the Somatics blog

Exploring somatic health, how the brain controls posture and movement, why we experience
muscle and joint pain, and how we can live our lives to the fullest.

Somatics blog

Unlocking Your Body: Your Personal Process of Releasing Tension and Pain

As human beings, we each develop patterns of muscular tension that are completely unique; this is why the process of getting out of tension and pain is unpredictable. […]

When the Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection

Dr. Gabor Maté’s phenomenal book When the Body Says No explores psychoneuroimmunoendocrinology—the science of how our psyche, nervous system, immune system, and endocrine system interact and affect our health. […]

Somatics blog

What’s Causing Your Snapping Hip Syndrome?

Most cases of snapping hip syndrome are the result of chronically tight muscles: Tight muscles pull on tendons and connective tissue, creating the tension that results in snapping hip. […]

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How to Use Clinical Somatics Exercises to Heal Achilles Tendinitis

How to Use Clinical Somatics Exercises to Heal Achilles Tendinitis What is Achilles tendinitis? The Achilles (calcaneal) tendon is located at the back of the ankle, where it attaches the calf muscles to the heel bone. Overuse injuries to the Achilles tendon—whether they be inflammatory tendinitis or degenerative tendinosis—can be very painful and limit [...]

How To Retrain Your Brain’s Pain Processing System

How To Retrain Your Brain's Pain Processing System I recently read The Brain's Way of Healing by Dr. Norman Doidge and learned about a fascinating way to retrain how chronic pain is processed in the brain. The approach, developed by pain specialist Dr. Michael Moskowitz, is used with people who have been in pain [...]

The Essential Element Deficiency That Could Be Ruining Your Health

Medical Disclaimer: The information in this article is provided for general informational and educational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Readers should do their own research and consult with a healthcare professional before supplementing with iodine. Iodine as referred to in this article is the type of iodine found [...]

How Clinical Somatics Prevents Injuries and Enhances Training for Ballet Dancers

How Clinical Somatics Prevents Injuries and Enhances Training for Ballet Dancers Ballet dancers make their movements look effortless, but in reality, ballet is just as physically, mentally, and psychologically demanding as American football. It takes thousands of hours of rigorous training to develop the strength, stamina, finely-tuned muscular control and artistry necessary to perform ballet [...]

The Cause of Idiopathic Scoliosis: Involuntary Muscle Contraction

The Cause of Idiopathic Scoliosis: Involuntary Muscle Contraction Scoliosis is regarded as mysterious and incurable by many people in the medical community. While some scoliosis cases are caused by congenital structural abnormalities or neurological or muscular diseases, the vast majority—around 85%—are of unknown cause. The fact is, the bones in our body do not [...]

Understanding the Pelvic Floor Muscles and Pelvic Pain

Understanding the Pelvic Floor Muscles and Pelvic Pain What is the pelvic floor? The pelvic floor is a large sheet of skeletal muscle that forms the base of the abdomen. It is made up of the levator ani (subdivided into the puborectalis, pubococcygeus, and iliococcygeus muscles) and the coccygeus muscles, and associated connective tissue. [...]

Recovering From 19 Years of Chronic Pain by Chris Werts

Recovering From 19 Years of Chronic Pain by Chris Werts I’ve been an athlete all of my life, not at the elite level but perhaps some would say right below that. Growing up, very little emphasis was put on strengthening modalities, and all kids are invincible as you know. Baseball was my jam, but [...]

What Really Causes Muscle Cramps?

What really causes muscle cramps? Muscle cramps have long been attributed to electrolyte depletion and dehydration, especially when they occur in athletes. However, research does not support these theories, and instead points to altered neuromuscular control and muscle fatigue as the culprits. In this post, I'll summarize the research and explain why muscle cramps [...]

The Diverse Ways in Which SMC® CEI instructors Use Clinical Somatics to Help People

The Diverse Ways in Which SMC® CEI Instructors Use Clinical Somatics to Help People The Somatic Movement Center® Certified Exercise Instructor (SMC® CEI) program was born out of a desire to make Clinical Somatic Education accessible worldwide. With the three in-person training schools all located in the United States, bringing the training online has [...]

New Video: Why Stretching Doesn’t Work

In this video, I explain the two reasons why static stretching isn't effective for releasing muscle tension and relieving pain: Because static stretching activates your stretch reflex (myotatic reflex), and because it doesn't change the learned messages that your nervous system is sending to your muscles to stay tight. You can learn more in these [...]

Why You Can’t Release Your Tight Psoas Muscle With Stretching

Why You Can't Release Your Tight Psoas Muscle With Stretching Your physical therapist, chiropractor, or yoga teacher might have told you that you have a tight psoas muscle, and they may have taught you stretching exercises to release it. While they're probably right—having a tight psoas is a very common problem—static stretching has little to [...]

Guest spot on the Running Rogue podcast, hosted by Chris McClung

This week I got to be a guest on the Running Rogue podcast, hosted by competitive runner and coach Chris McClung. We chatted about how Chris healed an injury using Clinical Somatics exercises, how the exercises work, how athletes can benefit from them, and lots of other fun stuff. Thanks so much for having me [...]

The Role of Somatic Movement in Breast Cancer Recovery by Kelly Beach

The Role of Somatic Movement in Breast Cancer Recovery by Kelly Beach I really do not know how to talk about my breast cancer and rather post mucky recovery, except straightforward how it all occurred, and the HUGE role Somatic Movement had in managing and eliminating my symptoms, remaining hands down the most effective tool [...]

What is the Stretch Reflex (Myotatic Reflex)?

What is the stretch reflex (myotatic reflex)? From a young age, we’re taught that stretching is a necessary part of any workout routine. If we’re involved in sports or physical training, we stretch to warm up, cool down, and during breaks to help us stay loose. Unfortunately, stretching usually doesn’t accomplish much, mainly due to [...]

Meditation Series

Over the next few months I'll be offering a series of guided meditations for beginners on YouTube. Some of them are true somatic meditations—exploring breath sensations, internal bodily sensations, and noticing and releasing tension throughout the body. Others will explore ideas such as attention and awareness, energy, and love. Click the titles or the [...]

How Muscles Contract in Scoliosis C Curve

How Muscles Contract in Scoliosis C Curve Learn how chronic, involuntary muscle contraction pulls the spine into a C curve, and how muscles on the opposite side of the spine contract to stabilize posture.Click here to watch this video in Spanish.

How to Make Meditation Part of Your Daily Life

How to Make Meditation Part of Your Daily Life Meditation may seem like the latest trend, but it's been around for thousands of years. Wall art in the Indus Valley, dating from approximately 5,000 to 3,500 BCE, depicts people sitting with crossed legs, hands resting on their knees, and eyes narrowed. Meditation techniques are [...]

How Muscular Learning Leads to Pain and Degeneration

How Muscular Learning Leads to Pain and Degeneration Chronic pain is invisible, and can be all too easily ignored by people who haven’t experienced it. But if you suffer from chronic pain, you understand the stress, helplessness, depression, and fatigue that accompany it. You might deal with financial hardship as a result of missed [...]

12 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Meditation

12 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Meditation To say that it's been a stressful year would be an understatement. If you don't meditate, you may have considered starting as a way to calm your mind, stop worrying, and get better sleep. But starting a meditation practice can be daunting. How can you fit it into [...]

The Benefits of Exploring Micromovements

The Benefits of Exploring Micromovements If you practice Clinical Somatics exercises, you know how slow and gentle they are. But if you're in a lot of pain to start with, your nervous system is highly sensitized, or you're dealing with joint inflammation or a structural issue, even the slow, gentle exercises might exacerbate your pain. [...]

How to Allow Change to Happen Instead of Forcing It

How to Allow Change to Happen Instead of Forcing It Have you had the experience of trying really hard to make something happen, over and over, and it just won't happen? Then you finally stop trying to force it – and that's when it happens? People often use the example of romantic relationships: stop [...]

How to Prevent and Alleviate Spinal Degeneration

How to Prevent and Alleviate Spinal Degeneration Spinal degeneration refers to any breakdown or structural change in our spinal discs and vertebrae. The degeneration is virtually always the result of our chronic muscle tension, posture, and how we move and use our body on a regular basis. Spinal degeneration can occur at any age, [...]

Why Do We Sleep, and What Are the Dangers of Not Getting Enough?

Why Do We Sleep, and What Are the Dangers of Not Getting Enough? I just finished reading the New York Times bestseller Why We Sleep by neuroscientist Matthew Walker, and it was fantastic. Sleep is essential for all aspects of health—from maintaining immune system, cardiovascular, and reproductive function to improving memory and preventing cancer, [...]

Remembering the Secret Language of My Body by Lisa Anita Wegner

Remembering the Secret Language of My Bodyby Lisa Anita WegnerI am an artist and performer and I have been diligently working on myself for as long as I can remember. The changes I’ll be writing about follow on the heels of ten years of trauma therapy, soul searching, body work, meditation, physiotherapy, chiropractic, shiatsu and [...]

Karoshi: Is Working Long Hours Worth the Health Risks?

Karoshi: Is Working Long Hours Worth the Health Risks? In 1969, a 29-year-old man working in the shipping department of Japan's largest newspaper died suddenly of a stroke. While at first his case was called occupational sudden death, it was later determined that his stroke was caused by shift work and an increased workload. [...]

Let There Be Light! Making the Most of Your Serotonin and Melatonin

Let There Be Light! Making the Most of Your Serotonin and Melatonin Humans evolved living outdoors, exposed to bright natural light during the day and total darkness at night. The systems of our body rely on natural light to keep us healthy—our eyes and skin actually need to be exposed to daylight in order [...]

How to Get Your Inactive Muscles to Wake Up and Fire

How to Get Your Inactive Muscles to Wake Up and Fire People often ask me how to strengthen or “activate” weak or inactive muscles. Well, there's a difference between weak and inactive, and it's important to understand this difference. Do you feel like you can't get a certain muscle group to “fire” no matter [...]

Anaya’s Recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)

Anaya's Recovery from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome When I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) two and a half years ago, the doctor told me surely the most famous of all CFS one-liners: “95% of people do not recover, so don’t get your hopes up.” My response internally was “Fuck that!” and [...]

Forced Exercise and Stress Reduction Reverse Parkinson’s Symptoms

Forced Exercise and Stress Reduction Reverse Parkinson's Symptoms If you read last week's post Doctors Call for an End to the Parkinson's Pandemic, you learned that Parkinson's disease is most often the result of a complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors, which include exposure to neurotoxic chemicals, head trauma, lack of exercise, diet, [...]

Doctors Call for an End to the Parkinson’s Pandemic

Doctors Call for an End to the Parkinson's Pandemic Parkinson's disease is not new—descriptions of the condition can be found in ancient Chinese medical texts from 425 BC and Indian medical texts from 600 BC. There have been references to Parkinson's symptoms in documents from Greek, Roman, and other civilizations over the past two thousand [...]

The Amazing Possibilities of Neuroplasticity and Neurogenesis

The Amazing Possibilities of Neuroplasticity and NeurogenesisYou may have heard the phrase “neurons that fire together wire together.” This short phrase summarizes the synaptic plasticity theory of learning described by Canadian psychologist Donald Hebb in his 1949 book The Organization of Behavior.Hebb explained how the connections between neurons (brain cells) change as a result of [...]

The Medical Mystery of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)

The Medical Mystery of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Myalgic encephalomyelitis/Chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) has long been dismissed as being a psychological condition. Due to a lack of understanding in the medical community, in the past it has taken people years to get an official diagnosis, if they get a diagnosis at all. A 2015 report [...]

Chronic Tension in Facial Muscles Can Keep You Stuck in Stress and Emotions

Chronic Tension in Facial Muscles Can Keep You Stuck in Stress and EmotionsIf you've ever watched the TV show Lie To Me, you know that people automatically express their emotions through their facial expressions, whether they want to or not. Our nervous system is hardwired to contract our mimetic muscles (facial muscles) in certain patterns [...]

Dopamine: Why We Always Want What We Don’t Have

Dopamine: Why We Always Want What We Don't Have Dopamine is commonly thought of as the “pleasure” chemical in our brain, but the reality is that dopamine makes us want things—and often inhibits our ability to enjoy them. A fascinating new book by Daniel Lieberman and Michael Long called The Molecule of More describes [...]

If You Have Osteoarthritis, Here’s How to Give Your Cartilage the Best Chance to Heal

If You Have Osteoarthritis, Here's How to Give Your Cartilage the Best Chance to Heal Osteoarthritis is a painful, debilitating condition that affects millions of people around the world and puts a significant drain on our healthcare system. More than 32 million Americans live with osteoarthritis, and the condition affects approximately 9.6% of men [...]

The Latest Wonder Drug Is Free, and It’s All Around Us

The Latest Wonder Drug Is Free, and It's All Around Us Screens have taken over our lives, and we've reached a point in our existence where we need a doctor to tell us to get outside. A study done in the mid-1990s showed that we spend about 87% of our time in enclosed buildings, [...]

When the Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection

When the Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection “If you can't say no, your body will do it for you.” You may have experienced coming down with a cold after a period of high stress. You've worked long days, not slept enough, and put your needs last—and as a result, your immune system [...]

How Your Sleeping Position Affects Your Posture, Proprioception, and Pain

How Your Sleeping Position Affects Your Posture, Proprioception, and PainAside from where you work, the place where you probably spend the most time is your bed. If you suffer from any type of musculoskeletal pain or tension, especially in your neck, shoulders, back, or hips, you should consider how your sleeping position might be contributing [...]

Why Body-Centered Therapies Help Heal Post-Traumatic Stress

Why Body-Centered Therapies Help Heal Post-Traumatic Stress About one-half of adults in the U.S. experience at least one traumatic event during their lives. It might be a violent attack, accident, military combat, natural or human-caused disaster, or physical, verbal, or sexual abuse. People who have experienced trauma, whether or not they get diagnosed with post-traumatic [...]

How to Take Care of Your Knees for the Long Haul

How to Take Care of Your Knees for the Long Haul Knee pain is one of the most common types of chronic pain that people experience, and it's no wonder why—our knees support the weight of our body throughout our entire lives! And while the U.S. population is getting older and more overweight, rates [...]

Proteinaholic: How much protein do we need, and what are the best sources?

Proteinaholic: How much protein do we need, and what are the best sources? At age 35, Dr. Garth Davis looked and felt like an old man. He had dark circles under his eyes, was overweight, had high cholesterol, and felt exhausted and run-down. He also had irritable bowel syndrome, which caused him severe abdominal [...]

What causes Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), and how can you reduce or eliminate your symptoms?

What causes Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS), and how can you reduce or eliminate your symptoms? Restless legs syndrome (RLS; also called Willis-Ekbom Disease) is a condition that causes uncomfortable or unpleasant sensations in the legs, often described as creeping, crawling, itching, tingling, pulling, throbbing, or painful. People with RLS feel an irresistible urge to move [...]

Do you have joint hypermobility, and can Clinical Somatics help?

Do you have joint hypermobility, and can Clinical Somatics help? Generalized joint laxity (loose joints throughout the body) is fairly common, present in between 4% and 13% of the population. This hypermobility can occur in the absence of a systemic disease that affects connective tissues, like Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or Marfan syndrome. While joint hypermobility [...]

5 Incredible Stories of Self-healing and Transformation

5 Incredible Stories of Self-healing and Transformation We have an incredible ability to heal ourselves, beyond what science can currently explain. I am fascinated by stories of people who have found ways to cure themselves of incurable conditions. In this post I'll tell you about five of my favorite books on self-healing from aplastic [...]

The Telomere Effect: Taking Control of Your Cellular Aging

The Telomere Effect: Taking Control of Your Cellular Aging I just finished reading The Telomere Effect by Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn and Dr. Elissa Epel, and it was enlightening. The authors' discoveries about how telomeres (the endcaps on our chromosomes) affect cellular aging are a major advancement in our understanding of health and longevity. Blackburn and [...]

Figuring out the Cause of Your Chronic Neck Pain

Figuring out the Cause of Your Chronic Neck Pain Why is neck pain such a pain in the neck to get rid of? First, the muscles in your neck adapt to any postural imbalances you have in the core of your body. If your lumbar or thoracic spine is out of alignment in any [...]

Good vs. Bad Stress: The Critical Difference Between Challenge and Threat

Good vs. Bad Stress: The Critical Difference Between Challenge and Threat When we're faced with a potentially stressful situation, we automatically and subconsciously ask ourselves two questions: First: Could this situation cause me harm or loss, or is there potential benefit? Second: Am I capable of handling this situation? This is the transactional model [...]

New Research on How Stress Affects Inflammation, Neurodegeneration, the Gut Microbiome, Cancer Treatment, and Relationships

New Research on How Stress Affects Inflammation, Neurodegeneration, the Gut Microbiome, Cancer Treatment, and RelationshipsStress is a particular passion of mine—I love learning how to reduce negative stress, and I'm fascinated by the ways stress affects our health. This is the first in a series of posts I'll be writing about stress in the coming [...]

How to Even out the Imbalances in Your Body

How to Even out the Imbalances in Your Body I get questions every day from students wanting to know exactly which exercises to do and for how long in order to relieve their particular pain or postural issue. While I know we all love a prescription—myself included—because it gives us confidence that we're doing the [...]

Tendinitis vs. Tendinosis: What’s the Difference? And 8 Steps to Recovery

Tendinitis vs. Tendinosis: What's the Difference? And 8 Steps to Recovery Injuries to tendons are not only painful, but they can be very frustrating for two reasons. One, they are slow to heal and two, a change in behavior is often required in order to allow the healing process to take place. Many tendinopathies (which [...]

5 Ways Clinical Somatics Will Change the World

5 Ways Clinical Somatics Will Change the World If you've gotten out of pain with Clinical Somatics, you know how life-changing the exercises are. To not endure pain on a daily basis frees you from stress and suffering—like loss of sleep, mood disorders, and physical degeneration related to the pain. You can also be [...]

Adhesive Capsulitis: What Causes Frozen Shoulder, and the Most Effective Treatment

Adhesive Capsulitis: What Causes Frozen Shoulder, and the Most Effective Treatment Adhesive capsulitis is more commonly known as frozen shoulder because the condition involves a gradual “freezing” of the glenohumeral joint (shoulder joint). Over a period of weeks or months, the joint becomes painful and immobile. Initial onset to full recovery can take several [...]

The Game Changers: Why Top Athletes Are Making a Big Change

The Game Changers: Why Top Athletes Are Making a Big Change Produced by Arnold Schwarzenegger, James Cameron, and Jackie Chan, The Game Changers debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 2018. I was lucky to see the movie when it came to theaters nationwide for a special one-day event on September 16th, 2019. If [...]

Why Stretching Doesn’t Relieve Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Why Stretching Doesn't Relieve Iliotibial Band Syndrome Iliotibial band syndrome is a painful inflammatory condition of the knee joint that often plagues runners, hikers, and cyclists. Stretching is typically recommended to lengthen the iliotibial band and relieve the condition, but as you'll learn in this post, static stretching has little to no lasting effect [...]

12 Causes of Chronic Inflammation

12 Causes of Chronic Inflammation In my last two posts I've been talking about chronic inflammation. First I discussed how diet can cause inflammation and chronic pain, and then I discussed what chronic inflammation is and how it can cause many health conditions including cancer, atherosclerosis, and type 2 diabetes. This week, we'll learn [...]

What is Chronic Inflammation, and Why Is It Killing Us?

What is Chronic Inflammation, and Why Is It Killing Us? If it seems like you hear a lot about inflammation, you’re right. It’s become the latest buzzword in the health world due to research showing the link between inflammation and many chronic conditions including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and depression. Ever since these [...]

The Causes of SI Joint Pain and Dysfunction

The Causes of SI Joint Pain and Dysfunction The sacroiliac joints are at the true center of our skeleton, so they bear the brunt of any imbalance or sudden force that occurs in our body. In this post we'll discuss the most common causes of sacroiliac joint pain and dysfunction: imbalanced posture and movement, [...]

What’s Causing Your Snapping Hip Syndrome?

What's Causing Your Snapping Hip Syndrome? Up to 10% of us experience snapping hip syndrome at some point in our lives. The condition is most often caused by connective tissue snapping over bone as we flex and extend the hip joint. For some people, snapping hip is painless and simply annoying, but for others [...]

The Placebo Effect on Pain Perception and Healing

The Placebo Effect on Pain Perception and Healing The placebo effect is a general term that describes the physiological effects of believing that we're going to feel better or heal from a condition. The placebo effect has long been discounted in Western medicine—when placebos work, we're just imagining that we're getting better, we're not actually [...]

Breathing in Clinical Somatics exercises

Breathing in Clinical Somatics exercises Many students ask me how to breathe correctly when practicing Clinical Somatics exercises. Your breathing pattern is more important in some exercises than others, depending on whether or not the exercise includes extension or flexion of the spine. In this post I'll describe why diaphragmatic breathing is important, the [...]

Unlocking Your Body: Your Personal Process of Releasing Tension and Pain

Unlocking Your Body: Your Personal Process of Releasing Tension and Pain Many people ask me how long it will take them to release their chronic tightness or get out of pain. I wish I could answer this question, but the truth is that everyone's patterns of muscular tension and pain are so unique that [...]

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome: Anatomy, Causes, and Treatment with Clinical Somatics

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome: Anatomy, Causes, and Treatment with Clinical Somatics Thoracic outlet syndrome might sound a little scary, but most cases are functional—meaning they can be prevented and often eliminated completely. When tight muscles or poor posture compress the thoracic outlet, you may experience symptoms such as pain and numbness in your shoulder, arm, [...]

The Functional Cause of Sciatica

The Functional Cause of Sciatica Sciatica often occurs along with back pain, which 80% of Americans will experience at some point in their lives. By the time your doctor diagnoses you with sciatica, the cause may appear to be structural—most commonly, a herniated disc pressing on the root of the sciatic nerve. However, as [...]

Fix Forward Head Posture with Pandiculation

Fix Forward Head Posture with Pandiculation Forward head posture is becoming an epidemic due to constant use of smartphones and computers. When we look downward over and over, the muscles in the front of our neck, our chest, and our abdomen become chronically contracted—and they keep us stuck in forward head posture all the [...]

What is Pandiculation?

What is pandiculation? Pandiculation is generally defined as the act of stretching oneself and yawning, especially upon waking. However, our automatic pandicular response has far more significance than simply prompting us to stretch and yawn. As you'll learn in this post, pandiculation is a fundamental part of our neuromuscular functioning. In fact, when it comes [...]

The Anatomy of Your Tension Headache

The Anatomy of Your Tension Headache If you're reading this post, you may be one of the 45 million Americans who suffer from chronic headaches. Headaches are one of the most frustrating pain conditions because the causes are so varied and can seem completely mysterious. In fact, over 150 different types of headache have [...]

The Life-Changing Link Between Anxiety and Muscle Tension

The Life-Changing Link Between Anxiety and Muscle TensionAnxiety is thought of as a psychological disorder, but it actually involves many systems of the body. Anxiety is a true “somatic” condition: It is typically brought on and made worse not by any external source like a virus, but by our internal psychological and physiological functioning.For many [...]

Did you know that Plantar Fasciitis starts in your lower back?

Did you know that Plantar Fasciitis starts in your lower back? Plantar fasciitis is a very painful condition—I've had it, and it's awful. It's considered to be a disorder of the connective tissue that supports the arch of the foot. However, the pain and inflammation that occurs in the plantar fascia is just a symptom [...]

10 Shocking Ways That Your Posture Affects Your Health

10 Shocking Ways That Your Posture Affects Your Health Our posture—the way we sit and stand—is rarely genetic or out of our control. It's simply the result of chronic muscle tension pulling our skeleton out of alignment. This muscle tension builds up over time as a result of our daily movement habits and our [...]

7 Reasons Why Every Athlete Should Do Clinical Somatics

7 Reasons Why Every Athlete Should Do Clinical Somatics If you haven't heard of Clinical Somatics before, you've been missing out. These incredibly effective exercises retrain deeply learned, automatic muscular patterns and undo years of chronic muscle tightness and pain. The benefits of the exercises are so life-changing that every athlete needs to be [...]

Combining Your Clinical Somatics and Yoga Practices

Combining Your Clinical Somatics and Yoga Practices One of the questions that students ask me most often is whether or not they should continue their yoga practice while doing Clinical Somatics exercises, and if so, how to go about combining the two practices. I love yoga, and I practice it regularly. Everything I've learned and [...]

Core Strength: How to get optimal strength, stability and flexibility in your core

How to get optimal strength, stability, and flexibility in your coreWhat does core strength really mean, and why is it so important?The most common misconception about core strength is that it means simply having strong abdominals—like the enviable washboard stomach achieved by developing your rectus abdominis muscle.In truth, optimal core strength means having balanced flexibility, [...]

Somatic Relaxation Exercises

In this short Somatics class, you'll learn gentle movements that release chronic muscular tension in the lower back, abdomen, shoulders, chest, face and jaw. Did you know that chronic muscular tension is directly linked to psychological stress? Human beings are naturally well equipped to recover from short-term, life-threatening stress. Unfortunately, long-term, psychological stress stays with [...]

Chronic Muscle Soreness: The Cause and Cure

Chronic Muscle Soreness: The Cause and Cure Chronic muscle soreness is, quite literally, a pain to live with. Often, no amount of stretching, massage, heat, ice, or ibuprofen can provide much lasting relief. To understand the cause of chronic muscle soreness, we need to start by examining what's happening inside our muscles when they're actively [...]

Relieve Your TMJ Pain with Clinical Somatics

Relieve Your TMJ Pain with Clinical Somatics What is TMJ pain? The temporomandibular joints connect the jawbone to the skull, and they are two of the most complicated joints in the human body. They can open and close the jaw like a hinge, and allow the jaw to slide from side to side and forward [...]

How the Withdrawal Response Leads to Rounded Posture

How the Withdrawal Response Leads to Rounded Posture What is the Withdrawal Response? You're walking down the street and hear gunshots behind you. Within just fourteen milliseconds, your jaw muscles begin to contract. At twenty-five milliseconds, your upper trapezius muscles contract, raising your shoulders and bringing your head forward. At thirty-four milliseconds, the muscles of [...]

Thomas Hanna Quote: The human body is not an instrument…

"The human body is not an instrument to be used, but a realm of one's being to be experienced, explored, enriched and, thereby, educated." -Thomas Hanna, founder of Clinical Somatic Education

Video: What is Somatics?

  Click here to start at the beginning and learn the basics of Clinical Somatic Education. To better understand how Somatics is different from other methods of movement and pain relief, click here.

Sensory Motor Amnesia and Muscle Memory

Sensory Motor Amnesia and Muscle Memory Most people are familiar with the concept of muscle memory. When we repeat a movement like swinging a golf club over and over, the neurons involved in controlling that movement develop increasingly stronger connections. Existing synapses begin to fire more efficiently, and new synapses are formed as well. As [...]

Somatics Infographic: What Conditions Can Somatics Help?

This Somatics infographic shows the common musculoskeletal conditions that can be prevented, alleviated and eliminated with Clinical Somatic Education. To start at the beginning and learn the basics of Clinical Somatic Education, click here. Click here to learn how you can get the most out of practicing Somatic Exercises. Ready to download classes and start [...]

What is Clinical Somatic Education?

What is Somatics? Part One: What is Clinical Somatic Education? When people ask me what Clinical Somatic Education is, I usually say something like this: "Clinical Somatics retrains the nervous system to release involuntary muscle tension and relieve pain by retraining damaging posture and movement patterns.” That's a mouthful. And while it's an accurate [...]

How to get the most out of Clinical Somatics exercises

How to Get the Most out of Clinical Somatics Exercises What are Clinical Somatics exercises? Clinical Somatics exercises work directly with the nervous system to release chronic muscular tension, relieve chronic pain, and improve posture and movement. The exercises are extremely slow and gentle, and are appropriate for all ages and fitness levels. The exercises [...]

Video: Learn the Most Effective Somatics Exercise for Back Pain

Learn the Most Effective Somatics Exercise for Back Pain Most back pain is caused by chronically tight muscles. As we age and build up learned muscular patterns, our back muscles get increasingly tight. Most of this muscular contraction is involuntary, so we can't easily release it. Chronically tight back muscles are sore [...]

How Clinical Somatic Education was developed

What is Somatics? Part Two: How Clinical Somatic Education Was Developed F.M. Alexander Somatic education, as it came to be known, began with the work of Frederick Matthias Alexander at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century. Alexander was an actor and reciter who struggled with vocal problems during performances. [...]

How is Clinical Somatic Education different from other methods?

What is Somatics? Part Three: How is Clinical Somatic Education different from other methods? Clinical Somatic Education (CSE) uses both hands-on and self-care movement techniques to teach the nervous system how to release chronic muscular contraction and relearn natural, efficient posture and movement patterns. The movements are extremely slow and gentle, and are suitable for [...]

Is Clinical Somatic Education right for me?

What is Somatics? Part Four: Is Clinical Somatic Education right for me? Clinical Somatic Education (CSE) is a highly effective chronic pain treatment for people whose pain is being caused by their habitual muscular patterns. CSE also has enormous benefits for athletes, people who experience stress, and anyone who wants to improve their posture and [...]

What to expect in Clinical Somatic Education lessons and classes

What is Somatics? Part Five: What to expect in Clinical Somatic Education lessons and classes You can learn Clinical Somatic Education (CSE) exercises in several different ways. You'll get the most personal attention and in-depth understanding of the exercises if you are able to have private lessons with a certified educator. A less expensive option [...]

The Clinical Somatic Education learning process

What is Somatics? Part Six: The Clinical Somatic Education learning process Please note: You may enjoy reading the updated, expanded version of this post: Unlocking Your Body: Your Personal Process of Releasing Tension and Pain. A series of Clinical Somatic Education (CSE) lessons or classes is a learning process, and that process is different for [...]

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