Body De-Armoring | Risks, Precautions, and Contraindications

Published: May 18, 2024 | Revised: Jun 15, 2024
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

Patient undergoing somatic body de-armouring treatment

© Image by Depositphotos

One of the questions in relation to Body De-Armoring (also called Emotional De-Armoring or Somatic De-Armoring) is if it can be damaging for one’s health, and what sort of risks, precautions, and/or contraindications may apply.

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There are many types of De-Armoring treatments and although they typically aim at emotional and trauma release they don’t all have the same “dangers” attached to them. Hence, it’s not a clear-cut case, and that’s why we’ve tried to give a more general overview here further below.

At any rate, our advice is that a client/patient should check more specifically on the specific risks, precautions, and/or contraindications with regard to the type of De-Armoring treatment modality they want to engage in.

Usually, the facilitator or therapist will inform clients about those, but it’s always advised that they also check for themselves on the Internet and/or with a professional healthcare provider what may apply for the specific De-Armoring therapy they want to work with.

Risks of De-Armoring

  • De-Armoring may sometimes cause severe distress, anxiety, and panic in vulnerable people, such as in those at risk for mental health conditions, or already suffering from mental health conditions;
  • Some De-Armoring modalities may or are deliberately aimed at causing a state of hyperventilation (also called over-breathing) to experience and access non-ordinary states of consciousness. Read more about the risks and symptoms hereof in our post Hyperventilation and Breathwork;
  • De-Armoring may unintentionally or deliberately cause resurfacing of past traumatic physical and emotional experiences, which can cause increased distress, anxiety, and panic;
  • If someone is not prepared to revisit traumas or uncover subconscious or unconscious emotions and patterns, retraumatization may occur, which can have harmful effects if not professionally supported by a licensed or certified therapist.

Precautions of De-Armoring

  • If it’s the first time one participates in De-Armoring therapy, it’s a good idea to start working with a certified facilitator or with a licensed Body-Oriented Psychotherapist;
  • If one feels tired, weak, dizzy, and overly anxious and stressed during a session, or experiences an excessively fast heartbeat, it’s generally better to stop and rest;
  • It’s always better to start gradually, not too long, and then gradually increase the time spent in sessions if things work out satisfactory;
  • As De-Armoring may involve pressure, acupressure, stretches, and massage and/or bodywork, the general massage and bodywork precautions and contraindications apply;
  • One needs to make sure there’s support via therapists, friends, or family to process and integrate new insights as a result of De-Armoring;
  • One should always check with a professional healthcare provider if it’s safe to engage in De-Armoring, and if perhaps other treatments would be more appropriate. This is particularly important if there are known medical or other health conditions, for instance such as mentioned hereunder:
    1. Cardiovascular disease or having suffered from heart attacks, high blood pressure, and/or angina;
    2. Glaucoma or retinal detachment;
    3. Recent injuries or surgery;
    4. If one takes medication;
    5. Mental health issues;
    6. Seizures and/or aneurysms;
    7. Osteoporosis;
    8. Asthma or other respiratory conditions.

Contraindications of De-Armoring

  • De-Armoring can help reduce stress and anxiety, give emotional release and relief, but mind that it’s not a replacement for surgical or medical treatment;
  • One should not engage in De-Armoring if there were negative experiences with previous sessions, although other types of De-Armoring treatments may be more suitable;
  • In a more general sense, De-Armoring is not advised for people with severe mental illness, seizure disorders, or those who use extensive medication;
  • If there is a clear and evident physical injury, or other physiologic reason for symptoms or pains, De-Armoring is most likely not the right tool or therapy;
  • If one doesn’t feel ready or open to explore and dive into the deeper realms of one’s emotions or trauma, it’s better to wait for a time when one is ready. Mind that revealing hidden emotional patterns and elements can impact the functionality of one’s life.
  • And last, but not least: it’s best to stay on the safe side and doesn’t engage in De-Armoring if one is pregnant or breastfeeding.

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