What Is Neo-Reichian Massage Therapy?

Published: Feb 11, 2024 | Revised: Feb 23, 2024
Written by: Marce Ferreira

Acupressure in the face and on the jaw

Neo-Reichian Massage Therapy draws on the insights and work of Wilhelm Reich, notably on his Vegetotherapy practice, and takes into account that many physical tensions, pains, muscle contractions and constrictions in the body represent (or are a reflection of) repressed or suppressed emotions and trauma.

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As such, Neo-Reichian Massage is a form of holistic Mind-Body therapy, and part of the Body Psychotherapy realm, the latter also called Body-Oriented Psychotherapy or Somatic Therapy.

Although clients will typically visit a massage therapist to resolve physical pains or discomforts, Neo-Reichian massage therapists will work on so-called Body De-Armoring, that is, they will focus on releasing physical tensions and blockages to not only come to physical body healing but also emotional healing.

Moreover, building further on Reich’s work, therapists will focus their sessions on seven specific muscle segments where armoring takes place across the body, forming seven rings in a horizontal fashion: ocular, oral, cervical, upper thoracic, diaphragmatic, abdominal and pelvic. These regions roughly correspond with the seven main Chakras as known in Tantra and Yoga.

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Promoting the free flow of Vital Life Energy in the body — which Reich called Orgone — is also a primary objective as it’s thought that muscular constrictions (the Body Armor or Muscular Armor) inhibit energy circulation through the body and subsequently causes illnesses and discomforts on a physical, emotional, sexual, and spiritual level.

Creating awareness is an important aspect of this massage therapy, that is, the therapist will also work verbally with the client on making them aware of the connection between their bodily tensions and unresolved emotions, inciting them to express their deeper feelings and emotions. Full awareness of their situation is seen as the start of healing.

Other specific techniques applied in a full body Reichian Massage session typically include forms of conscious breathwork, acupressure, and deep pressure.

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