What is Somatics?
As a result of injury or overuse, we tighten up our muscles. Stress has a similar effect: we tighten certain muscles so often or for such long periods that our brain -- the master-control organ of the muscular system -- learns to hold the tension indefinitely. For example, a car mechanic may develop back spasms or neck pain; a haircutter may develop wrist and hand pain; or someone with a stressful job or home life may develop headaches.
As we get used to this tension, we forget how
to relax it. The burn of muscle fatigue and stiffness become
permanent; inflammation, chronic fatigue, and joint degeneration
may occur as long-term side-effects of that tension. Pain
relievers only hide the continuing degeneration. Stress-related
symptoms such as headaches or sciatica may occur, seemingly
We may have had no injury or the injury may have healed, but painful muscular tension can interfere with movement and convince us that we do or still have an injury.
Because tight muscles cause pain and stiffness,
because your brain controls your muscles, and because somatic
education teaches you how to relax them, therapy that includes
somatic education has some advantages over therapy applied
to muscles and joints, alone: much less pain during therapy
and faster recovery. In many cases, Somatics is sufficient
as a stand-alone rehabilitation method, in which case the
number of sessions required depends upon the complexity of
the problem. In general, however, improvement begins quickly,
even with many conditions deemed "permanent and stationary."
If pain persists when injured tissue should already
have healed, if pain mysteriously appears and disappears,
or if it worsens over time or defies diagnosis by your doctor,
you may have such a muscular tension problem. In that case,
Somatics may be just the help you need.
Somatics is an approach to renewed control of the muscles through use of the voluntary motor system. It is the procedure for teaching voluntary conscious control of the neuromuscular system to persons suffering muscular disorders of an involuntary, unconscious nature. It involves simple movements done by the practitioner with the patient together; it is not massage or manipulation and can have a more profound effect than either in terms of relaxing muscles on a long term basis. It is also very relaxing and enjoyable to experience.