Domestic Violence and dealing with hardness in our lives – Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy

 By Simon Voysey, B. Ed Human Movement, Dip RM, Esoteric Healing Practitioner, Sydney, Australia.

I was watching a TV program the other night and there was a panel of four, three women and one man, discussing domestic violence. Asked at the end of the discussion to state, in their opinion, what was the most important thing to tackle about domestic violence, the man replied that men needed to get rid of the rough and tough image of what it was to be a man.  As the camera panned back to the women, all three were nodding implicitly.

Addressing the rough and tough image around being a man is a key factor in understanding domestic violence. And one very important aspect of this is the hardness that men develop in their bodies and the insensitivity that goes with it.  Men are conditioned from a very young age to be tough, to not cry, to be insensitive and physiologically this means holding hardness in their bodies.  


To explain this in physiological terms is very simple. The hardness is like a bracing in the body, which occurs when we take on the image of being tough. When you are told to ‘suck it up’ or not be ‘a sissy’, or ‘a girl’, there is literally a tensing in the body and over time, the hurts that could easily be released by expressing how you feel and perhaps crying, instead become a held tension in muscles, connective tissue and even deeper in organs. The deeper hardness in organs means a more entrenched hardness in the body, which affects its natural harmonious function and flow, and the resulting physiological and emotional dysfunction can lead to the body becoming run down, to depression and to other forms of mental and physical illness.

Emotional dysfunction means living in reaction. This means reacting way out of proportion when feeling threatened, even by someone who is not physically threatening you. Such ‘irrational’ behaviour goes hand in hand with hardness in the body, which can lead to people being abusive, or accepting abuse, as well as being a factor in many other lifestyle choices that do not make sense such as emotional eating, alcohol and drug abuse, and indeed any other choice that can harm our bodies.


Our Connective Tissue

The very interesting relationship between the hardness held in our bodies and our behaviour, highlights the importance of understanding the role our connective tissue plays in our physiological and psychological health and wellbeing.  The role assigned to our connective tissue in modern medical science is of protection and support of other body tissue.  The fact that it wraps around muscles, joints and bones, all of our blood vessels, nerves and organs, plus throughout our central nervous system, the spine and brain, indicates how important connective tissue is to our general wellbeing.  In its role as a protective layer of our body, it is very sensitive to impending hurts.

At any time we feel an insult, our connective tissue contracts, influencing the muscles, blood vessels, nerves or organs it is supporting.  The hardness held in our bodies significantly relates to how the connective tissue acts like an ‘armour’ and as muscle fascia, it relates to the hardness in muscles often seen in men as ‘beneficial’ – according to the model of how ‘a man’ should be.  Yet this kind of hardness does not release as a muscle should, when not actively being used.  It stays tense, and so, the whole sensitivity of our awareness to our world becomes distorted and dulled, just as if we were wearing armour all day long.

Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy

Through the amazing work of Serge Benhayon and Kate Greenaway – a physiotherapist who has worked in close relationship with Serge for many years – a form of healing called Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy  (ECTT) has evolved.  This therapy knows and understands our body and the role of connective tissue to such a deep extent, that it recognises how very subtle movements applied to the body causes a physiological and energetic shift in people’s bodies, like a ‘ripple effect’, where the hardness can release markedly even in one session.  ECTT is a very gentle therapy performed lying on a massage table, which has been found to be great for the relief of pain. Yet more importantly in the context of this article, any one who receives ECTT gets to feel the hardness held in their body and how unnatural it is compared to the natural sensitivity and tenderness that we can surrender to in treatments.

My personal experience of ECTT and Esoteric Healing began several years ago when as a fitness and Yoga instructor I considered myself to be very strong, fit and flexible. Through these deeply connected modalities I became aware of the hardness in my body and this awareness was integral to how I changed my exercise and Yoga practice. The sensitivity I reclaimed meant listening to my body and exploring a totally different relationship with it to avoid any insult I was causing my body through intense, forceful or jarring exercise or stretching.


This increased sensitivity and awareness has also become a whole new foundation for the way I live and brought a new more gentle quality to everything I do, which has greatly increased my level of vitality and my sense of wellbeing. Letting go of hardness and honouring my deeper sensitivity has led to a tender, loving way of being that has positively affected my whole life, including all of my relationships.

The extension of ECTT into everyday life is choosing to be sensitive and gentle with ourselves, rather than tough and hard in how we live our lives. This includes the choice to be present with our bodies and to the constant signals they offer us about our posture, the quality of our movement and how we relate to people. These choices can be easily made when we begin to feel and appreciate what a difference it makes to our energy levels, our self-confidence and our overall quality of life.

1,409 thoughts on “Domestic Violence and dealing with hardness in our lives – Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy

  1. In the early part of this article you talk about the panel of men and women on the tv show, discussing what needs to change for domestic violence to stop. And all agreed that men needed to change the image of the rough-tough guy they were carrying. And what I find interesting about this is how normal it is for many situations to be addressed in this way: a problem is presented and a solution is given. But in all the years of life on earth, with all the solutions – there still remains critically high levels of distress on our planet between people. No solutions are working… so what is there left for us to do, or turn to? When will the solution making panels of discussion start to be really honest?

  2. I have received ECTT – and my body melts. What I find interesting to observe is that I was well into massages. They were a ‘good idea for stress relief’ and so I had them a lot. But my body would actually tense up. I’d always want to engage with the person giving the treatment or wonder what they thought of my body – it put me in a lot of tension. In ECTT – my body simply dropped. It said no to all the thoughts and yes to the hands that allowed the healing. My body simply let go. And still continues to do so. Sometimes I fall asleep – but this reflected to me at first the depths of letting go my body needed to get to so my mind would also let go. It is a constant journey that has allowed me to see that there is a type of bodywork that actually supports us.

  3. Simon, I really enjoyed reading just how vast and critical our connective tissue system is in our bodies, and how the ripple effect of hardening out of protection cascades into virtually every other bodily system. From this, it only makes sense how every single movement that we make is so critical to do in at the very least a gentle way in order to keep the whole body fluid and open in order to feel all there is to feel and function properly.

  4. It’s so lovely to come back to this blog. As I read it my whole body responds and opens and softens and breathes. There is no reason to hold on to the hardness, and it feels so amazing when we allow the flow throughout our bodies. A great reminder that it is the connective tissue that contracts before anything else. I will take this with me into my day…

  5. Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy definitely exposes the hardness and holding we have within our body, the body will always expose how we are truly living, and the more we hold back the deeper into the body it goes, through ECTT we learn how tender the body is, and how tender we naturally are.

  6. Our connective tissue is exactly that – a tissue that connects our every part back with the whole it is a part of. If we insist on living life as a tiny isolated unit (the ‘individual’) at great expense to the whole we form a part of, then it makes sense that we have to harden and constrict this tissue so as to form ‘walls’ where there in-truth are none.

  7. Women can develop that hardness too, at boarding school I learned not to cry in public and it has taken me 60 years to break down that hardness and allow myself to be vulnerable in front of others. I shut down rather than express but the tension in my body is becoming unbearable, so I am learning to observe, appreciate and express what I feel.

  8. It makes complete sense that if we look after ourselves if we are gentle and not hard and if we deeply nurture and care for the way we live life then domestic violence would be something that naturally fades away and out of the normality it is today.

  9. The Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy is an incredibly powerful modality, you certainly feel how delicate and tender we all are and how we have hardened our bodies over time where we can be numb to any abuse we have allowed.

  10. When we harden, we close ourselves off to the world – to ourselves and to others. For many (myself included) this is a way of ‘coping with the madness of the world’. But it actually contributes to it, it keeps us in a hardened protected state which keeps us separate from each other and ourselves.

  11. The more we connect with how sensitive, tender and precious we are the less violence of any sort we will have in this world.

  12. What is abuse in truth when even not being gentle with ourselves or in life causes hardness and contraction within our body and our connective tissue?

  13. I love your description Simon of how when we are tense in our bodies, it is akin to wearing a suit of armour. Having let go of an enormous amount of hardness in my own body, it becomes very clear and sometimes even painful to feel when I do allow any hardness to come back in. Allowing the delicate and gentle flow of how my body wants to move when I dont try to control it with my mind, and I am fully connected from the inside to the outside, is totally exquisite to feel.

  14. I recently took part in the Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy course and it was really amazing to feel how giving session was just as equally a profound experience as receiving one. It truly is a fascinating modality.

  15. What is fundamentally brilliant about this piece, is how you extend the practice of Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy in to one’s life – so it is not exclusive to the therapist performing the treatment or even the treatment room itself – because you have presented that we can in fact live in a way that supports an open and subtle connective tissue throughout our bodies.

  16. What strikes me is how my view of what violence and abuse are has changed significantly, from being extreme in the past to realizing the subtle and daily ways that I may be abusive with how I treat myself and others, in the same vein it shows much more love and care that I am now putting into my life. One session of esoteric connective tissue therapy helps connect with one’s body in a truly deep way.

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