What is Somatics???
Most people have heard of pilates and yoga. But have you heard of Somatics? This is quite a new modality in the UK but is growing and the reason for this is because of the benefits people experience. Somatic movements help to ease stiffness and tension in the body and reduce or alleviate chronic muscular pain by working on re-establishing the connection between the brain and the muscles.
Why do we become stiff and develop chronic pain
Over the course of our lives we are exposed to numerous stressful experiences. These can be environmental such as moving house, traffic jams, road works etc; Physical e.g injury, surgery or having an illness; or Emotional e.g juggling work and family life. Our bodies respond to these stressful experiences by contracting our muscles and over the course of time we develop holding patterns which become habituated.
Have you ever been in the car and someone cuts up in front of you nearly causing a collision? How does your body respond? I expect that you may notice that your muscles have tightened up in response to this and perhaps your shoulders are up near your ears. If this is how your body responds unconsciously again and again to stressful experiences such as this over many years you may start to develop stiffness in the neck and shoulders as well as pain. You may also develop stiffness in other parts of the body.
The reason this happens is because the brain controls the movement of muscles. And just like the brain can teach you how to ride a bike it can also teach you how to contract your muscles in response to stress. The problem is because this happens again and again over many years eventually the brain forgets how to release these muscles and they become chronically contracted causing stiffness and sometimes chronic pain. Because this happens over time the association of this reduction in movement is linked to aging, but in actual fact it is due to having chronically contracted muscles. The good new is that this can be reversed using somatic movements.
How can Somatic Movements help?
Somatic movements are neurological movements. What I mean by that is that they work by changing what is going on in the brain and by re-establishing that brain to muscle connection. Have you ever been told to sit up straight as this will improve your posture? Can you maintain this? Probably not. The reason why not is because you have a default posture that your body will return to unconsciously. We call this a pattern which over time has become habituated. The only way to correct this is to become more consciously aware of what your body is doing. Somatic movements help you to regain control of your muscles again by improving the brain and muscle connection. Through doing somatic movements you will increase your awareness of how you sense and feel your body from within which will mean you will become more consciously aware and in control of your body movements. The result is that you will be able to move more freely and without pain.
Somatic movements will help with daily activities such as walking, reaching and twisting. They will also enhance your current regular exercise routines or sporting activities you do by improving your performance and reducing the risk of injury.
I am currently running a Somatics class on Thursday evenings and will be starting up more classes soon as well as taster sessions. If you would like more information about Somatics please give me a call or drop me a message.