HANNA SOMATIC EDUCATION
Developed by Thomas Hanna, author of Somatics: Reawakening the Mind's Control of Movement, Flexibility & Health, Hanna Somatic Education is an innovative form of brain/muscle therapy that addresses the root cause of most muscular pain. A powerful physical therapy in its own right, Hanna Somatics also improves the body’s ability to hold chiropractic adjustments and enhances the effects of orthopedic therapy and rehabilitation.
“If I could, I would put Somatics in the hands of every neurologist, internist, nurse, psychophysiologic therapist and clinical psychologist in the country.”
Elmer E. Green, The Menninger Clinic
The most common pain conditions are caused by a breakdown in the way the brain is communicating with the muscles, which keeps muscles tight and constricted. Chronically tense muscles compress joints, press on nerves and pull the body out of alignment, creating pain. Because chronic muscle tension and chronic pain are generated in the brain, Hanna Somatics is designed to increase brain-muscle coordination and facilitate the natural unwinding of even the most long-standing tension and pain. Based on brain-muscle physiology and principles of biofeedback, Hanna Somatics neuromuscular re-education is a form of gentle movement therapy that uses interactive bodywork, a sensory movement practice, and sensory awareness training to trigger the brain and central nervous system to recalibrate and release chronically tight muscles.
Understanding Your Body
Tight Muscles & Chronic Pain
Muscles are designed to contract and release in response to signals from the brain and spinal cord. Muscles become chronically tight as a result of physical and emotional stress or trauma, bracing after an injury or surgery, or from holding certain postures (ex: computer work, playing musical instruments, etc) for extended periods. When muscles are chronically tense, the muscle fibers become shortened
Because chronically tight muscles lose some of their function, the body compensates by recruiting other muscles to step in and help. So our muscles start to overwork in two ways: chronically tight muscles do not fully lengthen and relax, and helping muscles are doing double duty - their own job plus a job they are not designed for. As a result, the body is working both harder and less efficiently than it should, causing pain.
Sensory-Motor Amnesia (SMA): A Common Cause of Chronic Pain
When muscles become chronically tight, the brain loses the ability to pick up their sensory signals. This prevents the brain from directing the muscles to relax, keeping them firing (or tensing) on their own without your conscious control. This condition is known as Sensory-Motor Amnesia (SMA). It means the dialogue between your brain and muscles has broken down and become confused. SMA is not a permanent condition. Regardless of how long you have had pain or limited mobility, it is never too late to change the way your brain is communicating with your muscles. SMA is corrected through the Hanna Somatics sensory-awareness movement process, which improves the brain-muscle communication system and helps chronically tight muscles remember how to release on their own.
What to Expect in a Hanna Somatics Session:
Hanna Somatic Education sessions are tailored to the unique needs of your body. We start by examining your tension patterns while you are standing, walking and lying down. Then we use Hanna Somatics movement sequences that are designed to recalibrate and release unconscious bracing patterns in your body.
Hanna Somatics Hands-On Work: Lying on a table in loose comfortable clothing, I will teach you gentle movements that help your brain pick up the sensory signals in your muscles. As you gently move your body I will guide and partner with you, sometimes taking over the job of your tight muscles with my hands, and other times adding a tiny bit of resistance as you move so you can feel your muscles gently contracting and releasing. This unique form of sensory-motor education reawakens your brain's ability to lengthen and relax tight muscles. Sessions will help you learn to recognize what it feels like when you find an area of muscle confusion (SMA), and how to use Hanna Somatics movements to recalibrate the tension level in your muscles so they can return to healthy, homeostatic balance.
Hanna Somatics Home Program: In order to sustain the improvement that occurs during sessions, your brain needs fresh sensory feedback on a regular basis. Hanna Somatics home movements take very little time and help ensure that the work done in sessions will have a more lasting effect.
“Hanna Somatics offers a scientifically sound method for the diagnosis and treatment of a whole range of complaints that frequently present as medical problems, such as fibromyalgia, pain syndromes and fatigue.”
William Hanson, MD
Professor of Critical Care
University of Pennsylvania Medical Center
Abby Rose, SEP, HSE
abby rose somatic therapy ~ oakland ca
somatic experiencing & hanna somatics for stress, trauma, ptsd & chronic pain