Somatics with a capital S

 The word somatics is being thrown around a lot these days. I just want to interject a quick note amidst all the chatter. 

You have a somatic nervous system. It is the part of the nervous system that voluntarily moves your body the way you want, and senses it.

A lot of "mind-body" fitness/movement programming can fall under somatics (with a lower case s). Yoga, pilates, tai chi, etc., when done slowly and with awareness can be considered "somatic." 

Thomas Hanna, the philosopher behind the work referred to as Hanna Somatics or Clinical Somatics is also a somatic method. Hanna actually wanted to call his work just "Somatics" but couldn't trademark the word, so he added his name to it for his method.

So when I refer to Somatics with a capital S, that's what I'm talking about. Somatics is the tradition of Thomas Hanna.

 But alas, there are lots of somatic modalities out there, many calling themselves "Somatics" but aren't the same thing at all. 

Hanna or Clinical or Essential Somatics is a "bottom up" method, meaning from the body to the brain. It is a method of resolving tension that is triggered by physical, mental and emotional pain. Most other methods are still trying to change things from a cognitive level; by thinking and sending thoughtful messages to the body to do or be a certain way. We can't think our way to physical changes, we have to feel it, so we neurologically rewire the whole system to find a more homeostatic (calm, neutral) state of being. 

Somatics with a capital S is changing things on the neurological level, within the body, up to the brain. Yes, there is a cognitive aspect to the work. The sensations of the body do register in the brain. The act of pandiculating is connecting the receptors in the muscles to the brain. 

I'll keep it short, but just know that Somatics with a capital S is completely different and much more powerful than most other methods, because it goes to the root of everything we do; the brain, via the body. Not the other way around. Make sense? 

You can read more about Somatics on my website thinksomatics.com.

~Kristin



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