FAQ: Can Somatics Fix My _____________ Problem?

I get this question all the time. People want to know how to fix their parts and address their specific conditions.

And, yeah, I know. I do tout Somatics classes focusing on areas of the body. But I do that pretty much to appeal to your current beliefs about pain relief.

So, yes, Somatics can absolutely help you, but not in the way you have been conditioned to address your pain and problem areas.

Somatics is not about fixing parts of your body, such as your inflexible hamstrings, a sore knee, or your tight lower back.

Nor is about fixing your particular diagnosed condition, such as TMJ disorder, plantar fasciitis or scoliosis.

The typical approaches to fixing you are looking at your body as a bunch of parts. That mindset is just paying attention to the area where you feel your problem.

Somatics is different.

Instead of addressing areas of your body, as a Clinical Somatic Educator, I look at how you move and stand and sit, as the whole being you are.

Where are your full-body tension patterns?

Can you sense it?

If you can sense it, you can change it.

From there, I teach you how to release them. Without stretching or strengthening, but with special, innate movements called pandiculations.

Pandiculations reset your muscles to their natural resting length, under the sensory-motor awareness of your brain.

Somatics addresses the root of your pain problem: your brain!  

When you turn your head to look out the rearview mirror, reach down to pick up a golf tee, ride your bike, feed yourself with a fork and knife, sit at your laptop, whatever you do, your whole body contracts and moves as a whole system.

When you are first learning to do any kind of movement, you are conscious and the brain and nervous system are hyper aware of what is happening. This is called neuroplasticity. Neural pathways are being laid down between your brain and body. It's all part of the learning process.

As you master a movement, those learned skills are downshifted to the subconscious "autopilot" area of your brain.

Eventually, the concentration to initially learn how to do something is no longer required.

That's why once you learn to ride a bike, you can think about what's for dinner and take in the lovely flowers along side the road as you pedal long on your ride.

You can also learn faulty patterns that are causing your pain. 

As an example, consider how many of us are sitting too much, rounding over our devices. As you do that repeatedly, for hours every day, year after year, you are literally learning how to tense and tighten the chest, belly, hip flexors, back of neck, shoulders, inner thighs, even the tops of the feet.

You do it so well, your brain thinks that residual, low-grade, perpetual tension is the resting length of your muscles.

Over the years the low-grade tension gets tighter and tighter. To the point that the body can no longer tolerate the tightness. That's why clients often say their pain "just came out of no where" but in reality it's been creeping up on them for a long time. We call this unawareness Sensory-Motor Amnesia. Your sensory motor cortex has lost voluntary control of your muscles.

See where I'm going with this? That front-of-body tension will impact how your function! How you hold your body,  AKA "your posture," can be the true cause of your knee, neck, shoulder, jaw pain. It could also be contributing to your urinary incontinence, GERD, brain fog, and digestive issues. It's also the posture of anxiety and depression.

This is an example, but you may be holding more tension in the back of your body or down the sides, or even a combo of all of them.

So, when you take your body to a body-fixer, they try to fix your parts. Whether it's with manipulation, drugs, surgery, etc. None of those methods are addressing the full body patterns, or your sensory-motor cortex, the part of the brain that has learned to hinder your freedom to move with ease.

Somatic Educators help you sense what your brain is doing to your body, and relearn to let it go.

So, long story short, you gotta address your full body patterns to get rid of your pain and conditions.

Here are a few more points to make about addressing your parts.

Pay attention to your parts when you do the full-body pandiculations.

When you do your full body pandiculations, pay mindful attention to the areas that are bothering you. Let's say you have "tight hamstrings." As you do the back lift can you feel how they contract? Can you feel how they are part of the tight back side of your body? Do you completely let them go, BEFORE you do another back lift? In somatics we talk about working from the center to the periphery. Center meaning torso, and periphery meaning the limbs. Make sure you are releasing all the way out to your periphery.

Your area of pain might not be where the problem lies.

I worked with a woman with a torn meniscus. She wanted to avoid surgery. At the end of her initial hour-long session her knee was pain free. I never touched her knee either. Her knee was moving in a way that was hurting her, and it was due to her tension in her center. Once we freed up that tension in her low back and belly and chest, her legs could function as they were meant to.

I worked with a woman who complained of left shoulder pain, but when I worked with her, I addressed her tension patterns running down the right side of her body. At the end of her session, her left shoulder was much better. This was a hard thing for her to accept, because she was a bodyworker herself. :-) 

It takes time to become deeply aware of ourselves.

Our world is very externally driven and stimulating. When we are young, we are more internally aware, but the world programs us to pay more attention to things outside of us, than inside. Your internal awareness is actually one of your senses, and it's called interoception. And just like a sommelier can develop her sense of taste and smell, and a musician can develop a keen ear, so too can you enhance your ability to sense yourself. 

Even after six years as a Somatic Educator I continue to develop a deeper sense of how I am, how I feel and move through my life. We can continue to learn and grow until our last breath. It is a choice.

Lastly, you can pandiculate your parts.

Ok, before I elaborate, repeat after me, "To truly get rid of my pain, I need to pandiculate my whole body first!" That said, you are perfectly free to to do pandiculations for your neck, or your hamstrings, or your hands. Where ever you want! As you pandiculate your parts, sense how tensing those parts creates tension that goes into your whole body. This is where clients ask, "Yeah, but I don't know what to do!" 

Get on the floor and explore!

All animals pandiculate. You are born with an innate ability to tense and release --pandiculate-- any time you need. And really, you should be pandiculating freely and frequently all day long.

Somatics is not about fixing you, but rather freeing you. 

The Somatic movements I teach are not set in stone. There is no exact way to do Somatics. Somatics about feeling, not just doing. 

Free yourself from the stressors of life that hold your body and mind hostage, and hinder you being your true self.

The ways you can move are infinite.

The things you can sense are infinite.

The things you can learn are infinite.

Give yourself the freedom to play.

Explore. 

Be kind to yourself. 

Take your time. 

Have fun!

peace,
Kristin

PS Need some personalized guidance? Let's work together in person or online. I'm looking forward to it!

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