What Exactly is Somatics?

Somatics is a generic name for Clinical Somatic Education, the neuro-muscular education work created by Dr. Thomas Hanna. It is an advanced, physical technique that relieves pain, promotes flexibility, improves posture & athletic performance and provides an excellent avenue for successful aging.

The Clinical Somatics™ process uses hands-on guided movement with a practitioner as well as a series of self care movements and exercises (lasting as little as 5 minutes a day) that lengthen muscles back to their natural, relaxed state and correct inefficient movement patterns. These movements can be done alone or in a group class.

When muscles become chronically contracted from misuse, physical and emotional stress, and injury and trauma, the body becomes imbalanced. Years of adjusting to these changes can lead to pain in the neck, back, hips, knees, shoulders, etc., eventually leading to sciatica, scoliosis, carpal tunnel, disc degeneration, arthritis, fatigue, and other structural and functional problems. Once the muscles are relaxed and balanced through Clinical Somatics, posture and functioning return to normal, flexibility returns, and you often feel more energetic, since you require much less effort to do things like stand, walk, dance, and exercise.

How Does it Work?

Your brain controls all voluntary movement in your body. That means that as you read this, the movement of your eyes, the position you are sitting in, and the position of your hand on the mouse are all being monitored by nerves sending constant messages to your brain, then reporting back to control your eyes, hands, and the rest of your body.

If you do something over and over, (for example, if you sit in a certain position every day at work, or were in a cast for six weeks when you broke your leg ice skating, or if you just have a tendency to brace your shoulders against the pressures of emotional stress), your brain will stop thinking about that position-you'll just 'naturally' come to rest in a particular way, or you will always be a little more cautious on that leg. This is called habituation. Habituation lets us stop thinking about the mundane things like how to sit in a chair, and allows us to concentrate on more complicated things, like reading, talking, painting, drawing, running...

Unfortunately, the down side to habituation is the very thing that makes it so useful-it makes things involuntary. When we stop thinking about how to sit, for example, there are signals coming down from the brain that we are completely unaware of. If those signals cause us to move in patterns that still let us function without pain, that's great. But sometimes, those signals can hold us in patterns of tension that make it difficult to walk, do yoga, or pick up our kids. Even worse, those signals can cause muscles to pull on bones in such a way that our spines, shoulders, or hips can come out of alignment and create painful conditions such as herniated discs, frozen shoulders, sciatica, tendonitis, and more. When habituation becomes limiting in this way, we call it Sensory Motor Amnesia (SMA), because it describes a condition in which we've forgotten how to feel and move parts of our body.

Clinical Somatic Education is based on a new cutting-edge understanding of neurophysiology. It is a gentle technique that not only provides pain relief but prevents and even reverses many of the signs of aging. By learning simple movements that release tight, restricted muscles to their former lengthier relaxed state, you can become victorious over the negative effects of accumulated stress on your body. Through practicing somatic education you can learn to create long-lasting changes in your movements, range of motion, postural alignment, coordination and bodily efficiency. Unlike other modalities that may only treat symptoms, somatics works from within to change your body systemically. In CSE sessions your brain actually learns to replace old restrictive patterns of operating with free, more balanced movements. The result is a more balanced body. Learning and practicing somatics can lead to optimal health and well being.

What Makes Clinical Somatics so Effective?

Clinical Somatics leads you through comfortable movements that focus the brain specifically on the contracted muscles and movement patterns. Once the brain is made aware of the held contractions, it is able to release them back to a relaxed state. Other pain relief and rehabilitative methods rely on someone else to "do the work". When you actively engage yourself in the process, the muscles follow and do what they are asked.

Clinical Somatics uses the most sophisticated techniques, based on a thorough and modern understanding of human functioning, to create long-lasting and direct changes in your movement, coordination, and efficiency. Through Private Sessions or Group Classes, you can enhance your overall well-being and ability to function, as "mind" and "body" become more in tune and integrated to help you direct your intentions in the world more effectively.

In CSE sessions, your brain actually learns how to replace old, restrictive ways of operating with free, coordinated, more balanced movement patterns. You regain more control of your muscles, and are able to relax tight muscles, often resulting in spontaneous spinal self-adjustments (complete with popping!). As with all types of learning based changes in life, the ways to gain (and maintain!) improvement soon seem second nature-which, in fact, they are! With CSE, you will remind yourself of what your body already knows about keeping itself supple, free, and moving, for the rest of your life.

For additional information about Clinical Somatic Education, you can go to www.somatics.com


Learn to become more supple, more coordinated, more graceful, more youthful, healthier and more free from physical discomfort and pain! Somatics is an easy but powerful way to be your best self. This instructional video will teach you to retrain your musculature through Somatics — releasing sore, tight muscles and getting them to work together for optimum physical performance.

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