Patients, Patience, and Impatience

Hello, again, Folks,

Today, I speak of a peculiar paradox of somatic education -- something expressed in a Tibetan saying I heard, recently:  "When things are urgent, go slower."

People in pain have a certain urgency.  No surprise.

In their urgency, they go for the "quick fix" -- the pain med, the quick adjustment, the quick stretch, the hour of bodywork.  These quick fixes rarely produce either a complete or a lasting result.

The reason:  they don't address the problem as it is, but only the surface appearance.

Somatic education is peculiar in this regard:  the processes we use during clinical sessions are mostly slow-motion action patterns -- we go slower -- but the changes that result come very quickly.

The reason:  the changes sought through somatic education (generally, pain relief) come by means of an internalized learning process that involves new physiological adaptation.  Adaptation and learning require, inevitably, at least two things:  attention and intention.

Attention and intention go together.  To exercise an intention, we must direct our attention to what we are doing.

The thing about attention is that it is not instantaneous; it fades in.  Test for yourself.  Look away from the screen toward anything and notice that it takes a good part of a second even to focus on it.  The same is true of music.  Turn on the radio into the middle of a piece of music and notice that it takes some seconds to recognize even one with which you are familiar.

When taking in new information, going slower helps you "catch" it and take it in.

Then, and only then, you can apply your intention to it.

Most forms of therapy require little or no attention on the part of a patient; result:  little or no exercise of intention and little or no lasting change!

So, as a somatic educator, I find that one of the most common bits of coaching I have to give with my clients (/patients, although I don't use the word) is to slow down.  Doing things too fast, too hard, and with too little attention ("mindfulness") is a common American fault (and a popular editing technique of advertising and the entertainment media which perpetuates and reinforces this fault-- sequences of "split-second video clips").  Too many people are "A-D-D" ! ! !  That makes them accident-prone (and generally, sloppy and error prone).  They must slow down -- not because it's easier (generally, it's not), not because they need a rest (which is generally true), but because they need to pay more attention and to exercise intention more carefully.  They need to work smarter, not harder.

If people don't slow down, they end up doing things the way they habitually do them and, by repetition, reinforcing the very thing they are wanting to get out of -- the movement patterns and functional habits that cause their pain.  They have to slow down enough to do the things they do in a new way.

When it comes to somatic exercises (a way people can relieve their own pain without direct coaching by a somatic educator), people must exercise patience.  In this case, the patience they must exercise is two-fold:  (1) they must slow down in what they're doing (somatic exercises) enough to feel clearly what they are doing and to do it in good form (not merely count repetitions) and (2) they must persist in a somatic exercise program long enough to obtain its designed-in effect (entailing, generally, some days or weeks of practice -- and some hours of experience).  The result:  substantial and durable improvement -- faster and more durable than by conventional therapeutic, "low-attention" methods.

If patients are impatient for relief, they must be patient so they can get it more quickly than has previously been possible.

Only once they have slowed down and made the necessary changes can they return to "the speed of life" and keep their new-found freedom and well-being -- or even go faster than before and still keep it together.

"A man of true means,
whatever the day's pace
keeps his wits about him
and however a fine offer be presented to him
keeps a level head.

What ruler of countless chariots
would make himself laughing stock,
fool of the realm,
with pace beyond rein,
speed beyond helm?"
-- Lao Tzu

An Entirely New Class of Therapeutic Exercises (article)
Software for Your Body (instructional programs)

Religious Faces of Superman

There exists an archetype in contemporary culture with which many generations present can identify. Every generation alive today knows Superman.

Superman who, having emerged from the midwestern farming tradition came to represent a person of virtue, of kindness and of strength, of benificent values, of positive intent -- and who hides a secret: his identity -- and a vulnerability that few others share.

Remembering that Superman was adopted by his midwestern farmer parents, his last name was not originally, "Kent" -- but Kantrowitz.  Superman (pronounced with "super" rhyming "soup-pear") was a nickname his Kryptonian parents bestowed upon him after a visit to Paris, one spring -- "little Soup-pear-man" -- because that was all he would eat.  It was on the note in the space capsule in which he arrived:  His name was Kal-El, but his nickname was Little Soup-pear-man. You can figure out the rest. And, of course, they Anglicized the name. As a boy, he was big for his age, but very nice, an intelligent boy.

Another clue: His original name-at-birth was Kal-El -- "El", in Hebrew, meaning "God". Taking a Kabbalistic approach, the Hebrew name, Kal-El, can be spelled in three consonants (four letters), read right to left, "K""L""e""L",  , the eleventh letter of the alphabet (English or Hebrew), K, the thirteenth letter (Hebrew) or the twelveth (12-English), L, and the nineteenth letter, a silent carrier for a vowel, "ayin", where in English, the nineteenth letter is, S -- "S", get it?  Coincidence?  I think not.  The symbolic meaning of the numerical equivalents of "K""L""e""L" =  "11""13""19""13" (or "11""12""19""12") is "Great Potentiality" and "Great Faith".

But what if Superman were Buddhist? What would he do differently? Since he strives to minimize harm to anyone and uses his powers beneficently, for the sake of all sentient beings, what would he do differently? Perform service even while in his dreams? What do you think he dreams about? Lois Lane? Lana Lang? Lex Luthor? Batman? -- feminine archetypes and masculine archetypes? Do you think he behaves differently in his dreams than he does in the waking state? Or do you think that, as he sleeps, he rests in the Source of Light and Life, the Silent Bliss-Being beyond the human mind and body? (the super-man state). Do you think that he rests in deep Silence (of which the Fortress of Solitude is a Metaphor), "silence" and "solitude" -- which also start with "S" -- the silent nineteenth Hebrew letter.

What if Superman was Hindu? Then what? What would he do differently? Well, for one thing, he probably wouldn't eat beef or wear cows-leather shoes. Those boots? They're patent leather. Other than that? Would he play the flute and seduce virgin cowgirls into a mass-"big one"? Would he transform his appearance to show the various powers and viewpoints and wonders of the Great Universe? And who knows what he does in the privacy of his own home with "company"? Would he declare, of himself, that "atman" (individual self-being) and "brahman" (silent, imageless, aware Groundless Ground of Being) are one? ("I and my Father are one"? -- again, getting a little ahead of ourselves).  Would he appear as Krishna -- the avatar God-embodiment (emanation) of Godhead? flying around saving people from demons?

What if Superman was Moslem? Would he pray five times a day, facing Mecca? abjure alcoholic beverages? Not eat pork? He would eat beef -- but those boots? Still patent leather. Imagine if he were a fantasy/religion-crazed Muslim extremist who was sent on a suicide mission, but suddenly realized that he couldn't blow himself up and that there would be no "72 virgins" for Superman, so he gave it up. Could Superman "do" 72 virgins simultaneously? Maybe he could. Probably he could. That would be like Krishna.

If Superman were Tibetan Buddhist, he would live consciously emanating from the Clear Light as his embodied existence, radiating the force of beneficence, fearlessly and peacefully present, attentive, intelligently responsive, compassionate, protective, empowering, and emanating silent wisdom and virtue not merely unto living beings, but into, as and through all, serving all sentient beings, communicating The Great Emancipation.

For him, kryptonite is the reminder of the mortal and transitory nature of things, even transitory even in his origins -- being sent into the unknown, "out there", and arriving at Earth -- ever-vulnerable -- even as he is eternally unchanging (primitively rendered in language as, "invulnerable") and super-regenerating -- and so, in that sense invulnerable to most hazards by virtue of his exquisite embodiment, in his transient body (Nirmanakaya), of the subtle self-organizing field of his subtle mind-body (Sambhogakaya); steadily intuiting our transcendental nature (Dharmakaya), the formless ground of being that persists even in the absence of activity or self-sense -- self-emergent, self-regenerating, self-equilibrizing with super-speed, i.e., invulnerable. Vulnerable and invulnerable. See? You didn't know that about Superman. Why would he talk about it?  What's he going to say to everyone?  "I'm vulnerable -- just as you are -- but I heal quickly"?  Would he go around saying that?  Why?  On the other hand, who knows what he says, at home -- and he is emotionally vulnerable, same as any man.

If Zen Buddhhist, same as Tibetan Buddhism, but without the kryptonite.

In this respect, he is very similar to another personage -- Harold Somaman.  Somaman is different from Superman, in that his special powers have manifested differently -- energy field transformations, sensitivity to probability pressure waves (leading to precognition and synchronicities), special ways of dealing with attention and intention. certain ways of biological self-regeneration and psychological transformation, occasions of remarkable telekinesis, things mysteriously disappearing from his life -- odd things like that.

If Superman were a Christian, would he address Jesus as "Father"? -- and how would that make Jor-El, his father, feel? But wait! What if Jor-El was a name for Jesus' father in Heaven? who sent his only-begotten son to save humankind?  Kabbalistically speaking, the names Jor-El and Joseph have significance. Alphanumerically, either of those names is impossible to analyze -- there's no "j" sound in Aramaic, so their names would have had to have been "Yosef" and "Yor-El". Then, Kabbalistically, that would get interesting.  Taking a Kabbalistic approach, again, "Yorel": YORL: four letters: "10" "6" "25" "13" (with a symbolic meaning of "Divine Conception"): and "Yosef": YOSF: four letters, "10" "6" "18" "20 (changeable with "P")" (symbolizing "the leap into newness, bringing memories of the past, along"). Confused? I am -- but back to Superman. With the benefit of time-travel, he would reach Earth when he was truly needed -- second time around.  He would still save people, but still not be able to be everywhere at once, except in spirit. I don't think he would raise the dead; I think that was just a demonstration to make a point. Other than that, how would his character change? Maybe he'd be more loving? But then, we don't know how he is, at home, and his benificient actions can certainly be seen as coming from a loving spirit -- wouldn't you say? But he wouldn't eat meat on Fridays, only fish. Or would he?

But remember -- his name is Superman -- pronounced 'aha-ward" (Howard) Superman ("soup-pear-man"), superhero and goodness-doer extraordinaire -- who loved his mother and who lived up to his father's dreams -- a real mensch.


For more on Harold Somaman, click here.
For more on Superman and other topics from The Other Side of the Looking Glass, click here.

Palpation -- One of a Somatic Educator's Essential Techniques

Thomas Hanna said that palpation -- gathering information by touch -- is a lost art among medical professionals, and that we, his students, would become masters of it.

In the process of Hanna somatic education, palpation isn't just done at the initial functional assessment of a client's condition, nor is it only an information-gathering action.  It's properly done at every stage of a clinical session of Hanna somatic education to evaluate the results of each pandiculation, and it provides information not only to the practitioner, but also to the client about his or her current condition.  How else are we to know whether we are finished with a region and its movements?

In a previous writing, "Precision Positioning for Miraculous Results", I speak of this last point in some detail.

For now, I want to communicate some things about the art of palpation, itself.

Now, before you go bounding off screaming, "another New Age twinko!!!", I want to clarify.  The fourth dimension, time, is not a Twilight Zone alternate reality or a mysterious abstraction (as implied by the term, "time-travel").  It's motion, itself, in the most ordinary sense.

We measure time by means of devices that move or display regular changes (watches and clocks) and we experience time the same way.  The term, "second", refers to the period of time between two heartbeats, the second heartbeat defining the end of a second.  It's an approximate term, the way the length of a foot is about one foot and the length of the first segment of the thumb is about one inch and one swallow is about once ounce.  Time is motion.

In palpation, many people touch surfaces with their fingertips and think they are palpating.  When such a technique provides little useful information, they abandon palpation as an investigatory act.  It's not a shortcoming of palpation; it's a shortcoming of their technique and their understanding.

To do a decent palpation that actually provides useful information, you've got to feel, not for a surface, but for a volume -- three (3) dimensions.  And you don't go rushing in, do a couple of quick presses, and move out.  What you do is soften your hands, reach in, and feel for the first resistance for reaching more deeply; you feel for where soft space becomes firm contact.  You go in slowly -- both out of respect for your client and for rich information.  Then, you wrap your hands around what you feel to discern its shape.  If you're squeamish, palpate in yourself until you learn the lay of the land and what it might feel like to your clients.

If you want to get more out of palpation, trace muscles from origin to insertion; that gives you something on which to anchor your attention and gives your client new sensory information that tells them in which direction, along what lines, to contract in pandiculation.

Once your client has done the pandiculation, or after you have done Kinetic Mirroring, you use palpation and movement to evaluate the completeness of the result.  If some sensory-motor amnesia -- and muscular contraction -- remains, you either repeat the process or have your client adjust positions to reach what's left.  Palpate -- Pandiculate -- Palpate.  Continue until the involuntary tendency to contract is gone or it ceases to decrease, then move on.

Understanding the Sacro-Iliac Joints, Stopping the Pain and Weird Symptoms

Sacro-iliac joint pain can be understood as a case of "broken pelvis" -- in which the "break" occurs at the three major joints of the pelvis:  one at the pubic bone (pubic symphysis) and the two at the sacro-iliac joints.  The "break" consists not of a fracture of bone, but as a break in the integrity of the pelvis -- displacement (misalignment) of the bones and strain at the joints.  Another term would be, "Pelvic Distress."

This entry explains the condition and provides access to a self-relief regimen (program), at the end.

Who is This Program For?

Causes of a Twisted Sacrum

This Mayo Clinic entry describes causes of a twisted sacrum.

Sacroiliitis — Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment of inflammation of the sacroiliac joints. 

ref: Overview - Sacroiliitis - Mayo Clinic

Causes for sacroiliac joint dysfunction include:

  • Traumatic injury. A sudden impact, such as a motor vehicle accident or a fall, can damage your sacroiliac joints.
  • Arthritis. Wear-and-tear arthritis (osteoarthritis) can occur in sacroiliac joints, as can ankylosing spondylitis — a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects the spine.
  • Pregnancy. The sacroiliac joints must loosen and stretch to accommodate childbirth. The added weight and altered gait during pregnancy can cause additional stress on these joints and can lead to abnormal wear.
  • Infection. In rare cases, the sacroiliac joint can become infected.
In my clients' experience, nearly all cases come from traumatic injury, with far fewer from pregnancy. Traumatic injury includes falls (bicycle, horse, rooftop, skating, ladder, etc.) and motor vehicle accidents.

How a Twisted Sacrum Causes Sacro-Iliac Joint Pain 

When a sacrum is twisted in its position in the pelvis, we call that, "displacement". It's out of place. With displacement comes distortion of pelvic shape, which puts strain on ligaments, soft tissue, and muscles in the pelvis,. The brain senses those strains and, in a protective response, triggers muscular spasms not just in the pelvis, but as far-away as the neck and jaws.

Non-spasm pain may radiate from the S-I joints into the pelvis, lower abdomen, groin, or sex organs -- or further.

Click on image above to see entire comment.

What it Takes to Correct S-I Joint Pain

The first step to correct S-I joint pain is to determine how the sacrum is displaced (misaligned). Two major possibilities are a twist and a shift of one side of the sacrum, downward; shift and twist generally occur together.  Along with that displacement comes a twist of pelvic position that makes twisting movements easier in one direction than in the other.

The two videos, below, provide instruction in self-appraisal, to determine the misalignment.  Follow the instructions.  It's a simple movement.

The value to you of what follows in this entry depends upon your having the misalignments people find, with those instructions. The reason: if your sacrum is misaligned, the regimen at the end can help; if not, then you need something else. Do the self assessment.



The movement is:
1. Legs together.
2. Squeeze.
3. Draw one side back.
4. Open legs.
6. Bring that side forward.
Repeat in reverse.

Sense which side is more difficult to bring the hip forward.  That's the jammed-forward side.  The video tutorials specify which side is your "working side".


In investigating sacro-iliac (henceforth, S-I) joint problems, I have arrived at findings that make sense of the condition and its causes and that point precisely to what we must do to relieve S-I joint pain.

In this entry, I explain S-I Joint Pain Syndrome in detail, give you an instructional video to get started with self-relief, and provide access to a complete regimen (list of steps) to give yourself lasting and durable relief.

Let's start with symptoms. Look for yours.

Click on image above to see entire comment.


  • pain across the low back (one or both sides)
  • a "deep pulling" sensation in the spine, like a taut wire
  • pain just below the waistline, in back (one side)
  • pain deep in buttock(s) that doesn't respond to direct treatment
  • deep pelvic/abdominal pain (ache, "lightning"-like pain), sometimes with nausea
  • numbness in front or side of thigh
  • pain at the top rim of the pelvis, at sides or back
  • pain deep in the hip joint
  • sciatica (if accompanied by other symptoms)
  • groin pain
  • testicular pain
  • bladder pain
  • "pulling" or "stretching" pain at the low back
  • pain along the spine
  • pains in the ribs
  • restricted breathing or the sense that the breathing diaphram is involved
  • neck or jaw pain (reflexive contractions)


In brief, S-I joint pain comes from excessive and unbalanced forces on the S-I joints that trigger painful muscular reactions and cause radiating pain from the S-I joint into the pelvis and places more distant from the S-I joints.

Those forces may have started with an accident, such as a fall that displaced the sacrum from its centralized position, but they are maintained by alterations of movement and muscular coordination, which alter the direction and shape of forces that meet at the pelvis. Those forces originate both from below (hips and legs) and from above (muscles of the trunk) -- and persist both during rest and during walking. They don't respond to stretching.

The strains in the pelvis get registered by the brain as an emergency situation. The brain causes contraction patterns, which (triggered automatically by the nervous system as an emergency response) reflexively stabilize the situation. They grip and hold everything in place. It's a kind of stabilization of the situation -- but it's stabilization in a condition of pain. These muscular contractions to stabilize the emergency situation of the pelvis are gripping patterns so strong that they cause pain and other symptoms, even at a distance from the S-I joints, such as in the ribs, legs, or neck.

Compression and twisting forces that converge at the S-I joints cause stress at the joint surfaces, strain the S-I ligaments, trigger reflexive muscular contractions throughout the trunk and legs that cause muscle and radiating nerve pain (that may be mistaken for spasm) -- and that never let up, day or night.

This complex collection of symptoms, we call, S-I Joint Pain Syndrome, a syndrome being a collection of symptoms.


The medical model, which uses drugs and surgery generally targets a specific symptom or location of pain, but does not, typically, deal with the changes of muscle/movement memory.

Standard manipulative therapies focus on the locations of pain but not on larger patterns of altered movement, the more central cause of the problem that keeps it in place, despite manipulation.

Unlike standard therapy, somatic education uses action (movement) patterns to engage and free -- and then re-pattern -- the muscular tension patterns that cause S-I joint dysfunction and pain to persist.

The key term, here, is, "patterns". Thomas Hanna, in his book, Somatics | ReAwakening the Mind's Control of Movement, Flexibility and Health (available at many public libraries and via, talks about how those tension patterns form and the process of ending them and their symptoms -- by an entirely new process -- without stretching, strengthening, or soft-tissue manipulation. Instead, it corrects muscle/movement memory.

Bones go where muscles and weight-bearing forces pull them, so by correcting muscle/movement memory, it normalizes movement and weight bearing forces and the sacrum progressively shifts to a healthier and healthier position.

Somatic education works effectively and causes no undesirable side-effects, other than occasional, short-term soreness.

To relieve S-I joint pain, we
  1. Unlock the Situation. We reduce the tension levels of the involved muscles, sufficiently to permit repatterning of musculo-skeletal actions/forces. 
  2. Reshape muscular tension and movement patterns through practice of movement patterns. Those movement patterns cultivate new muscle/movement memory consistent with healthy S-I joint function. 
  3. Reinforce healthy, free, balanced patterns of movement -- not by strengthening, but by practicing coordinated movements that reinforce new muscle/movement memory and movement integrity.
    You'll find free access to the relief regimen at the end of this entry.


    Bi-lateral (two-sided) S-I joint pain is simpler than one-sided SI joint pain. Bilateral S-I joint pain involves the compression at both S-I joints.

    One-sided S-I joint pain combines compression and twisting forces with asymmetrical (off-center) pelvic shape and muscular pulls (pelvic rotation with elevation with one hip).

    Asymmetrical (off-center) muscle pulls and posture place more stress on one S-I joint than the other.

    Symptoms commonly appear at different locations, side to side, and people commonly mistake the location of pain as the location of the S-I problem. They may also mistake groin pain as a sign of psoas muscle dysfunction, rather than as radiating pain originating at an S-I joint.

    Though one might be tempted to regard S-I joint pain as a ligamentous problem, it is that only secondarily; primarily, it is a neuromuscular problem resulting from soft-tissue strain within the pelvis, as described, earlier. I am emphatic about this point and will explain, shortly.


    The sacro-iliac joints exist at the waistline, in back, anywhere from two to three inches either side of the midline.

    By touching the region, you can feel ridges on both sides with your fingertips. These are not the S-I joints, but the edges of the neighboring hip bones. To the inside, you feel a depressed region. Where the depressed region meets the ridges, there you find the S-I joints.

    The sacrum is the meeting point of tensional and compressional forces meeting from above and below, as noted earlier. The shape of its joint surfaces is beveled to keep the sacrum from falling forward into the pelvis. When forced forward, it gets jammed between the neighboring hip bones (ilia).

    Compression forces at the S-I joints come from muscles of the trunk in contraction, primarily the paraspinal and psoas muscles, and the quadratus lumborum. Additional compression forces from the trunk come from the muscles of the abdominal wall (obliques, rectus abdominus), involved in the asymmetrical pulls of Trauma Reflex.

    Pulling forces at the S-I joints, themselves, come from muscles that span between the legs and the pelvis -- the psoas muscles, the hamstrings, buttocks, and front thigh muscles. These pulling forces combine in the movements of walking and the weight-forces of sitting to direct force into the S-I joints. In the healthy condition, those forces induce movements; in the unhealthy condition, they induce strain.

    Let's pause to re-set our way of looking at what I am describing.

    To this point, I have described the situation in anatomical terms -- but anatomical terms are inadequate to understand what is going on with S-I joints; functional terms are needed -- terms that describe sensations and movement: somatic responses.

    In the remainder of this piece, I will use both anatomical and somatic terms -- anatomical terms so you can visually imagine what I am describing (if you know anatomy) and somatic descriptions (descriptions of sensations and movement). You can imagine in yourself what that might feel like (assuming you have developed enough body-sense to do that).


    A number of life-conditions set the stage for S-I joint pain -- the most notable and common one being a hard fall (onto one side of the pelvis or the tailbone/sacrum) or blow to the pelvis. This cause of S-I joint pain commonly results in one-sided S-I pain.

    Another cause is sitting too long in a condition of high tension and stress, as in desk, phone or computer work. That pattern of tension involves the groin, front hip joint, and back muscles and jam both sides of the sacrum forward. This cause of S-I joint pain results in two-sided S-I pain. A fall onto the tailbone may also cause bi-lateral S-I joint pain.

    Now, how do these causes affect the S-I joints?

    As the legs move in opposite directions when walking, walking induces a moving twisting motion into the pelvis right at -- you guessed it -- the S-I joints. When the S-I joint on one side is jammed, walking movements make the non-jammed side move too much and strain ensues in the ligaments of the too-mobile joint. The strain and pain appear at the side opposite of the jammed S-I side.

    And what happens to tissue that is chronically under strain? It gets inflamed. Inflammation is nature's way of forcing fluids and nutrients into tissue that is strained (or injured) so it can heal.


    But wait! There's more!

    We just described the effect of "tension from below" (the legs). What about "tension from above" (the trunk)?

    When tight trunk muscles bind the sacrum more tightly to the lumbar spine, the ordinary, round pelvic movements of walking are no longer as free of the lumbar spine. The lumbo-sacral junction is "stiffer"; the round, "figure 8" pelvic movements of walking must be re-distributed: less at the lumbo-sacral junction (L5/S1) and more at the S-I joints.

    So, the S-I joints get strained by movements both from below and from above. They get it from both ends.

    How'd you like to be in the middle, mediating between two uptight parties intent upon taking action that affects YOU?? That's the situation of the S-I joints.

    So, with each step of walking, the S-I joints take the brunt of movement.

    How the Psoas Muscles are Affected: An Effect, Not the Cause

    Now, the psoas muscles have a special part to play, here. They cross the span between "below" and "above", connecting "below" with "above" (from the inner groin, through the abdominal cavity, to the spinal column as high as the top of the diaphragm). When the psoas muscles tight, they "seal the deal" -- jamming both what's below and what's above into the sacrum.

    Tight psoas muscles are often blamed for symptoms of S-I joint dysfunction, but are a secondary effect of twisted sacrum. Attempts to free tight psoas muscles without first straightening the sacrum may trigger rebound pain; when the sacrum straightens, as in the regimen given, below, psoas pain fades out.

    But wait!  There's still more!


    It's true that injuries usually occur to one side, rather than exactly from the back or exactly from the front, isn't it?

    What happens with any injury, is that Trauma Reflex (cringe response) gets triggered -- a tightening centered at the injured region and including all of the tensions involved in changing our movements to protect the injury.

    An injury to one side triggers one-sided tightening that commonly shows up as a side-tilt ("C-curve" scoliosis) and a rotation (postural twist) -- typically with one hip up and the same-side shoulder down and back. With the side tilt and twist, weight distribution goes off-center and the musculature must compensate (for balance -- the essential meaning of the term "compensations").

    In the trunk, the muscles above induce compression forces more into one S-I joint than the other. Below, the hip joint muscles contract differently, left-to-right, and in different ways on the two sides.  (In the healthy state, those muscles do not contract in a "unitary", all-or-nothing manner, but selectively, according to the position-in-movement of the legs. In the dysfunctional state, they stay contracted at all times in the pattern of injury-and-compensation, even in movement, and that contraction introduces drag, compression and strain into the situation.)

    And guess what that does to the sacrum.

    If you can't guess, I'll tell you: it maintains the twist -- rather forcefully and seemingly indefinitely.

    That twist may also come from a blow to the pelvis, as in a fall (bicycle, horse, cliff), an athletic injury, or a motor vehicle accident -- with the same ensuing muscular contraction patterns (Trauma Reflex).

    S-I joint strain, anyone?


    Now, I want to take a moment to address the term used to describe deviations of the sacrum from its healthy, centered equilibrium: "up-slip".

    There ain't no "slip" to the up-slip. The the S-I joints aren't slippery -- but their shape does allow for some movement, when walking. 

    When the sacrum gets twisted, it's moved into an unnatural position. It goes there because of forces sufficient to change its position, either suddenly (from a blow or from lifting something heavy in a twisted position), or over time (long-term, off-center postural changes).

    It doesn't “slip”; it is rather forcefully pulled, compressed and twisted. It is drawn and pushed, and "shifts” into an altered position in the midst of those tensional and compressional forces. It’s displaced -- partially dislocated. A one or two millimeter displacement is sufficient to produce major symptoms I have described: changes of movement and postural shape, mysterious muscular gripping far from the S-I joints, and radiating nerve pain through the pelvis and legs.  An "up-slip" feels like an "in-grip" at the waist or in the abdominal cavity -- just some perspective more true to people's experience of the condition than the word, "up-slip".

    OK. Now we have not only a compressed S-I joint (from above and below) but also a torqued/twisted sacrum felt as pain just below the waistline in back -- maybe on one side, maybe all the way across. Have you felt it, that way?

    So, what to do, now?


    Well, for one thing, we see that ongoing forces are inducing S-I joint strain and that those forces are maintained by muscle/movement memory -- habituated reflexes maintained in, coming from and governed by the nervous system. "Habituated" means, "learned" or "acquired".

    We also see that the strain on ligaments is not the fault of the ligaments, but of the nervous system and muscular actions shifting the position of the bones that the ligaments connect to each other.

    That means that we can't correct the problem in any lasting way by addressing the ligaments (and to stretch or loosen the ligaments may reduce their strain, but it also may lead to hypermobile S-I joints without correcting sacral position).

    It also means that we can't massage away the problem (have you noticed?).  It means that we have to free the person from the grip of habituated reflexes and establish free, balanced, and well-coordinated movement.

    This is not as complicated as it may sound. It involves learning patterned movements more in keeping with healthy S-I joint function.

    Strain comes off the sacrum, S-I joints, and low back. Healthy, centered equilibrium-in-movement -- and physical comfort -- returns.

    Have I said it?

    But here's the question:  how??


    There exists a neuromuscular response, an action pattern, ideally suited for retraining postural reflexes and movement -- the pandicular response.

    Everyone has experienced the pandicular response. It’s the “morning yawn and stretch” – and not the athletic stretch, by the way.

    Pandiculation is what cats, dogs, and every animal with a backbone does, upon arising from rest. People call it, "stretching", but it isn't stretching; it's contracting and then slowly relaxing and shaking.

    Pandiculation sends a cascade of sensory signals to the brain sufficient to refresh the body-sense. Muscular control improves -- muscles come free from contraction and become supple, so you move more freely. It's not a mental process; it's refreshing.

    The most familiar form of the pandicular response is yawning -- but the pandicular response takes more forms than just familiar yawning.

    The pandicular response, applied methodically through specific, controlled movement patterns, changes the muscle/movement memory of S-I joint pain, so that muscles coordinate differently; bones migrate to a new position and a healthier movement pattern. The S-I joints are relieved and symptoms fade out.

    This new, clinical use of the pandicular response frees muscles affected by injury from tension and pain and unlocks the S-I situation so we can make changes. Unlocking the situation is "Unit 1" of the regimen for S-I joint pain.

    Lasting changes occur rather quickly (obvious after two practice sessions), rather than slowly or not at all, as in stretching. Changes accumulate with practice. Symptoms of S-I joint dysfunction fade out as the sacrum centers.

    For S-I joint pain, we use a variety of movements that addresses all of the muscles and movements involved in S-I joint syndrome.

    Those movements instill healthy patterns of movement that cause the bones of the pelvis to reposition into a new, healthier location; repositioning reduces strain on ligaments and allow the S-I joint surfaces and ligaments to heal.

    Because of tissue changes and inflammation, soft-tissue healing from S-I joint pain may take weeks, once the neuromuscular changes have been made. However, certain symptoms abate quickly -- some even in a single practice session. Aided and supported by somatic education exercises, improvements occur in an ongoing progression.

    Because the movement patterns involved are so unusual, they're easier to teach in step-by-step instructions and to learn by doing, as taught in the video tutorials featured in the regimen, than to describe in a word-description, here.

    See the link in the section, below, to send for the regimen containing links to the YouTube tutorials.


    The regimen consists of a series of somatic education exercises done in a specific order. It's freely available. You can get started for free and most of the exercise tutorials are free.
    As in a cake recipe, no one ingredient constitutes the entire recipe, and there are steps of preparation; a somatic education exercise may be viewed as an ingredient and a regimen is a recipe. The "gentle back exercise" given first, in the regimen, is such an ingredient and a step of preparation and is not expected to relieve your symptoms by itself (although it works for simple back pain); it's necessary preparation that addresses an element of the pain pattern: back tension.


    To get the full regimen for self-relief (free), you may enter your email address to receive it, below.  

    A quick-response email message will come to your email address requesting permission to mail to you. Once you give permission, an email message will come to you, automatically, with the link to the regimen page

    You use links embedded in the regimen page either to display video tutorials or to get to the purchase page of the program that contains that exercise.

    Read the entire regimen through, once, without concern for remembering. Then, follow the video tutorials of the free exercises of Unit 1, to get started

    published with permission

    Coaching by Lawrence Gold

    copyright 2014 Lawrence Gold
    This writing may be reproduced only in its entirety and with accurate attribution of its authorship.

    The Somatic Codes

    There is a special meaning for that term -- The Somatic Codes.

    It's more akin to Morse Code than it is to the Codes of Hammurabi.  However there is virtue to it that would potentize the Codes of Hammurabi, if they were integrated together.

    The Somatic Codes are rhythmic numerical sequences that beat a resonance through oneself -- using specific movement elements to create specific rhythmic and timed sensations.

    This resonance of deliberately created self-sensations links or integrates memory, imagination, and sensation into an integrated, resonant, mobile faculty of intelligence.

    (And what would that do for your golf game -- or your video games.)

    I have detailed a portion of The Somatic Codes in my piece:  The Diamond Penetration Pandiculation Technique.

    These codes accelerate and deepen the effects of somatic exercises when incorporated with somatic exercises.  There will be video in the near future on YouTube showing how this is done.

    See many videos of pandicular maneuvers.  Here's the general channel of (some) of my videos.

    Hypothesis on Developing Obesity

    Just a summary entry:

    Anciently, during periods following famine (and also, at the harvest), there followed periods of feasting and celebration.  Understandable.

    What do people do, when feasting?  Overeat.  Consider Thanksgiving.

    Now, that's not the end of the story; it's where something new makes it interesting.

    What happens to the size of the stomach, when we overeat?  It enlarges.

    And what happens to the abdominal cavity, as the stomach enlarges?  It enlarges, to accommodate.

    And what happens when the abdominal cavity enlarges?  The muscles of the abdominal wall relax.

    And what happens when the muscles of the abdominal wall relax?  They make room not only for food, but for the additional blood circulation needed needed for the stomach to digest all that food (particularly, the proteins).

    Well and good.  Sounds healthy.

    However, what happens when a person habitually overeats?  The muscles of the abdominal wall come to stay habitually relaxed.

    And what's below (or just interior to) the abdominal wall?  It's called, "the greater omentum".  The greater omentum is a body of fat that drapes, like an apron (apropos) over the abdominal organs.

    And what do you think happens to all those nice, juicy nutrients from habitual overeating, with habitually relaxed abdominal wall muscles and all that increased blood circulation and with the greater omentum nearby, through which some of that circulation circulates?  By George!  That greater omentum, which has lots of nice space around it, is just waiting for all that nice excess nutrition to fatten it up. The body adapts to our way of life and changes shape accordingly; ask any fitness nut.  We become how we live.

    The fault doesn't lie with the greater omentum.
    The fault doesn't lie with the increased circulation.
    The fault doesn't lie with those relaxed abdominal muscles (that everybody wants to tighten).
    The fault doesn't lie even with all those nutrients.
    The fault lies with the fact that the person habitually eats too much at one sitting.

    If (s)he ate less, the stomach would not enlarge, so much, the abdominal wall would not distend as much, and there would be less room for the greater omentum, and less circulation.  And less belly fat gain.

    After times of famine, it's understandable that people might feast.  And it seems somehow "naturally sound" for people feasting after famine to get fatter -- as a way of "putting somthing away" in case of future famine -- a protective evolutionary development.

    And in fact, what has been observed is that people who starve themselves to lose weight end up gaining more weight, than before, after the starvation diet ends.  That's one reason why it's being said, "Diets don't work."  It's the evolutionary program for famine.

    Maybe I've just described more about how that works -- and why it's better to eat many small meals and snacks than it is to eat a few large meals -- as, in some people's case, one big meal each day.

    Now, it's also understandable why some people overeat. Famine is a "stressor".  And under stress, our belly wall does tighten ("Startle Reflex").  Feasting after fasting is a way of relieving that stress and also of forcing that tight belly wall to relax, simulating relief from stress.

    Does the nature of the stressor matter, when it comes to relieving stress?  Do we really differentiate one stressor from another at the feeling-level?  or do we just go for the all-purpose stress-reliever, the traditional one, the ancient one, that one that was appropriate after the stress of famine (or deprivation) -- food.

    Could it be, that is why people are seek to relieve stress by overeating?  Why we might eat when depressed?  or lonely?

    And what does it say about our times?

    Obesity is a symptom of a distressed society and of ignorance about stress and eating (including poor choices/quality of food/quantity).

    Just a hypothesis.

    "Never eat anything bigger than your head."
    ~~ R. Crumb

    a few resources:

    Calmly Energizing

    Somatic Breathing Training to Reduce Stress


    The Cat Stretch

    Somatic Exercises to Reduce Neuromuscular Stress

    free instructional somatic exercise video:
    to reduce Startle Reflex

    5 Movement Exercises to End
    TMJ Syndrome in about
    Two Weeks

    Hypermasculinity, Habituation, and the Apparent Spirit-Matter Split

    Habituation leads to pain through inadequacy of adaptation (dysfunctional behaviors), and this pain goads us to the Spirit-Matter Split, as dissociation ("I am not the body; I am pure subjectivity," -- the absurd Eastern error) and as materialism ("I am the body; I am objective, without personal biases," -- the pathetic Western error).  These are not mental ideals, but pervasive moods, our very underlying logic of life.

    One way disowns material existence and the body; the other disowns or is oblivious to subjectivity, or ones inner, personal life; one disowns the "outer", the other ignores or disowns or is oblivious to the "inner". 

    Interesting point:  when "outer" and "inner" perceptions (and identification with either) are differentiated (observed individually), equalized (made equally observable through practice), and integrated (observed simultaneously), formless Spirit appears as ones own nature.  (Jesus' saying, "If your 'eye' be single, your whole body will be full of light.").  But even habituation in that equalized state, as an effort, is impractical as a moment-to-moment life practice.

    Habituation shows up as being set in our ways, as resisting change, as persistent wounds, as persistent dysfunction, as fear, as force (forceful idealism or aggressive materialism), as bogged-down politics, as hypermasculine "spirituality" (celibacy, imposition of ideals upon oneself, striving to overcome self), as "final" knowledge, as the (presumed or apparently actual) inaccessibility of transcendental intuition, and at last as at first,
    as self-identification and our repressed and unconscious "shadow material" that goes with identification.  (We hide or resist aspects of ourselves, which become shadow material, entrenched, unconscious, as subconsciously controlled states of stress and compulsive behavior in-and-as our very bodily existence.  It does not hide in transcendental Spirit, but in our "immanent" selves).

    The problem is, habituation is the very vehicle of the transmission and survival of civilization from generation to generation (knowledge and tradition), and this present generation unwisely (and habitually) rejects habituation (via post-modern deconstructionism of knowledge and views) -- rather than recognizing habitual habituation as the problem and choosing habituations wisely!  (or we tend to think our habituations are wise and so reinforce them.)

    Thus, the global crisis of transformation and ("first tier") culture wars so often spoken of in integral circles come down to the drag of habituation upon necessary evolutionary transformation.

    Transcendental intuition makes transcendence of habituation possible (or easier), but transcendence without conscious embodiment (and people typically underestimate what that is), is dissociation, subject (vulnerable) to our own "shadow" influences -- the very Spirit-Matter Split.  And, of course, the work of conscious embodiment is limited without self-transcendence, which makes shadow material palatable enough (and witnessable enough) for differentiation and integration.

    The problem may be seen as incompetence in regulating habituation -- full spectrum.

    Getting to Sleep and Life's Big Squeeze

    This entry is about the 'why' of insomnia and 'how' of overcoming it and getting to sleep.  At the end, I offer an effective way to overcome your own insomnia.

    Two great polarities exist in every life:  activity and rest.

    In humans, because we live and move in an upright position (rather than on four feet), a particular postural reflex mediates or shifts us between those two great polarities.  It's called, "The Landau Reaction."

    The Landau Reaction

    This is the "get ready" reaction, coming to heightened alertness. Another term for Landau Reaction is "The Green Light Reflex" -- as in the green light of a traffic signal.

    The Landau Reaction comes into play whenever we move from rest to action, from unreadiness to readiness, and it quiets down whenever we move from activity back into rest.

    The Landau Reaction starts at about three months of age, when, as an infant, we first start creeping and crawling. It involves muscular actions as we arise from our back or belly into a sitting position, then to standing, then to walking and running.  It tightens the muscles of the back of the body -- spinal muscles, back aspect of our shoulders, buttocks, and backs of our legs -- to hoist up our front, supported by our spinal column and to erect our spine upright.  It brings our head up, placing our sensory organs -- eyes, ears, and nose -- in the optimal position for getting long-range information about our environment.

    So, Landau Reaction involves both muscular tension and an alerted or aroused state of mind.

    Perhaps you can already see, just from that description, the role Landau Reaction has in sleep: it works against sleep.

    Let's flesh that out.

    In the healthy state, Landau Reaction comes and goes according to circumstances.  The more circumstances call for heightened alertness, the more intensely Landau Reaction gets activated -- and the tighter we get.  Our back arches, our shoulders pull back, our chest lifts, and our buttocks and hamstrings get tight -- we get a "swayback", where the "sway" is forward (giving rise to the expression, "on our toes").  When circumstances pass, and the need for heightened alertness passes, we return to a rest condition -- more or less -- and the muscular side of Landau Reaction eases.  We relax.

    The thing is, an unhealthy state of Landau Reaction exists -- habituation.  The more time we spend in Landau Reaction -- in traffic, at work, in competitive activities -- the better we get at going into Landau Reaction.  Our brain, which provides and regulates the Landau Reaction, learns to be more and more ready to go into Landau Reaction.  Eventually (and commonly) we stay in Landau Reaction in a perpetual state of readiness for action.

    Is it obvious, yet, the effect Landau Reaction has on sleep?

    The two states -- readiness for action and rest -- oppose each other.  Where sleep is concerned, Landau Reaction wins.  Insomnia, chronic thinking, muscular tightness, and even soreness and stiffness (ready for that new, expensive "Sleep Number" or "Tempurpedic" bed?) become our nighttime experience.

    Now, it's also true that our circumstances in life may provoke anxiety in us -- and anxiety shows up as another reflex of stress -- the opposite to the Landau Reaction, called Startle Reflex (or "The Red Light Reflex").

    The Startle Reflex

    In Startle Reflex, we tighten in the front of the body.  It's a protective, primitive response from the life-threatening, "eat or be eaten" times of eons ago, when to curl up was to protect our soft, vulnerable parts.  It's the position of "playing dead" -- and a good strategy for going immobile and escaping the notice of a predator.  This primitive response continues, today, even though the threats these days are more psychological and social than physical.

    All creatures with a spinal cord have Startle Reflex behavior -- even shrimp and insects.  With humans, it takes a specific form.

    Startle Reflex, by tightening our frontal muscles, prevents deep, diaphragmatic breathing, reduces our overall mobility, and by pulling us into a curled-forward shape, causes us to shrink down and to withdraw our sense organs -- eyes, ears, and nose -- from our environment.  It's the shape of "hiding".

    In the healthy state, Startle Reflex comes and goes according to circumstances without lasting effect.

    However, an unhealthy state of Startle Reflex exists:  habituation.  It forms the same way as habituation in Landau Reaction -- by repetition and intensity.

    However, in our current age, we can't get by being curled and withdrawn from experience; we have to function, to be ready, to be active.

    And so, Landau Reaction comes into play anyway.

    However, being opposite to and opposed by Startle Reflex, Landau Reaction activates at an even higher level than if Startle Reflex weren't in play.

    The result:  "stress" -- a combination of readiness for action and anxiety -- and a feeling of being trapped in life -- The Big Squeeze.  Sound familiar?

    And so, insomnia, chronic thinking, muscular tightness, and even soreness and stiffness (got your Ambien, Lunesta, nighttime cocktail, or whatever?) become our nighttime experience.

    What's a human being to do?  How do we deactivate Landau Reaction and Startle Reflex so we can sleep?  How do we decondition ourselves from our lives, so we can rest?

    Ah!  The Essential Question!

    Getting Out of The Big Squeeze so We Can Sleep

    Let's summarize, so our answer can be concise.

    Both Landau Reaction and Startle Reflex are mind-brain-body states.  Both states get habituated.  Habituation is a learned state of being and acting a certain way, on automatic.  The term, "learned state", is key.  We learn our way into those states ("taught" by life); we must learn our way out of those states with the same kind of learning -- experiential learning.

    By now, you may be feeling mystified.  What kind of experiential learning can teach us to disarm habituated mind-brain-body states?

    Hitherto, we have gone into and stayed in those states automatically.  We have to shift from "automatic" to "voluntary".  "Voluntary" refers to anything you do because you decide to -- and also to anything you don't do because you haven't decided to.

    How do we get from "automatic" to "voluntary"?  By cultivating "voluntary".

    This is an entirely new way of thinking about and approaching a situation -- given our culture of "fighting" -- "Fight Cancer", "Fight Drug Abuse", "Fight Terrorism", "Fight Domestic Violence" . . . etc., etc.  Instead, we cultivate voluntary control of what we would otherwise fight; we get into it (like a hand in a glove) and control it from within it.

    This approach works for sleep (and for many other mind-brain-body conditions and stress-related disorders, such as headaches and certain breathing disorders).  We cultivate voluntary control over Landau Reaction and Startle Reflex so that, when we rest, we rest.

    The way into such cultivation is to re-create the muscular actions and feelings of those states deliberately.  When we do, a very interesting thing happens:  our voluntary control supercedes (or overcomes and replaces) automatic habits.  We replace automatic, involuntary states with easy, voluntary control of those states.

    The result:  the excessive habituation in these states quiets and they recede to coming and going only as present circumstances call for, instead of dominating our lives.  With reduction of excess, we have more "cushion" , more tolerance for conditions.  Even in stressful circumstances, our stress level is less.  Sleep returns -- to reduce our stress level further.

    Since few people are familiar with these reflexes of stress, it's helpful to have guidance for assuming control of them.

    For sleep disorders, I have created this program to guide you, step by step, through coming out of excessive, habituated Landau Reaction and Startle Reflex.  It's to be used consistently for a week or two, upon retiring for sleep, and then (once you know the steps), as needed -- such as on occasions when you awaken in the middle of the night or when you are experiencing the effects of heightened stress.

    Sleep-inducing drugs have side effects for some people -- daytime drowsiness, hallucinations, mood changes, suicidal thoughts; the drug companies say so in their advertising.  Special mattresses do nothing to address stressful emotions.  This program also has side-effects -- sometimes (at the very beginning), temporary soreness, and then increased flexibility and heightened physical energy.  Which side effects do you prefer?

    The 'proof' of the 'pudding' is in the 'eating'.  Test the program for yourself.  Get free of The Big Squeeze and get to sleep.



    copyright 2015 Lawrence Gold