Body De-Armoring | Hard or Soft Approach?

Published: Mar 19, 2024 | Revised: Mar 31, 2024
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

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There are different Body De-Armoring approaches and techniques, and in a general sense we could say that it depends on the training, background, and lineage of the De-Armoring practitioner or therapist what techniques they will use and how they will go about.

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Nevertheless, an important distinction that’s often made is that of soft De-Armoring versus hard De-Armoring. Hence, let’s take a look at the differences between these opposing approaches.

Now, hard Body De-Armoring — which is basically the way Wilhelm Reich carried it out — typically uses force and applies firm, tough, deep and sustained pressure to muscles and fascia that hold tension.

The idea behind this approach is to “break through” the armor, which can be a quick way of De-Armoring and effective, but as a rule this will be a quite painful experience for the receiver. Hard De-Armoring may also have some other drawbacks, which will become clear in the discussion here below with regard to soft Body De-Armoring.

Then you have practitioners who rather apply soft De-Armoring — an approach that has become increasingly popular nowadays — using only gentle touch and light pressure on tensed or contracted body tissues. The rationale here is that people may benefit more from a tender and gradual application of De-Armoring in order to not get them in further distress or re-awaken trauma too suddenly.

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Another consideration to opt for soft De-Armoring is that tensed, contracted, or numbed bodily areas sometimes react adversely to strong pressure with the result that the area worked on may get into a deeper spasm, immobilization, or restriction.

On the other hand, therapists may use both soft and hard approaches in a single De-Armoring session, all depending on what they feel that the receiver can handle or needs. It means that practitioners sometimes feel that they can and need to go tougher and deeper, and at other times they may feel that just gently touching or holding the person is the best option.

The same counts for some other techniques used in De-Armoring, such as breathwork, stretches, or shaking, which may be done with impactful breathing techniques, extremely deep stretches, and forceful shaking, or rather through a gradual, more natural, and gentle approach.

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