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What is Hanna Somatics?

Hanna Somatics is a rapidly effective form of neuromuscular (mind-body training) movement re-education that goes directly to the root cause of most chronic muscular pain: the brain and the way in which it senses and organizes the muscles and movement. By learning to regain both awareness, sensation, and motor control of muscles – an educational process that can only be achieved through movement – the brain can remember how to relax and move the muscles properly. This process of sensory motor training creates improved muscle function and enhanced sensory awareness.

Hanna Somatics is a safe, gentle and common sense approach to reverse chronic pain. It is the only method of pain relief and sensory motor training that targets the condition of SENSORY MOTOR AMNESIA (SMA).

Sensory Motor Amnesia is the condition of chronically-tight muscles that have learned to stay contracted due to repeated and reflexive response to stress such as accidents, injuries, surgeries, repetitive tasks, and on-going emotional stress. The resulting patterns of muscular contraction that develop result in such common conditions as chronic back pain, neck, shoulder and hip pain, limited mobility, joint pain, poor posture, shallow breathing, and uneven leg length.

Hanna Somatics particularly helps relieve pain and disability associated with common health complaints such as: headaches, stiff or painful joints and muscles, fatigue, poor posture, breathing problems, impaired movement, accident trauma and whiplash effects, back pain, repetitive use/stress injuries.

If you are interested in maximizing the benefits of your health dollar and in achieving rapid, long-lasting results, Hanna Somatics clinical sessions and/or classes will teach you to reverse chronic muscle pain as you regain sensory awareness and voluntary control of your muscles and movement. Doing so can enable you to enjoy a rapid and significant improvement in physical comfort, quality of movement, posture and overall appearance.

Benefits of Somatic Education

  • Release and reverse neuromuscular pain (chronic and acute)

  • Improve mobility, strength and coordination

  • Improve posture and appearance

  • Eliminate the need for guarding to protect injured areas

  • Improve physical fitness

  • Create a new freedom of movement

  • Ease breathing

  • Improve athletic skills

  • Long term pain relief from a host of common conditions

  • Life long skills that teach you how to regain voluntary control of habitually tight muscles

  • Greater physical independence and mastery of your movement

  • Increased flexibility, coordination, stress relief, balance and proprioception

  • A safe, easy and common sense alternative to drugs, and surgery

Somatics Exercise is effective at relieving the chronic aches and disabilities associated with:

  • Headaches

  • Painful joints and muscles

  • Neck, shoulder and back pain

  • Sciatica

  • Hip, knee and foot pain

  • Repetitive use injuries

  • Poor posture

  • Accident traumas and whiplash

  • Breathing problems

  • Frozen shoulder syndrome

  • Is Hanna Somatics painful?
    We always aim for you to be in as much comfort as possible. Since this is brain-education work, the more gently you do your Hanna Somatics movements, the more effective will be. If you are experiencing pain during a session, just let your practitioner know and he/she can modify the way you are working to increase your comfort and ease. ​
  • What can I expect in a Somatics session?
    Sessions are tailored to the unique needs of your body. We start by examining at how your brain is organizing your muscles while you are standing, walking and lying down. Lying on a table in loose clothing, you will be guided through a series of simple, interactive movements designed to help your brain pick up the sensory signals in your muscles. As you move your body, your practitioner will partner with you adding a gentle hands-on process called assisted pandiculation. This unique form of sensory-motor education reawakens your brain’s ability to lengthen and relax your tense muscles.
  • Can I do Somatic work in conjunction with other forms of therapeutic work or medical treatment?
    Absolutely. A powerful modality in its own right, Somatic exercises also enhances the effectiveness of other forms of bodywork, including improving the body’s ability to hold chiropractic adjustments.
  • Are individual Somatics sessions really enough to make a difference?
    Yes and no. In your individual sessions, your practitioner will be continually evaluating your progress. Your individual session work will give your body the new sensory feedback it needs to break out of chronic muscles tension patterns. However, your body needs this fresh sensory feedback on a daily basis for your Somatics work to have a lasting effect. Your practitioner sends you home with movements to help you carry on the Hanna Somatics process between sessions. These are movements that you will be able to use for the rest of your life to help your body relax and your muscles to soften and lengthen.
  • Can Somatics help me even if I’ve been in pain for many, many years?
    If your chronic pain is being caused by unconscious bracing or a habit of tensing from stress, it is never too late. Even if you have experienced pain or limited mobility for decades, sensory-motor amnesia is not a permanent condition. Most forms of therapeutic work rely on a practitioner manipulating your joints or tissues while you are passive. With Somatics, you are actively and consciously engaging in the process of re-awakening your brain’s ability to relax your muscles. Given the right conditions, it is never too late to re-program the way your brain is communicating with your muscles!
  • How does muscle tension become chronic?
    Muscles can become chronically tight from physical and emotional stress, bracing after injury, surgery or trauma, or from holding certain postures (ex: computer work, playing musical instruments, etc) for extended periods. When our muscles remain tight, it means the sensory-motor cortex (the part of our brain that controls sensation and movement) has lost the ability to pick up sensory signals from our muscles. This prevents us from being able to voluntarily relax our muscles. Our muscle tension becomes reflexive – they keep firing (or tensing) on their own without our conscious awareness or ability to control them. This is known as Sensory-Motor Amnesia (SMA). It means the dialogue between your brain and muscles has become confused.
  • What is the relationship between chronic muscle tension and chronic pain?
    When your muscles remain tight, they compress your joints and nerves, and pull your body out of alignment. Chronically tight muscles do not function the way they’re supposed to. So your body compensates by recruiting other surrounding muscles to help out. Your body is then overworking in two ways: tight muscles overwork because they cannot relax; helping muscles are doing their own job plus a job they are not designed for. As a result, your body is working both harder and less efficiently than it should ~ causing pain.
  • What is Somatic Education?
    Somatics consists of gentle, interactive hands-on work, movement sequences and sensory awareness training that increases brain-muscle coordination and triggers tight muscles to relax. Somatics can help you eliminate or reduce habitual, muscle tension in your body, speed recovery from injuries and surgeries, and increase stability, flexibility and comfort in your body, especially as you age.
"If you can sense it, you can change it" ~ Thomas Hanna
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