Hanna Somatics can perhaps most readily merge into mainstream culture through five cultural streams:
- the military (including the Veterans' Administration Hospitals)
- elder care
- public education
- professional athletics
- nurses in standard medical settings
For now, I just want to delineate each (the "differentiation") step;
later, we will fit them together (the "integration") step. You may participate.
Those who most need somatic education in the military are soldiers returning from deployment. We might expect to see lots of startle reflex, in addition to trauma reflex triggered by wounds.
I envision the Veterans' Administration bringing somatic education in, at first, in a small way, through some personal connections in the VA and "people who know people" (possibly within the medical community) -- at first, to handle Trauma Reflex (effects of wounds) after hospitalization and tissue healing, being a support to the physical therapists, or after discharge from physical therapy. For PTSD, positive emotional improvements (in the course of dealing with trauma reflex) might "turn a light on" for someone about the "unexpected" potential of somatic education to speed recovery from PTSD.
I envision somatic education in elder care improving the quality of life of seniors -- If you can move, you're alive! -- improving movement and balance, reducing the tendency to have a fall, staying mobile longer, getting out of the wheelchair and on to her feet, off the walker, reducing or stopping use of the cane, out and about, physiologically healthier, not needing many drugs needed by the current crop of oldsters, and less reliant on Medicare, Medicaid, and skilled nursing facilities. Making getting older more about ripening and maturing than about becoming decrepit, feeble, cold and tired, lumbering and ungainly, heavy, sustained by a diet of drugs, helplessly feeling rotten and taking that "That's par for the course."
Certain movement teachers serving the "senior centers" may be interested about the potential of more potent somatic exercises coming out of our field.
As ever, personal connections might make the difference, and then it's about the senior centers and their movement teachers communicating with each other, passing the word, having somatic exercises take their place for that age group.
Might be an easy "in".
For this one, I think the "packaging" may be important. It may be that packaging somatic education as, "somatic education" might just work. Just might.
I envision Somatic Education ("S.E.") in the schools providing a sound foundation for "P.E.", starting with 3rd grade (8 and 9 year-olds learning simple exercises for somatic awareness), continuing to 5th grade, when students learn and practice somatic exercises in P.E. (yes, I know it sounds rather Scandinavian), through the University years, where students learn both the practices and the principles of somatic education as part of a "well-rounded education" supporting the health of the general population. Health Education.
In this case, it's the funny matter of "teaching the teachers". The key is to identify and locate master teachers -- and by that, I don't necessarily mean the Principals or The Superintendent. Master teachers are continuously learning, open, curious as to how what you do fits together with what they do. They use teaching to educate -- to draw forth competence, and they recognize it when they see others do it. They are educators, not just teachers.
Somatic education, done well, can "bootstrap" public education by waking up and integrating that 'ol central nervous system. You know -- pandiculation is an action done upon awakening. Think it could help to educate people into greater awareness of their own state? Maybe wake up superior perceptual and creative capacities? Just asking.
Good nutrition ("school lunches" and "university food") is one arm; neurological grooming (somatic education) is another. Just a thought.
By the way -- what's the other arm? Sports!
(Does the ultimate athlete have three arms?)
where the money is -- and therefore the most guarded
The territoriality of athletics is much like the territoriality of the military. The difference is that money is involved in pro athletics, making it even more territorial.
Somatics has got to be brought in person-to-person -- first by one person or another, and then Somatics has got to get "drafted" by a team. Then watch the fireworks fly.
But first it has to catch someone's attention. Maybe "somebody knows somebody", maybe a massage therapist who already works for the team. Something like that.
I envision members of professional athletics teams, performance-driven as they are, coming to recognize -- from seeing someone they know improve -- the advantages of somatic education in training, performance, injury prevention, and recovery from chronic injury. No athlete should have to retire because of a chronic injury unless joint damage is involved -- and not necessarily then.
The competititive nature of pro athletics being what it is, once one team starts (and excels), other teams seem likely to follow. Get out your stick.
Nurses in Standard Medical Settings
In case you didn't know it, institutional nursing can be heavy labor under stressful conditions. Good combination for getting tight. Then, come the lifting injuries.
What's a nurse gonna do? Go to physical therapy, probably.
Now, I'm going to be oblique. Let us say that someone endures a lifting injury, goes to physical therapy, perhaps explores acupuncture, and still has the pain of injury. What then?
You get what I'm pointing to.
These are a population who would be grateful for what we offer -- and, through them, perhaps word could get to physicians' assistants, and from there, to physicians who acquire their share of physical complaints. We could infiltrate the medical profession and help it transform itself from within -- understanding that there may be some turbulence from "certain others who see things differently". Maybe we could present ourselves as "supporters". Or maybe we just serve the nurses.
There is the category of nurses, "holistic nurses" -- and they have an association. Just a thought.
GATEWAY TO INTEGRATION
So, we've done some differentiation. I recount them fitting together and one sequence of approach, below. You may see others and compose your own description.
Here's my question: How do those five cultural streams interact with each other?
First, my turn. Then, your turn. (This could turn into a forum -- a sudden thought. Frightening. (or maybe that's just excitement)
Of these five avenues, I estimate the Military to be the easiest line of approach, given the population of soldiers traumatized, both physically and emotionally, and the relatively low cost of somatic education and the speed of improvements possible with conditions unlikely to resolve fully with standard therapy.
Next, I think, comes elder care.
Natural sympathies exist for both wounded soldiers and the aged, so stories of success, first in P.E. journals and then in sports magazines, would reflect well upon somatic education and it could go "viral".
The next two avenues are "protected" avenues: the young and professional athletes. Both are the claimed "territory" of standard physical education coaching practices and standard "sports medicine".
A favorable track record (obtained with the first two groups) can bring the credibility needed to reach public education and professional athletics, to get past the "gate-keeping" (and territoriality) of athletic coaches, trainers, and physical education teachers, who are inclined to the usual "strengthening and stretching" indoctrination of P.E. and sports medicine. People have to want it.
With somatics pervading these five cultural streams, I envision the mass-communications media picking up on the story of "this new discipline" that has brought such benefit to such diverse groups -- a "60 Minutes" segment or somesuch. (Anyone up for that?)
Pilot programs can be the seeds of those possibilities.
My question is, How do we go about it? How do we get the "gate-keepers" of those four disciplines (public education, the military, professional athletics, and elder care) to bring somatics in, such that it catches on and "goes viral" (spontaneously expands)?
I'm in no position to do all that with the four cultural avenues I have named; I'm mostly into somatic study and development and I'm not "a mainstream kind of guy" -- so, of course, I would ask for your help. I don't have the relationship connections, and in any case, I'm best at "development"; others are better than I am in other streams of development. We need connections into each of those streams. So, here's where I would appreciate your input and, God willing, your participation.
Here's a big idea: In the 60s, John F. Kennedy founded The President's Council on Physical Fitness. Calisthenics took over the world, followed closely by isometrics. We could check the Council's current status and see if there's a viable possibility for us to work together, somehow. or envision a President's Council on Somatic Education analogous to President Kennedy's Council on Physical Fitness -- and the direction things would have to go for that to happen.
Now, there may be some who say, "It can't be done." It can be done. The question is, "How?"
And so, still, I need your help.
MORE TO COME
four capacities "helpful" to mainstreaming somatics.
WHAT YOU CAN DO, NEXT: (options)
- Apply to be a featured expert answering questions about pain at AllExperts.com. This is not a big deal, other than you have to know what you're talking about -- or be OK admitting that you don't. It just starts you down a runway. See if you lift off.
- Ask your clients to send email to the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) to send an email message asking that an article about Hanna somatic education be published in the AARP magazine. The email address to use is: