Somatics exercises are easy, gentle focused movements done with a certain level of awareness where you are targeting the brain’s motor cortex to restore comfort.
This part of the brain can reduce tension and help us feel more relaxed.
When neuro-muscular tension levels are reduced, greater range of motion naturally happens so natural flexibility is restored while pain & guarding goes away.
3 for 1 with Somatics Exercises
1. Since the target is the brain’s motor cortex, somatics exercises fall under the category of motor control exercises which are now proven by the ACP (American College of Physician) to “relieve pain”.
Unlike regular exercise, the focus is more on what you can easily do (or imagine) with light, easy, conscious movement patterns rather than exerting yourself with regular exercise or trying to go for range of motion.
2. Somatics exercises also fall under the category of (MBSR) mindful-based stress reduction which the ACP has also given the green light to relieve pain.
Be being more mindful about how we move, we gain insight into how we are connected and how the brain wonderfully reduces stress in the tissues.
3. Getting to a relaxed state with exercise might surprise you. Normally, we rev our muscles up to become stronger or we try to stretch our muscles to gain length or go for range of motion.
When we target the brain in a specific manner, the brain can open the gate to chemicals of relaxation so when you do a series of targeted movements, you become more progressively relaxed.
Thus, somatics exercises fall under the third category of progressive relaxation to relieve pain.
You’ll probably agree that when you feel more relaxed, life is easier.
The Reverse to Most Approaches: Un-Exercise
This un-exercise approach wakes up the muscles to reclaim the necessary neuromuscular function.
The connection between brain, nervous system, muscles and movement connections gets clarified and improved.
Rather than focusing on strengthening or stretching, somatics exercises help to…
- undo muscular stiffness
- undo muscular tension
- undo pain
So you can move more freely.
Somatics exercise fills in the gap.
Mindful movement rather than exercise is the bridge to regular exercise, recovery and restoration.
Joints need to be mobile, the muscles flexible and the movement system coordinated
Before we move or exercise, our muscles need to be ready to handle the action.
You can easily remind the muscles of their necessary function in order to move, sit, stand and walk comfortably throughout the day.
After a cat nap or a night's rest, our muscles shorten and can feel tighter.
If we’ve been sedentary for a period of time, such as sitting in front of the computer, then tension can ratchet up its hold.
How healthy vertebrate animals do it
All healthy vertebrate animals prepare themselves for movement first thing in the morning and periodically throughout the day.
The process of what animals with a spine do is called a pandiculation .
This process was identified by Thomas Hanna as the pandicular response and is at the heart of somatics exercises.
Somatics exercises are primarily designed to mimic the pandicular act in order to immediately:
- decrease any stiffness,
- improve flexibility naturally
- and speed healing.
As a result, people learn how to get out of tension and pain using the brain rather than brawn.
Somatics exercises fosters natural movement rather than isolated movement patterns.