Healing through the lens of bodywork & emotions

An exploration into the impact of emotional & mental balance on long lasting tension release through bodywork

Over the years working on horses, I have found that releases are almost always accompanied by emotions. So in other words when a horse is about to release tension encouraged by the bodywork, it’ll often show clear signs of emotional “stress”.

On the active scale of reactions the horse might show a pawing the ground, getting very fidgety, wanting to kick or bite or going into an energy of despair. The more inactive reactions such as tiredness and exhaustion are also noticeable. So there is often a lot more behind the “sleepiness” or “agitation” which we perceive on the outside.

Tapping into these emotions intuitively while working on the horse is a powerful combination because it gives us context to what is currently in process in the horse. 

Emotions & Tension are a package 

Knowing about the relationship between tension and emotions has shaped my approach to work with horses. Before I “go in”, I find it important to give the horse the opportunity to get to know me, to ask questions and give him the gift of time & trust. In this space emotions, body stress, tension & beliefs are shared. Only after this conversation will I “work” on the horse. Don’t get me wrong. There is a lot of “work” done during this initial conversation and the healing happens immediately on a very deep level, because the horse is truly seen. 

A practical example

Imagine you have a stiff neck and you decide to see a therapist to “get this sorted out”. The neck might improve or the neck might go back to stiffening after a while. When this happens you might maybe wonder what is behind all of this.

Now, if you were a client (in this case a horse – just stay with me here), this is what we would do: 

Before working on your neck, I’d ask you some questions, some of them might be very deep. If you trust me enough, you’ll answer. And if I listen between the lines, I might find out that you seem to fear change and that makes your neck muscles & shoulders stiffen. 

Then we talk about change and where this might come from. And usually – after a good cry (tears are one of my favourite releases), I will work on your neck gently. The difference is I know what I am working with and my touch will hold an energy of deeper knowing, compassion and trust in your life path. It also holds the deep belief that you can heal the fear of change. 

And so this touch will be different. It is not a method, it is not a technique. It is a mutual conversation between yourself, your body and the therapist. 

And if the pattern is very deep (fear usually is) then it might take some time for more conversations, more treatments, more healing. But if you are committed to this path, there is a lot of light at the end of the tunnel. Actually there is a different view on life at the end of the tunnel. 

So, back to our furry friends.

Horses work just in the same way. In fact you’ll find that horses can go deep much more easily because they don’t identify with holding onto stuff and their mind won’t get in the way. 

So on the one hand there will be a conversation with the horse. And of course, there will be a conversation with the guardian as well. I always appreciate if the important conversations come up, such as early years, training methods, expectations, relationship concerns, living circumstances, yard dynamics,  etc. This way, we can talk through, we can feel through, we can work through. Hands on, heart wide open.

How long it’ll take for a pattern to shift, I do not know. Healing has its own time and process. But we are usually working with quantum leaps.

And in the end it is as simple as that: we open our hearts to change, we hold a space for whatever needs to come up and we stay present to the process, respecting its own time.

So this is my message: healing should encourage various modalities. Not every practitioner needs to know and deep dive into the emotional stuff. Not all of them actually can. They have different, specialised skills and that is valuable. But it is beneficial to have physical AND emotional helpers in your team for your horse (and yourself).

Another example: Penny’s spine 

When I felt that our girl Penny was ready to shift her patterns, she allowed me to call in a chiropractor to align her spine, which was very much out of place.

Being a racehorse in the past is not an easy package and letting go comes in many layers. In this case, the treatment offered Penny to be “straightened out” – but on an emotional level she also realised how crooked she had to become just to cope with the demands of that racing life. 

Now that awakening and re-aligning is not a fluffy path. I did have to emotionally support her after the session as lot’s of anger and despair came up, so she could progress further in her healing journey. Acknowledging that side of the “mental alignment” is as important as working with the spine itself, because one impacts the other. 

It’s not what is on the outside but what is on the inside, that counts

Comfortable body = Peace of Mind
Peace of Mind = Comfortable body

No matter where you start, my invitation is to look at tension holistically. 

And lastly: Will something shift inside YOU, when your horse is working through stuff?

ABSOLUTELY! But this is nothing I can explain, this is something I want to you to experience. Cause remember we are always connected. to our animals, to Life, to the bigger patterns & rhythms. No one is separate. 

And if you feel your horse is ready for a healing & bodywork session, or you need support on the communication side, I am here to support you. 

With Love, Anne


Bodywork and trauma

Shifting the “Island of Trust” into a “Trustworthy Life”

Anne Scharlow

Anne Scharlow, an animal communicator & healer, offers a holistic approach to helping animals and their owners achieve balance and harmony. Anne uses her unique abilities to communicate with animals to help solve behavioral problems, enrich relationships, and support overall well-being. For horses specifically, she combines her intuitive skills with bodywork and mindfulness to balance the nervous system and restore relaxation. Anne offers workshops and 1on1 sessions.