What is a Cleansing Response?


A cleansing response is a stress response that occurs due to the therapeutic  process. It is often a normal part of the transformation process.  It is one way that the body learns and expresses itself, saying, for example,  'that was too much', or 'not that way'.


If the body has a cleansing response, we will need to 'repair': which means to correct the treatment approach, provide education, and discuss our communication process together.



A cleansing response is not common, but they can happen.  They are prevented with:

  1. Education of the therapeutic process.
  2. Understanding the reasonable expectation of the process.
  3. A good alliance between us.

The primary education tactics is to support you to understand:

  1. How to stay relaxed in your body during and after the session.
  2. How to process and transform emotions.
  3. How to reduce the stress reaction in your body.

There are, in general, three ares that cause a cleansing response.

  1. Physical issues
    1. Massage pressure is too deep.
      1. If the physical pressure is too deep, it can cause bruising or pain.
      2. Too much physical pressure can trigger the body to release the histamine molecule. This can cause pain, constriction, and flu-like symptoms later in the day or the next day.
    2. Massage pressure is too light
      1. Light pressure can cause a stress response that feels like uncomfortable tickling.
      2. Lighttouch can cause you to feel uneasy, vulnerable or unsafe.
    3. Hydration. You may feel disoriented after your session because you are dehydrated. Massage moves fluids in your body. Please drink water before and after your session. 
  1. Emotional consequence
    1. Relaxing and feeling your body can bring you to be aware of the real emotions, or old memory, you are holding.   This may trigger a stress response.
    2. You may feel self-conscious, uncomfortable, anxious, overwhelmed, ungrounded, disoriented, withdrawn or unsafe.
    3. Physically, this stress response may cause a headache, or a mild skin rash.
  1. Vulnerable and exposed/Too deep too fast
    1. You may relax and trust so quickly and deeply that you startle.
    2. You may feel vulnerable and exposed because the body sensations and depth of awareness is unfamiliar to you.
    3. You may feel like you are in a dream during sleep, then suddenly being awoken with a startle. You may feel disoriented and unsafe.

All of these ‘cleansing Responses’ are resolved with good education and awareness of the therapeutic process.


To prevent a cleansing response, at the beginning of the session we will discuss these issues.



Alliance and Repair


The best approach is to create a clear therapeutic alliance between us, such as:


  1. To establish trust
  2. To establish clear goals and outcomes.
  3. To establish our process of communication.

See: Our Alliance


Repair: Sometimes we may be out of synch during a session, where I do not understand exactly what you need.    If the body has a cleansing response, we will need to 'repair': which means to correct the treatment approach, provide education, and discuss our communication process together.


This is successful when we have a good alliance for our work together



About Daniel Lappin


Daniel an advance bodyworker and massage therapist.  He also supports clients with traditional, basic massage, Swedish, deep tissue, sports massage.


The mind-body treatments, or stress and illness treatments are different than a typical spa massage.  They access deeper mind-emotion-body awareness.


If you have not experienced deeper mind-emotion-body work, this may be initially surprising to you.


This work combines cranialsacral therapy, acupressure and energy meridian treatments, abdominal massage, reflexology, and guided meditation.   


This can be supportive and healing for you.  Please ask question and let’s discuss how this can support you.