The word “somatic” comes from the Greek word, sōma which means “the body.” The field of somatics is composed of all of the practices that help you connect back to your body and the sensations inside of your body.

Within the realm of somatics are two distinct pathways, clinical and psychological. The first one, clinical somatics, explores practices that are often used for pain management. These practices have more focus on movement and are connected to the somatic nervous system, which is another word for the sensory motor nervous system – the part of your nervous system that knows how to sense with vision, hearing, smell, taste and touch.

It is also responsible for interoception, sensing feelings inside of your body and proprioception, feeling where your body is in time and space. Proprioception is what allows you to notice where your left big toe is without needing to look for it. It’s the quality of being able to feel where different areas of your body are intuitively and internally. 

Old emotional energy, stress, and trauma gets stuck quite physically in the tissues of the body. Clinical somatics attempts to resolve these holding patterns within the body through movement. Often slow micro-movements and pendiculation are tools incorporated to clinical somatic practices. Pendiculation is a way of contracting and releasing different muscle groups in order to help the sensory motor nervous system reset and rewire a specific holding pattern. 

The second pathway within somatics is the psychological pathway which involves connecting with emotions, thoughts, and psychological belief systems internally. It explores how these all relate to different feeling states and sensations inside of the body. For example, noticing when you’re feeling stressed and how you experience different levels of stress in your body. Does it show up as tightness, as heat, as cold energy, or heaviness? Psychological somatics incorporates tracking the sensations that you feel inside of your body in connection with different psycho-emotional states. 

Overall, this is a new way of thinking about psychotherapy or emotional and mental healing that is not based on talking about things or figuring things out from a mental, cognitive space. It’s about feeling our way through and learning how to move the emotional energy of our experiences.


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