Somatic Exercises Make Freedom of Movement Possible

Beach Balloons

Excellent blog from Martha Petersen on how to relieve back pain, sciatica and other functional body issues using these easy-to-follow videos of Somatic movements. Great for both complete beginner or avid practitioner:

Somatic Exercises Make Freedom of Movement Possible.

With Somatics pain-free movement IS possible. You CAN enjoy moving your body, have fun and feel free!

Happy moving 😉

Somatics Course

Somatic Exercise Coach Training, led by Tanya Fitzpatrick, October 2014



How Do You Reverse Hip Pain?

somaticsfeatured-770x403Why is releasing muscle the solution to healing hip, shoulder or pelvic girdle pain? Surely when you’re trying to keep yourself from falling over, or it all from falling out, it makes more sense to pull everything in, suck it up, rather than let it all hang out and go south?!

Here’s why. Lifting weights onto an already imbalanced frame, will only compound your pain. Running or walking on an imbalanced gait will only cause more pain to your misaligned posture. Before you book another exercise class, remember that it’s only once the muscle is fully relaxed and reset to it’s optimum length, can we then work to repair and build strength in the body.

Have a weak pelvic floor or chronic pelvic girdle pain? Stop doing Kegels and learn how to release your Pelvic Floor.

Chronic Hip pain? How tightly-held are all the muscles around your hip joint, in your waist, torso, and low back?

Somatics or surgery? Find out if the root cause of your pain is actually a functional issue, rather than a structural one, and give yourself the gift of a regular Somatics practice for at least 3 months before you decide.


All muscles have tone, or tonus. Tone is a natural ability to stretch and contract in response to stimuli. Muscles work to contract or shorten. When a muscle is at rest, it is relaxed, returned to it’s optimal length; it’s tone is zero. So, if we have complete control of a muscle, we can contract, and then completely relax it, achieving a muscle tonicity of zero.

Sensory Motor Amnesia, is loss of voluntary control of the muscle. The brain does not recognise, or  ‘see’ that the muscles are held in a prolonged contracted state. Chronic muscular tension can mean a resting muscle tone of 10, 20 or even 40 percent. (Remember, we want a resting muscle tone of zero!)

Muscles in this state of high tone, often feel weak because they cannot move freely to fulfil the function for which they are designed. Actually the muscle is quite strong, but is tired and overworked from contracting all the time. Muscles with high tone are aways sore and painful to touch.

The good news is that, if your body learned to hold your muscles in a prolonged contracted state, it can also learn to release them and allow them to return to their optimum length, back to a resting tone of zero. Muscular reactions to stress can be overcome. It is possible to enjoy muscular tone that is low in contraction and energy expenditure, and very high in comfort and control.

Essential Somatics

With carefully guided movement, Somatics teaches your brain how to recognise tightly-held muscle, and more importantly, how to release it. The movements are pain-free and always within your own range of comfort.

By consciously contracting into the tightly-held muscle, the brain’s voluntary ability to contract overrides the involuntarily held contraction, switching off this chronic response and giving you back control over your muscles.

This is why Somatics works.

For more info on how Somatics can reverse Hip Pain, read this article by Martha Peterson from Essential Somatics.

See a video ‘how to’ with Tanya Fitzpatrick from Align Somatics here.

If you have any questions or wish to attend a class, please send me an email:

Sources & Credits Thomas Hanna, ‘Somatics – Reawakening the mind’s control of Movement, Flexibility, and Health’ ISBN 0-7382-0957-0 ISBN-13 978-0-7382-0957-9.

Pain Relief Through Movement

Here is an old blog post, recycled and updated with free videos. It has stood the test of time.

Strengthening hip muscles doesn’t always relieve hip joint pain.

In this post about hip pain and labral tears I questioned the commonly held belief that strengthening the muscles of the hip will somehow relieve general hip joint pain when you’ve had an injury (like a labral tear).  Here’s a recap:

  1. Labral tears are generally the result of athletic injury or wear and tear over the years due to accidents. Labral tears cause instability in the hip.
  2. Instability in a joint causes muscles to contract to try and create stability.
  3. This kind of reflexive contraction to save yourself from further pain or injury or to compensate because because of an injury changes the way in which you would normally move.
  4. The muscles involved in this “Trauma Reflex” pattern must be…

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