What is Clinical Somatic Therapy and what conditions can it help?
Clinical Somatic Therapy is a hands-on neuromuscular therapy. It retrains both the muscular and nervous systems to change learned faulty muscle patterns that have led to distortions. In so doing it can bring relief from chronic pain of the back and neck, hips, knees and feet, headaches/migraines, scoliosis, sciatica, frozen shoulder, tendonitis, carpal tunnel, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome and more.
Increasing motor control and sensation improves physical function and mobility and is especially useful in treating chronic conditions, such as those incurred from trauma, stress and repetitive movements.
When no trauma is involved, then most often, the pain, tension, stiffness and structural damage are a result of the way we habitually learned to use our bodies, how we stand and move every day.
These habits have built the muscle patterns that we have learned throughout our life and have become entirely subconscious behaviours and actions. Though bodywork, strengthening and stretching, such as massage and chiropractic can help, they will not fundamentally change these ingrained patterns.
How does Clinical Somatic Therapy work?
Clinic Somatic Therapy relies on providing sensory feedback to the brain, as well as to muscles and nerves. This requires active participation, as only you are connected directly to your own brain.
Slow, gentle, intentional movements release chronically tight, unconsciously held muscle tensions. These movements are the essence of a modality called pandiculation, which causes biofeedback about the level of contraction in our muscles. When the nervous system receives this biofeedback and processes it correctly, it prevents the buildup of chronic muscular tension, which in turn improves both posture and movement, alleviating pain and preventing further damage to the body.
With our guidance, you will learn a self-care movement regimen which you can use at home, empowering you to look after your own health. Applying this regimen on a daily basis reinforces the changes learned during treatment, and by eliminating old patterns and replacing them with new “good” patterns it removes your dependence on medication for pain management and other treatments.
How many sessions are required?
Clinical Somatic Therapy is a re-patterning process, and as such, it requires repetition to re-build patterns. To retain your brain and maximise the benefits, it is important to come for a short series of 60-minute sessions.
These sessions re-pattern your muscles over a period, so the brain learns how to relax properly and reset overly tight muscles. You will also be taught the exercises to continue at home. The goal is to provide you with the necessary tools to improve your posture, movement and function on your own, so you can return to a state of personal comfort.
Training and Certification
For those interested in learning more and potentially becoming a practitioner, formal training in anatomy, physiology, kinesiology, neurophysiology, diagnostic and clinical techniques specific to Somatics, takes three years. Practical application of the skills learned, professional and personal study are incorporated.
The first three modules study postural disorders of the spinal-pelvic centre (trunk), the neuromuscular imbalance known as sensory-motor amnesia, and stresses that affects the spinal-pelvic centre. It involves study of the neuromuscular and postural changes that result from the following reflexes:
Landau - when the body Arches
Trauma - when the body Tilts
Startle - when the body Stoops
The techniques learned are effective in eliminating chronic pain of the back and neck, headaches/migraines, scoliosis, sciatica, etc.
The fourth module studies how the spinal-pelvic centre affects the extremities and how the extremities change the spinal-pelvic centre. The techniques learned address disorders of the extremities, such as frozen shoulder, tendonitis, carpal tunnel, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome, as well as pain and functional issues involving the hips, knees and feet.
The fifth and final model is an overview and integration of the previous somatic techniques, with further studies of gait and physical education to improve mobility, balance and reduce pain.
To achieve certification, students complete an exam (70% pass rate) and write two papers giving best-and worst-case studies. Students then prepare the final paper on the somatic and peripheral nervous systems and how these relate to professional practice. Once certified, ongoing education is still necessary to gain new knowledge and maintain professional standards.