Clinical Somatics is a movement based therapy that asks us to observe from within those areas of our body where we feel freedom of movement and those areas where we feel restricted due to chronic tension.
Working from the center of the body – the core – we begin to release the large muscles through a sequence of safe and gentle movements. These movements are based on a series of patterns that are seen in the body. These patterns are strong reflexes that are “hard-wired” into the sensory-motor nervous system (Red Light Reflex, Green Light Reflex, and Trauma Reflex) and have evolved over time.
"Clinical Somatics the the only sensory motor training method that teaches you to reverse the root cause of most chronic muscle pain and gives you strategies to reduce muscle tension and pain in the future. In Clinical Somatics we teach you, through simple movements, how to relax the muscles that contribute to your pain." Martha Peterson, Move Without Pain
What is Sensory Motor Amnesia?
Somatics treats Sensory Motor Amnesia – a condition in which muscles have become chronically contracted and are not able to relax because the brain has surrendered control of the muscle to the subconscious mind. Not only have we forgotten how to release these muscles, often we are not even aware that the contractions exist, hence - amnesia...
Somatics targets the source of chronic muscular pain - the brain or more specifically, the sensory motor nervous system. In order to reduce or eliminate your pain, you must understand what caused it in the first place. Sensory Motor Amnesia develops when we respond to accidents, injuries, surgeries, and on-going stress with contraction of muscles. If this response continues - we create a habit - the brain and the nervous system begin to think these contractions are normal - this is called habituation. Because the brain controls the muscles, the brain must be involved in teaching them to relax, release and remember how to move again.
Structure vs. Function?
By the time our pain causes us to seek treatment, often the problem is viewed as a structural issue requiring surgery or long term management with pain medications, steroids, or other means. Many people have different structures. This might be one leg shorter than the other, an extra vertebra in their lumbar spine, or even a missing limb. Although these structural differences may affect how their body functions – everyone can use Somatics to maximize their potential.
Often, the real issue is functional – that is, the pain is caused by the way we are using our muscles (or not using our muscles). It is very difficult to change structure, but with Somatics, you can change function in a matter of minutes.
How do we change Function?
We do this by voluntarily engaging the contracted muscle and then slowly releasing it. This is called pandiculation. Pandiculation requires the full attention of our conscious mind or cortex. This allows us to take back control of the muscle and deepen the sensory-motor pathway that lets us relax a muscle when it is not being used. Only you can make these changes by being engaged in the process.
Why is Somatics Different?
Traditional therapies often begin with strengthening (which layers tension over already contracted muscles) or stretching (which activates stretch reflex – a natural reflex that results in heightened tension levels). Somatics uses other natural mechanisms of the central nervous system to voluntarily release muscles from within. Clinical Somatics can help everyone attain a new freedom in their bodies and function at their best.
Not only do you learn somatic exercises to retrain your brain - you also develop a greater awareness of the effects of stress on your body and your habitual bodily responses to stress.
What are the Benefits of Clinical Somatics?
Long term relief of acute and chronic pain caused by musculoskeletal conditions.
A toolbox full of tools that can teach you how to regain control of muscles affected by sensory motor amnesia.
Increased flexibility without pulling and tugging on your muscles!
Increased balance and coordination.
Increased awareness of your stress triggers and the means to relieve stress.
An effective and noninvasive alternative to drugs and surgery.
What conditions can be helped or eliminated by Clinical Somatics?
Joint and muscle pain
Neck, shoulder, and back pain
Hip, Knee, and foot pain
Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
Repetative Stree Injuries
Accident traumas and whiplash