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.

1,447 thoughts on “Domestic Violence and dealing with hardness in our lives – Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy

  1. Letting go of old patterns can at times seem like a struggle because they are so ingrained that they have become part of our movements and seem so familiar that we think this is the normal way to be. I remember many years ago becoming very aware that my body felt hard but I put it down to my job and that I couldn’t change it until I changed my job which at the time was very physical. I have learnt that this is not true and that I can do physical work and still be gentle and delicate, and the way to do this is by becoming aware of every movement I make. It is an ongoing learning because I am also aware that my thoughts can also affect my movements based on my emotional reactions, and that this can also harden the body as a form of protection. This is where Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy is so supportive because it allows us to feel the delicateness of who we truly are and the possibility that there is another way to be.

  2. Being super kind to the body, gentle, tender, delicate, the body just loves it and feels lovelier incrementally so.

  3. What I can feel is how common it is for many of us to be in hardness, guarded, rough and tough in our every day. It’s like the survival of the physical body, and the spirit, depends on it, like it is on a mission. And this way of being is so common that we need another body to remind us that there is actually another way. On my way to work, there is this one crossing where people come from all directions and very often some people walk as if they are just literally bulldozing others, and recently I noticed how it makes a difference when I am more consciously aware of walking with myself and being and holding the space for me and for everyone else – no one walks into me, and in fact the way they walk suddenly changes as if they are being told to slow down and join in the space. It is actually very beautiful and fun to observe that.

  4. At times when I feel out of sorts if I come back to my body eventually all or some muscles release their tightness. In some instances I have not been aware of the tension and when it does release there’s a freak out and feeling vulnerable and exposed. But once that passes I get to feel that I can approach life without tensing and protecting myself. Takes time sometimes but it’s worth it.

  5. I love how connective tissue therapy works with the most subtle yet important body system which supports the whole structure and functioning of our bodies.

  6. “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.” It beautiful to feel the change in so many men who are students of Universal Medicine and reconnecting to the tenderness of who they are.

  7. Just to be presented with the fact that: “At any time we feel an insult, our connective tissue contracts, influencing the muscles, blood vessels, nerves or organs it is supporting” gives us such a deep insight into the amazingness of a body that supports us in every moment; a body we more often than not, take for granted. Now this is the sort of human biology I would have really appreciated being taught at school as I know it would have given me much more of an appreciation for my body than I did have for many years.

  8. When we perceive a hurt we contract, tighten and harden against that threat, but also against everything and anything else: our own love, and to expressing that/receiving others’ expression of it. While shutting down and bracing ourselves is always a choice (and one that we eventually learn to let go of, as we build our own self-love), we can’t pick and choose shutting down to one part of life or our bodies without that affecting the whole: a physical shut down is a shut down, nothing coming in or out.

  9. What I love about receiving Connective Tissue treatments is how the body knows instantly what is coming and responds accordingly. Even when my mind is too active and doesn’t want to let go of the thoughts the body knows different and welcomes the surrender.

  10. I always thought that the hardness in my body was a good thing. It made me strong and able to work hard.
    I did not realize that the hardness was a form of protection that I really did not need. That it did not protect me, it numbed me.
    After 50 years of living like this I found Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine.
    I am gradually letting go of my hardness and starting to truly feel.
    Challenging at times but it feels so good to feel again!

  11. The connection to our bodies can transform our lives, the more honest we become in our bodies the more realistic of the world we become.

  12. Through the Esoteric Connective Tissue therapy I have been able to connect to my body and know how it truly feels when the tension is released. The more I stay connected with my body throughout the day the more able I am to feel any tension that builds which gives me an opportunity to change my movements to release the tension before it builds up.

  13. It is understandable that our body hardens up when we live in a rhythm that goes against the natural rhythm and flow of our body and everything becomes complicated and a real effort. The quality of the Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy modality highlights the deep sensitivity of our body and how essential it is to be tender and nurturing with ourselves and our movements otherwise the hardness becomes our normal affecting all aspects of our life and our interactions with everyone.

  14. It is utterly amazing how Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy treatments can have such a broad and lasting affect on one’s whole life, which just goes to show how life itself is made up of our constant and ongoing movements.

  15. We have a responsibility – both men and women – to reflect to each other that we are able to be ourselves. Connective tissue therapy is such an amazing way for us to connect back to our bodies and to start to get a sense of the person we truly are underneath what we are told to be.

  16. There is a universal pulse – the Song of God – that lives within us all, connecting us not only to each other but also to the greater fabric of the universe to which we belong (God’s body). This pulse can be tangibly felt through our connective tissue when we feel at one with ourselves and with all others. Or, when we feel threatened we experience a feeling of hardness when this tissue contacts, hence the subsequent feeling of isolation and separation that ensues. The problem is that we have made the ‘hardness’ our norm when it is a far cry from the exquisite sensitivity of our natural state. The song never stops singing, but we become deaf to it.

  17. Hardness is not gender based – men and women alike can build this in their body, all we have to do is call in a force and our wish is it’s command, we harden, numb-out and become what we have called in.

  18. When I can feel a hardness in my body I am offered a moment to reflect on my livingness. How and in what way have I been moving my body in relationship to myself and to others? Have I been self loving and nurturing or have I been harming and abusive? This is not to self-criticise or judge but to support me to change my movements.

  19. It is quite incredible how we build elaborate prisons for ourselves, constructed out of the very physicality of our human form; its tissues and its organs, in order to feel ‘protected’ from what we perceive to be the harsh realities of the world, which are simply the various abuses we have let run by not honouring the fact that we are each extremely precious and divine underneath the crushing weight of our self-created fortifications.

  20. When I receive ECCT I feel how my body wants to surrender to what is on offer and like you’ve shared you get to feel the hardness that is held in the body but ECCT invites us to let go of any hardness of tension to return to our natural state of space, tenderness and being delicate.

  21. What I can feel is how domestic violence is just an extreme version of enactment of how so many of us, both men and women, carry ourselves in. I recently had an incident where I reacted with anger and even when I actually felt resolved within myself, I could feel there was still that choice to reactivate the anger and hardness ready and waiting, and I could really feel how suffocating and constricting even to just entertain that option, yet being gentle and tender was a choice that had to be consciously made.

  22. When we develop hardness in the body, it’s like a seemingly protective layer of numbness that means we don’t feel what is going on within or around us, as acutely – and so avoid taking responsibility for it. It feels like then we accumulate many more issues and hurts, storing them away in our bodies until such time that we decide we’re ready to deal with them – or our body makes us deal with it. Therapies like Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy are incredibly supportive in the way they assist a person to reconnect to their body, to actually want to feel again, and to then deal with some of the uncomfortable feelings that have been stuffed away, quite naturally and easily, as they surface to be healed and cleared.

  23. Yes, men are very sensitive so they respond to the demand to be rough and tough by being rough and tough. It is quite crazy.

  24. When our connective tissue is not in reaction and in its natural flow, the body and the inner being is in a much better place to respond to rather than react to life.

  25. I have been very hard with myself, learning to be gentle with myself has been a very healing experience and I know for sure that the Esoteric Modalities, such as ECTT have deeply supported this embracing of my gentle tender way of being. I am still active, I exercise, I work I clean the house but I do it more gently, this is more supportive and I listen to my body. Simple.

  26. Today I was at a workshop about body movement and connective tissue exercises presented by Kate Greenaway, I learned a lot about the important role connective tissue has in the body supporting us moving through the day. We did super simple exercises with a huge effect on our posture and how we move. I love the rhythmic fluid way of moving and cherising the body. And Kate was just gorgeous presenting what she loves to talk about and make people aware of, connective tissue.

  27. The quality of our each movement in life is to move with our innate tenderness and natural flow in life or to brace and harden against what we fear is coming towards us. The latter in fact offers no real protection as we continue to harden in our bodies as the natural flow of the connective tissue is shut down.

  28. ECTT is an amazing therapy and enables one to connect deeply within. When we feel this and connect with the love we are, we would never dream of abusing either ourselves or anyone else.

  29. As we become more aware of the connective tissue web running through the body, we can feel how it tightens or flows. I notice my posture so much more and can feel such a difference when sitting by moving my shoulders gently back a very short distance and can feel how the rhythmic movement releases any tension.

  30. 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?

  31. 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.

    1. I found that as well, if someone wanted to give me a shoulder massage my body would tense up and defend itself from the other persons hands. In Esoteric Connective Tissue Therapy everything melts and I sink into the table. I often get an amazing sleep in those sessions and it highlights how I go to sleep in bed isn’t as surrendered. It’s great to have these markers.

  32. 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.

  33. 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…

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

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

    1. I totally agree. And yet if we let ourselves be governed by any picture of how we think we should be in the world, we lose the power of that sensitivity, preciousness and tenderness and we are likely to hide our vulnerability and the truth of who we are behind the ideal or belief that we hold.

  41. 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?

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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.

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