Somatic bodywork focuses on your inner perceptions and experiences to help you grow and heal.
Soma means body. So, somatic literally means “of the body.” But when we’re talking about bodywork, these two terms have come to mean much more.
Soma refers to your own felt-sense of yourself. It’s your experience of your body as sensed from the inside, rather than the “idea” of a body as viewed from the outside.
Somatic bodywork, then, focuses on your inner perceptions and experience. These can include physical sensations, emotions, and thoughts, as well as your awareness of your body in space and any “null zones,” areas where you lack sensation or awareness.
When we pay attention, without judgment, to all of your inner perceptions in the moment, the body can tell the full story of an injury, pain, or problem. Often, this story has some surprising roots. And by acknowledging them, much deeper healing or transformation becomes possible.
Somatic Bodywork Works With:
- Trapped emotions: Suppressed emotions get stored in our tissues where they can cause physical problems. For instance, the tissue damage caused by arthritis sometimes has trapped emotion at its core.
- Core beliefs: If you have a deeply held belief, say that you have to struggle for everything in life, it can literally shape your body. In this case, the muscles may tense up and take on a fighting stance, always ready to defend against the world.
- Guarding: Many people are muscle-guarded. No matter how physical bodywork they receive, their muscles stay tense. Why? Sometimes the tension is helping the client avoid feeling. Emotions aren’t just in our head. They are felt through the whole body. And muscle tension is a powerful way to suppress painful emotions.
- Loss of body awareness: When asked to focus on a body part—like the pelvis—some people will not be able to feel it from the inside unless it’s hurting. They’ve removed their awareness. The result is a disconnection—from themselves, the ground, or their own sense of power and purpose.
- Trauma: Like emotions, trauma is not just in the head. It’s held in the whole body and especially in the central nervous system. Trauma can cause chronic stress and anxiety, hypervigilance, muscle tension and a host of other bodily symptoms.