What is Somatics?
When learning about somatics, many search for a “somatic definition” – hoping to find something that will help them “define somatic” in their mind.
Well, here is a simple somatic definition: Somatics is a mind body approach to improving our health and well-being naturally.
Of course, in order to define somatic, we need to go a bit deeper; after all, how you move your entire self, not just your parts, is why this is a very different approach.
Somatic definition: The practice of Somatics…
• decreases muscle stiffness instantly
• reduces pain using a natural and little known brain process through targeted brain exercise
• lessens stress and tension the way our fellow animals release themselves
• and integrates how we move our entire body easily and surprisingly with little effort
There are many therapies which use the term Somatics, which is why a deeper somatic definition is helpful.
Thomas Hanna, author of Somatics: coined the term Somatics. He defined it “as the body experienced from within”. The very body which pains and pleasures us.
What he created is Hanna Somatic Education as a means to greater self care with an understanding of how we can improve ourself through simple, natural movement patterns which occur throughout our body.
Through the use of unusually, easy, gentle, somatics exercises that stimulate the brain to change the output to the muscles, targeting somatic cells in our body.
Tight, restrictive muscles simply let go.
The brain can be targeted through proper brain exercise so it will change how the muscles have a hold on us.
Somatic definition: Somatics allows us to easily have…
• More mobility
• Natural balance
• Pain free use of the muscles
So you can do freely what you want once again in your body.
Our brain’s sensory and motor cortex are developed to improve function resulting in higher integration of our body’s ability to move comfortably and functionally.
Rather than the traditional approach of exercise and stretching, somatics reveals an entirely new approach which most physical educators aren’t aware of and are just learning, continuing to define somatic for their own self.
Looking at the body to treat it with medication or surgery for pain is one viewpoint. Your physician, strength trainer or physical therapist looks at movement from a variety of viewpoints.
The way your body is looked at is based on what area you complain about or what area of your body is hurting.
This specialized way of looking at your body in terms of being tight, or weak and having pain is regarded by each professional in the various ways of looking at your anatomy from their perspective viewpoint.
Somatic definition: Somatics, a missing element.
The missing element in all these viewpoints is simply how fundamental movement isn’t brought into the dialogue and equation of solving pain, stiffness, and our lost ability to move as we care to without negative repercussions.
Natural movement patterns exist. It’s possible to separate a movement dysfunction from say our fitness and physical performance.
In other words, another somatic definition could be: Somatics is easy instead of being hard and arduous.
Being aggressive with our physical training can’t change our mobility without addressing compensations. These compensations add the possibility of increased chances of injury… as well as not solving the confinement of the binds we find our self in.
For instance, traditional muscle stretching is outdated. It causes muscles to re-tighten.
Instead of isolated body segments and range of motion, whole natural movement patterns are the key issue with somatics.
When you move, you move with your whole self, not in parts or segments and in particular ranges or degrees of movement as it traditionally measured.
You are a living being and moving your self around. Your entire movement is what is at stake, and this is why we are aiming to define somatic exercises and healing for your benefit – helping you use the proper brain exercise to target somatic cells and enjoy the healthy body you have a right to enjoy.
You can be measured for flexibility. Your strength can be normal. You can look normal, but our natural movement patterns may compensate or be inefficient or deficient which can lead to a risk of injury or hamper us in our efforts find a way out of our issues.
When you move as a whole being, your movement can be more or less than sum of your individual parts. Our entire movement competency is the starting point at what needs to be addressed.
Exercise is important but we first have to move well.
Somatics addresses how well we can move.
After we move well, then we can move efficiently to support our unique structure and its functions.
To increase our function, our brain can engage in the proper brain exercise to make the necessary changes to the muscles through a learning process via easy somatics exercises targeting somatic cells.
We change our awareness in our entire body so we can feel how our muscles coordinate their actions to serve us in a more refined manner.
Working with the brain and in this case I am talking about Somatics Exercises which are akin to brain exercise.
Rather than exercise as we know it, somatics is a way to change our muscles with the brain being the big muscle to do the job.
Exercising our brain allows us to further connections between our mind and body. How we move as a whole integrated living being… Reestablishing the connection provides us with vibrancy and effortless ease in using our self to accomplish whatever we want with our body.
In one sense, this is a long-winded somatic definition, but in another sense, all of this is necessary in order to define somatic. And truly, it is worth it, as somatics helps us with the set-up to movement, so we can move more comfortably for longer periods of time.
For a deeper look into the clinical approach to somatics.
Ed Barrera is a Hanna Somatic Educator with over 10 years of experience, helping people find natural pain relief through the brain exercise and muscle stretching that targets somatic cells and leads to a healthy, fully-functional body. It’s not just “alternative medicines” or “an alternative to exercise”; it’s natural pain relief that actually works!
To understand the somatic definition, visit our What is Somatics? page, where we define somatic and explain more about somatics and how the proper somatics information will help you direct your somatic cells toward natural healing and pain relief.