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  • Heather Michele

What is Somatics?

Updated: Jul 22, 2023

Throughout our lives, our sensory-motor systems continually respond to the daily stresses and traumas with specific muscular reflexes. These reflexes, triggered repeatedly, create habitual muscular contraction patterns which can’t just be relaxed voluntarily. These contractions become unconscious and involuntary until we no longer remember how to move freely in our bodies. This is what Thomas Hanna referred to as Sensory-Motor Amnesia.

Using the exercises and techniques created by Functional Integration practitioner, Thomas Hanna Ph.D., Somatics exercises provide a simple and direct way to reprogram the sensory-motor system and effectively release chronically contracted muscles. The targeted exercises empower you, the participant, by providing simple techniques to reset the resting state of chronically tense muscles and regain sensory awareness in areas of the body that suffer from Sensory Motor Amnesia.

How it works:

Our tight/contracted muscles are held in a holding pattern that is powered by the unconscious part of your brain (the cerebellum) which is constantly sending messages via the nervous system to these muscle groups to continue contracting without your conscious awareness. Somatics uses the Pandiculation method of consciously contracting the muscle followed by a slow eccentric release while engaging the conscious part of your brain (the prefrontal cortex) to send the necessary messages via the nervous system to these tight muscles to release their contraction. Therefore, resetting its resting state to an elongated and more relaxed resting state. This new mind-body awareness enables you to have access to parts of the body that are being underutilized and release the overused muscles to provide safer, healthier and more efficient movement patterns to reduce pain and prevent injury.

(Pandiculation Video courtesy of Lawrence Gold)

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