Dear Terra, I’ve had pain in my body for as long as I can remember with joint pain and scoliosis that made it hard for me to go a day without pain medicine, that is until my healing session with you. The combination of what you did was incredible. The deep listening, breath-work, gentle touch, assisted yoga, props and pillows to help my body relax, and the powerful imagery all worked like magic for me. Today I can breathe so deeply and my body feels more flexible than I ever remember. I slept well for the first time in ages. I look forward to our next session. Thank you, Sue
Soma is defined medically as the body of an organism. Somatic refers to, or of relating to, or affecting the body. Psyche, from Greek psyche (soul) is thought of as breath, spirit, soul, the mind, or the personality.
The medicinal power of physical touch has been known to people from cultures across the planet since the beginning of recorded history allowed us to learn of it. When focused touch is combined with deep listening, mindful dialogue, and breath-work it can lead to insight and healing possibilities.
The Power of Touch
Soothing, calming, nurturing
Eases experiences of fear and shock
Creates physical warmth
Increases blood circulation
Energize muscles and boost energy
Can lull a baby (or adult) to sleep
Can express love and emotional warmth
Can work as a form of transformative therapy
At one time Western medicine believed there was no connection between the body and mind (psyche). In recent decades medical research and reports from doctors and patients have demonstrated an interrelationship between the physical body, emotions and mind. This connection is ancient knowledge to many traditions such as meditation, yoga, martial arts, acupuncture, and Ayurvedic medicine.
Brain imagining scans reveal that a focused mind increases wellness. The cardiologists, fertility specialists, surgeons, pain specialist, and psychiatrists who study health of the body, brain, and emotional health have found compelling evidence supporting holistic connections between the body-mind and healing.
Olympic coaches and athletes also know of the importance of a focused mind to help improve fitness goals and health. Mind training helps athletes with performance, confidence, and to accomplish goals.
Somatic therapy unites the fragmented parts into healthy wholeness. Massage, assisted yoga, focused dialogue, breath-work, meditation, relaxation techniques and use of sound are some of the methods used.
Some people describe memories surfacing or receiving insight about physical and emotional pain, plus creativity and vitality are enhanced. Relief from chronic pain, improvements in strength, flexibility, and lowering of stress levels result as well.
The results of this work are unique for each person, though most everyone will experience deeper more fluid breath, an easing of constriction in the body, greater flexibility, and psycho-spiritual insight. Understanding of the personal beliefs that originally shaped the condition are almost always better understood. Somatic therapy is understood to mean more than the body as it refers to integrated health and wellness.
Therapist and client work from a foundation of heart-to-heart respectful communication. Though most often done in person on a mat or massage table, it is possible to experience results working with focused attention, breath, and dialogue via phone or skype.
photos © 2011 Terra Wise