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Aug
12

What does Somatics Mean to You?

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The term somatics, coined by author Thomas Hanna, has been described as the body experienced from within.

What Somatics means to others?

When asked the question of what Somatics mean, I wanted to know what our class participants thoughts were. Below is a recording of one answer.


“It’s a fabulous method of healing and releasing muscles and tissues that are tight so they function more normally again. I had a lot of injuries that are resolving now. For me, it’s about releasing in a deep state body of relaxation that you get into when you do it.”

How Somatics Works, Against or With Our Mind

She then went onto to describe how she thinks somatics works at a physiological level.

“So every muscle has receptors that are constantly monitoring its length and its shortening. And very often when we get in tension patterns or have injuries, the muscles really shorten. Then this little feedback loop goes on and its shortened.

Somatics is a way of releasing that. So its really about working with the brain as much as it is working with the muscles. Then these stretch receptors in the muscles let go of that setting and begin to reset themselves to a more normal relaxed one. So… and it works!”

One of the guys in class had this to say: “For the first time in 5 years I had more spring in my step”.

Another woman chimed in: “It’s as if this is going against what our mind would think would work. We’re trained in yoga and every thing I’ve done before. Just gentle stretching is all we need to do. You know that’ll lengthen the muscle.

My experience is my body got tighter and tighter doing that. This morning I woke up and felt like I got run over by a truck because I had not been doing my somatics since I had been gone. It’s a way I manage discomfort in my body. Everything kind of crept back in again.

And I did it this morning. It’s like, it’s suddenly not everything is perfect but I feel perfectly fine. I can move again.”

Somatics, the Fountain of Youth

From one of our dolphin lovers in class…

“One of the things I say to people is… it’s the fountain of youth. It feels on every level to me.

One of the many things I love about it is I have memories what it feels like… and memory isn’t really the word… when I skied or swim with the dolphins… feeling that again, it’s so important and freeing to me.”

If you’ve experienced somatics, what does it mean to you? Please post your comments, let me know or heck even make a video and we’ll take a look at what you have to say!

If you haven’t experienced yourself somatically, you can join us for certain movement patterns we play with to free our hamstrings and back to discover deep relaxation. Find out more at our sister site how somatics can be the other side of exercise to set us free.

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Apr
18

Back Hope TeleSummit

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Back Hope Telesummit

2 weeks of Back Hope

Discover all the many ways we can free ourself from chronic back pain.

Free Back Hope Telesummit.

Over 20+ experts will offer a number of alternatives to relieve and reduce back pain and discomforts.

For 10 consecutive days you can listen and learn about:

The Active Release Technique, the Alexander Technique, Bowen Therapy, CranioSacral Therapy, Emotional Freedom Technique, the Krane Training Method, Longevity, Nutrition, Osteopathy, Orthapedic Sports Medicine, Polarity, QiGong, the Satori Method, Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises, Transformational Energy Therapy Techniques, Theta Healing, Trigger Point Therapy, Yoga and more.

The list of doctors, therapists, authors, healers and experts can be found here.

You’ll be able to use their practical information right away as you listen in on up to 2 calls per day. Each of the calls will be available for a 24 hour period.

Back Hope Telesummit Starts Soon

The Back Hope Telesummit begins on Monday April 29th. See you there.

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    Somatics can free up those muscles unlike other approaches out there

    Somatics exericses are simple movement patterns where we use the brain’s cortex to reset our muscles back to comfort. Instead of hard work, we use our body with ease in a very intelligent manner. All you need is gravity and yourself.

    Check out our 3 New Training Videos

    We’re changing our former free mini-course and now have expanded it with 3 comprehensive somatics training videos where you’ll also get to download and keep several audio mp3 trainings so you can:

    • Regain Mobility
    • Restore Natural Flexibility
    • and Recover Quickly From Injury

    Simply by using 3 Steps.

    What you’ll learn in our new training videos

    How you can get out of back spasms by yourself…

    The key somatics exercise which is a bridge to the entire system of somatics…

    How to end stiffness.

    How to conquer tension.

    How to take on stress and beat it.

    How to remain comfortable for life and more…

    New free somatics video trainings available now.

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      The Cat Stretch is what Thomas Hanna called the daily maintenance somatics exercise program in his book, Somatics.

      The cat stretch is a misnomer even though we often see our furry felines appearing to stretch.

      Cat Stretch is not Stretching

      Cat Stretch - a part of the daily somatics exercisesThe result of a cat stretch could make one more restful.

      When a cat stretches, it is actually tightening or contracting a series of muscles. We’ve come to find out this is called a pandiculation. When we do this entire act, our muscles lengthen and become more relaxed.

      Our clever cat uses its brain’s motor cortex to initiate a movement, which at first glance looks like a stretch. You’ve seen a cat round its back. It’s not stretching the back, it’s pulling the belly in and using the abdominal muscles to pull back.

      Then… it’ll release itself. The abs are reset and ready to be used. Healthy vertebrate animals naturally reset their muscles and movement system periodically throughout the day. No wonder they rest so well. If only we could do the same.

      Cat Stretch – 7 Simple Movements

      Fortunately, some 300 years after we learned about pandiculations. This very act brings muscles to rest. The system of somatics exercises teaches us how to go cortical and re-establish length and comfort in our movement system. Watch the fast version of the cat stretch below.

      Here is what the 7 simple movements of the cat stretch address.

      1. The first movement wakes up the brain, spine and hips.

      2. The second movement helps to release tightness in our front side, such as the abdomen. This will allow the back to further lengthen.

      3. This movement relaxes the muscles of the back, from the neck all the way down to the foot.

      4. The fourth move releases held tension levels in the hips and chest. If we’re locked-in from too much sitting or hard work, this is a go to release.

      5. Most everyone’s favorite movement, this delicious move lengthens the spine, frees up the hips and shoulders… and is enough to purr along.

      6. A 3 part lower body sequence to free up the feet and ankles and connect up to the hips, back and head. This helps to straighten out the legs for better walking and balance in running.

      7. The final movement of the cat stretch addresses the neck, back rotation and hip mobility in a delightful seated manner. You may not need the car mirrors anymore after this.

      Cat Stretch Audio Recording

      Healthy animals do a number of morning resets. We can simply follow along with a morning routine of the cat stretch somatics exercises designed for the human animal. Once you learn the routine, it only takes minutes to remind the muscles of their natural length, while at the same improving the mobility we need for the day.

      Just like a good cat stretch at night, we can drift off and sleep more easily too.

      The Cat Stretch daily maintenance somatics exercises program is now available to download and enjoy in the comfort of your home – meow.

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        Oct
        29

        Twist and Shout

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        Twist and ShoutBeing able to twist the spine around is enough to make some of us shout – some in the agony of pain and the rest of us with joy.

        Certainly there are yoga poses where you turn the spine and pull back counter to the twist.

        As one contemplates our breath and associated feelings, some people attempt to achieve greater length by trying to get more.

        Twist and Shout Another Way and Lose the SMA

        In Hanna Somatic Education, we use somatics exercises to engage the brain in order to affect a change of information the muscles receive.

        Somatics exercises are unlike most approaches since we go at things from a brain based perspective where we use mindful movement rather than any static holding positions.

        The brain, the one big muscle, can effectively reset the resting tension levels using a more delicate approach. Much like untying a knot, gently moving our tissues unlocks held tension and stiffness.

        When we push a contracted area, the targeted muscles become shorter. They pull back to the known set levels. They have lost their way to neutral or rest with high tension levels. The term we use is sensory-motor amnesia (sma).

        SMA, muscular stiffness, stress and high tension patterns are temporary yet ongoing phenomenons until we change things with a simple movement update using the brain’s cortex.

        You are a self adjusting living organism and you can adjust the feel and sensitivity levels of your muscles so they remember their way back to neutral when you twist yourself about.

        Birthright to Move Well – Twist and Shout

        When I lived in the near 2 decades of chronic pain, I knew there was a way out. What I didn’t know was how to simply update the body’s movement software.

        Using the brain and adjusting with what appears to be deceptively simple movement, I could live a comfortable life and take out any kinks, stiffness, stress, tension and recover from injury quickly.

        Our birthright is to move well. When we get off track, we can use that space between our ears to get things back online, running smoothly once again. We can twist and shout for joy as often as we want.

        Twist and Shout Class

        The ability to twist our self in one direction and then another can be enhanced through conscious movement rather than arduous exercise or holding our self in position for any length of time.

        If we find ourself sitting too much in a day, we can grow our spine to greater length by doing a few simple easy movements which may seem initially challenging until our brain remembers to inform the muscles to let go.

        Surely they will… and you can twist and shout about it.

        This week, I’ll be offering an online somatics exercise class where all you have to do is listen and follow along. You can join me live or get the replay.

        You’ll learn one amazing somatics exercise pattern to counter what our back keeps encountering… its gradual decline and shortening.

        In a few minutes, you can:

        • feel taller, straighter and longer
        • feel the back relaxing
        • and have greater mobility so movement itself is freer

        C’mon and twist and shout with us.

        Sep
        08

        Back Whisperer

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        Are you a back whisperer? Can you take yourself or someone you know out of a back spasm fairly quickly?

        Need a back whispererToday some 10% of us live in chronic back pain. Ouch! It’s probably not news that the number 2 reason we see a doctor is – for back pain.

        Unless of course you’re a back whisperer.

        While most adults have experienced back pain, some 14% of us will live with it for several days. 26% of us live with back pain for the entire day. That’s just wrong or so I say having had to endure back pains in my 20’s & 30’s.

        The Back Whisperer and Back Spasms

        Recently a client explained how he had helped a boy recover within 10 minutes from some back spasms.

        “I was just at leadership camp and a kid went down with severe spinal spasms. I took a nod from you and moved him from completely rigid and incapacitated to walking around normally in under 10 minutes. Very cool.”

        The kids who witnessed this now call him the back whisperer.

        That is pretty cool since 39% of us live with back pain for a few hours. Are these people their own back whisperer or what is it that most of us do to overcome back pain?

        Half, that’s 50% of the people pop pills. A good 1/4 use over the counter measures while 1/5 use prescriptions.

        For the rest of us that are trying to do something about it, 34% do stretches some other type of exercises. Men outnumber women in terms of the percentages who are doing something.

        Back Whisperer – Men or More Women

        Does this mean women already do something right? Do they have less back pain? Do they know the way of the back whisperer?

        In any case, the back whisperer secret is free for all of us to try. You can join our free mini-course and learn how to do the very maneuvers the back whisperer used on his young charge.

        Hanna Somatic Educators know how fast back spams can resolve by carefully moving in simple, easy movement patterns when coupled with our awareness. By being aware of our movements, we resolve many holding tension patters and as a result, your body may say thank you.

        Be Your Own Back Whisperer

        No need for pain meds, no special equipment, and no arduous exercise involved. The secret of the back whisperer is awareness.

        Instead of being yet another statistic, why not find out for yourself if you can be a back whisperer too.

        Categories : Back Care, Muscle Spasms
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        Jul
        08

        Kids Stuff For Adults

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        Healthy adults can do kids stuff to remind our muscles how comfortable they can feel once again and again.

        Pandiculation is kids stuff

        Kids StuffMost of us began to pandiculate in the 7th week of our life. If we’re a healthy adult, we continue this very natural act to reset our muscles and movement system. This gives us comfortable movement.

        If not, we can remind our nervous system of its former ability and bring it back to consciousness. This ability reminds us of our feelings of well-being.

        The kids stuff we used to do fortunately has been systematized as somatics exercises which are gentle, easy reminders to self-adjust our muscles back to the comfort zone.

        Kids stuff reboots our movement software

        The systematic somatics exercises allows us to explore our internal terrain in novel ways which fosters the development of our brain’s motor cortex as well as re-eliciting our capacity in our sensory cortex to sense ourself at finer levels.

        For instance, the simple act of breathing can be opened up merely by pandiculating ourself to improved health.

        This type of kids stuff is relevant at all ages… and this type of kids stuff reboots our movement software towards better breathing and more comfort in our movement system.

        Stiffness or stiff movements are learned over a lifetime and are replicated as a habit. Can we dissolve what seems like chronic or acute stiffness… you betcha we can. Remind ourself of the former kids stuff we used to do and we can feel the stiffness let go in our back, shoulders, and neck for example.

        A healthy vertebrate animal moves with ease, grace, suppleness and in harmony since its movement system is coordinated and not bound up, down, sideways or held twisted.

        Can we free ourself back to more harmonious states? Could some simple easy kids stuff be the ticket?

        Paying attention to our internal state while we are moving allows us to recalibrate. Our body knows the way back to reset ourself to comfortable states. It’s simply a matter of kids stuff when you get right down to it.

        In our earlier kids stuff moments we were highly engaged in a learning matter. Now, we can rekindle this relationship of movement, let go of it artfully, then we remember how we re-navigate our internal terrain towards ease in moving around.

        Sometimes we can experience a flash from the past, we can bump into past difficulties and yet smooth things out. In any case, we are re-establishing a finer way to move and self-adjust our entire movement system.

        The quality of a movement rather than the strength or force of a movement is what sets us free. The precision in which we can be aware of our internal arrangements is a path to greater ease and freeing up our muscles to regain mobility while restoring natural flexibility.

        When we reacquaint ourself with the method or process of natural reorganization, we might keep doing this kids stuff for the rest of our comfortable life.

        Kids Stuff Class for Adults

        When we’re injured it might feel as if we’re beginning from scratch to move around. All the bracing, holding on and tensing may seem normal yet when we let go of our holding patterns more quickly, we reboot as we did as children.

        You can join me for an online kids stuff somatics exercise class. All you have to do is listen and follow along to remind yourself of how easy, simple movements can unlock tight, stiff, holding patterns. The brain will take care of it in seconds.

        You’ll get to free up the back, shoulders, neck and hips in our one hour+ kids stuff class where you can join us live or get the replay.

        May
        20

        Simple Differentiation

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        When our back is a little out of whack, one of the keys to restoring comfortable movement lies in the simple differentiation of a very simple movement pattern.

        Listen and follow along to this simple movement.

        Somatics exercises are generally done in such a lazy, easy manner and surprisingly the rewards are better mobility, a return to natural flexibility and we feel renewed and more comfortable.

        Simple differentiation to wake up both the brain and body

        An easy movement such as the one in the audio recording is enough of a simple differentiation to wake-up the brain’s cerebrospinal fluid as we arise in the morning.

        Healthy vertebrate animals wake-up their body and brain with simple movements which serves as their warm-up. Before we begin to exercise, we can do an easy simple differentiation or number of them varying the same theme, then we’re good to go like Fido.

        If you’re in the unfortunate position of having to sit all day long for instance in the car, working and then sitting down to eat (unless of course you dare to stand up and eat for a change). No matter if you exercise, that may not be enough to change the known ill counter effects of sitting for too long.

        Standing up is a simple differentiation which can help

        You may have to plan on standing up every 20 minutes or so. You see, when you sit for too long, those muscles below the belt go to sleep and begin to be trained to be useless. No wonder we don’t walk as well or as much as we need since we’re basically training ourself to have muscles which no longer respond in a healthy manner.

        Good news… just get up and stand, stand on one leg or walk around for a minute or so. Then you can sit back down. Even as I type a blog post such as this, I too am mindful of how sitting undermines us. This is why I often stand or kneel or sit in a different position, then change it and vary it afterwards.

        If you’re gonna keep sitting, then at least fidget around or be mindful of how you can shift your spine around. All that tension we keep taking on, can be remedied with simple mindful movements to disperse, renew and refresh us.

        By refreshing the spine, we can continually renew our muscles throughout the day, especially when they get amped up with too much tension. At the same time, we improve the function of the brain by taking a mind-body break or giving ourself a full-brainer of movement done with awareness.

        A class on simple differentiation

        After all life is movement and movement becomes easier when we can do a simple differentiation with the central part of ourself, our spine.

        Renewing a simple way to move our spine, refreshes our movement system from the inside out. Practicing this periodically throughout the course of the day will let us rest easier at night so we can get a good night’s sleep and not wake up stiff or aching.

        Please join me this week for a simple differentiation class which can make all the difference to having a comfortable spine for life. Refresh that spine so it can be renewed and you’ll feel regenerated. All it takes is a simple differentiation.

        Jun
        25

        Exercise and pain part 4

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        Why exercise and pain don’t have to go together?

        We often activate muscles and rarely think about de-activating them unless we think or are told to stretch. Stretching, as we know it is bad for us.

        The other side of exercise and pain. Animal know-how.

        Instead, the de-activation of muscles is the other side of the coin and is what can allow us to free a painful back spasm for instance.

        Healthy vertebrate animals have this know-how to move well. Below is a video on a human animal, who at the age of 79, learned about the system of de-activation to control a back problem which plagued him since age 42.

        A woman was scheduled for back surgery. She was curious as exercise and pain was going hand in hand in her life. During the course of one afternoon, she learned how how to de-activate muscles as animals do.

        She went to Alaska on vacation and merely did 5 of these unique de-activating exercises and she traveled pain free in the car and plane for the next two weeks.

        When she came back home, she cancelled the back surgery merely from learning how a unique form exercise and pain don’t have to go together.

        Naturally, she saved herself and the healthcare system $39,000.

        It’s amazing how life can change when we get back on track so we can do what we want again.

        Exercise and pain don’t have to go hand in hand.

        As a former member of what I call the pain club… I lived with a chronic pain condition known as fibromyalgia. This affects some 5+ million Americans. The minority of the 10% who live in this painful state are men.

        Despite all our efforts, if we continue with both exercise and pain, then it ain’t working and there’s no need to push through it anymore.

        If you want to be done with exercise and pain then learn to move like an animal again. You can even try it for free. Try the other side of the coin and learn how to deactivate painful, aching, tight muscles the way nature intended.

        Get past exercise and pain.

        Animals have the know how. We’ve merely lost the fine sense of moving well like the animals we truly are. You know, the nice ones who won’t bite you… though some of them bark awfully loudly, especially if you live in pain without a resolution.

        Download some free animal moves so you can experience how exercise and pain will no longer be in the same equation.


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        Exercise for back painExercise for back pain is a natural way to help what ails our backs.

        Somatics exercise is an exercise approach where you learn how to release tight, stiff, sore muscles which may have taken us off track.

        Jonathan Hunt who played soccer professionally in England is a bud of mine. He left football, that’s soccer to us…


        on account of back pain and eventually found his way to Somatics which helped him get out of his back pain where many other approaches failed him.

        Get this, he actually discovered it moments before he was leaving from vacation. He was visiting Thailand for some r & r… He knew the plane ride would be a killer on his back.

        How many people hurt just sitting in car or being on a plane?

        He eventually became a fellow Hanna Somatic Educator himself and now can enjoy the games of his youth as he continues to play today.

        If you’re in London, you can always check him out for a hands-on session. You’ll be in good hands.

        Mail Online in the UK just posted an article in their health notes sections on Jonathan. See getting your back on track.

        The very exercise for back pain which is described in the article is one in which many somatics educators teach people to have a healthy, flexible spine.

        If you’d like an audio version, you can listen to several exercises for back pain and find out for yourself what somatics is all about.


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        Categories : Back Care, Exercise
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