Most chronic pain, joint degeneration, and recurring injuries are caused by the way we use our bodies – the habitual way we sit, stand, and move throughout our lives. Our nervous system is responsible for telling us how to use our bodies, our nervous system tells us which muscles to contract, when to release them and how to hold our bodies when we’re just sitting or standing still.
As we grow up, our nervous system actually learns how to make us do these things. The more we repeat a certain posture or movement, the more deeply learned that muscular pattern becomes. After a while, our patterns become so deeply learned that we don’t even have to think about them - they become involuntary, they're stored in a different part of our brain. This is what we call muscle memory.
Muscle memory is a wonderful thing, because it allows us to get through our daily lives efficiently, saving energy to other processes - energy for conscious actions. But unfortunately, sometimes we learn patterns that damage our bodies – like sitting hunched over at a computer, these hunches start to become painful, then become habitual over time . The only way to change these deeply learned muscular patterns is to re-educate the nervous system.
And that is what Clinical Somatics does. It engages the nervous system in an active learning process that consists of very slow, focused, conscious movements. The movement techniques used in Clinical Somatics teach the nervous system how to release chronic muscle tension and stand and move in natural, efficient ways so that you aren’t putting yourself in pain or doing damage to your body.
Most therapies that address chronic pain, like massage and chiropractic, are passive. That means that you do not move while the therapy is being performed on you. While passive therapies are often very enjoyable, their results usually don’t last more than a few days simply because they haven’t created any lasting change in your nervous system.
You need to be actively moving in order to form new neural pathways and create lasting change in the functioning of your nervous system. This is very important to understand: You need to be actively, consciously moving in order for your nervous system to learn something new. Nothing that anyone does to you is going to create any lasting change.
Most pain treatments, whether they be medication or a form of bodywork, only address the symptoms of the problem. These treatments either focus on relieving the sensation of pain or use spot work, an approach which assumes that the problem is only occurring in the area of the body where the pain is being felt. For example, if you’re having pain in your elbow, these treatments will only address your elbow. For this reason, the results of most pain treatments typically don’t last.
Clinical Somatics addresses the underlying cause of pain by working with full-body patterns of posture and movement. No part of the human body moves independently. Every time you move, adjustments happen throughout your body to allow the movement to happen. So believe it or not, that pain in your elbow is most likely related to how you are using your entire body. In order for the problem to go away for good, the entire movement pattern must be addressed.
Many treatments and therapies for pain are based on some sort of dependence, whether it be that you have to return on a regular basis for sessions or must continue to take medication.
Clinical Somatics teaches you how to take care of yourself with slow, gentle exercises. Healing tools are placed in YOUR HANDS. In fact, Clinical Somatics is founded upon the belief that people have the ability to and should take care of themselves instead of relying on others to maintain their health.
We’ll discuss the information on the consultation form to ensure I fully understand the situation. Anything that is unclear about what can and what cannot be addressed by manual and movement therapy will be discussed.
A crucial part of the initial clinical somatic session is to get a better understanding of any postural patterns to determine the areas of muscle tightness to be addressed. The standing awareness practice is done to enable you to feel where in your body you feel imbalanced - from your perspective, whilst at the same time I'm observing imbalances from my perspective. Afterwards we will discuss each other’s observations.
With a better understanding of imbalances needed to be addressed we'll then go through your personalised clinical somatics exercises in detail.
“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.”