anxious, traumatised, painful animals, they will be avoidant. Gentle persistence is the key to overcoming this. You must engage with pain, tension, trauma, or anxiety to be able to release and heal it. The animals won’t understand this at first, BUT if you are sensitive, responsive, and above all more determined than the animal you’re working with, you can engage with their pain, tension, trauma, or anxiety in a meaningful, supportive way. You can help these animals heal. And not only physically!

With consistent bodywork over time, the animal’s mental patterns can shift as bodywork causes relaxation in the face of triggers, or ongoing mental (thinking) patterns of fear, anxiety, or trauma. Yes, at first the animal’s mind often struggles with the body’s response to intentional touch. The mental patterns of fear, anxiety, or trauma remain active even as the body begins to relax and release the embedded patterns. The mind can trigger the body back into arousal. But continued loving, intentional touch will trigger more and more body level relaxation. Over time, that response will overcome the mind’s habits of fearful or anxious thinking. 

The WEBB work is touch medicine in the truest sense. And if that medicine tastes a bit bad at first, my experience is that after 2-3 hands-on WEBB sessions, most animals have worked out that they feel better because of the bodywork, and are lining up for it. If you;d like to learn how to help your animal friends with WEBB Bodywork (or become a professional practitioner), please email to

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Oh yes- and everything you’ve read here is true for humans too. We have Human WEBB trainings launching soon. Email us to get on the waiting list!