Mainstreaming Hanna Somatic Education, part 2

What would happen if Somatics went mainstream?

Some people are concerned that we couldn't meet the demand resulting from mainstream attention and that Hanna somatic education would then, somehow, "look bad". 

At worst, people would end up on our waiting lists, as they did for Thomas Hanna (who was booked a year in advance when he trained us).  The more people want it, the better it looks.

Another concern is that, if we train too many people, the quality of practitioners may go down, and again, we could "look bad".

And another concern is that many practitioners are not able to improvise or to handle conditions not well handled through Lessons 1, 2 and 3.  It's a limitation of "rote learning", rather than learning with understanding.

Finally, and this may be the biggie:  that if (and when) Hanna somatic education goes viral and gets huge, we will lose control of it and of quality control.

I believe those may be legitimate concerns, and we should consider the trade-offs of this magnitude of success.

One way to handle these considerations is to sort out the best practitioners who are interested in training people and encourage them to train people -- and to offer advanced trainings so everyone is up to speed -- another one of Thomas Hanna's stated intentions.  People trained outside of Novato Institute-sponsored trainings would then pay a fee to come be evaluated for competency and certification.  This possibility is workable, if done with integrity and with the intention to succeed.

Serving People on the Waiting List
Many people on a waiting list could adequately be served through an alternate avenue.

That alternate avenue is somatic exercises, which can be learned and taught by people already in place in different sections of mainstream culture, but who do not do clinical somatic education:  movement educators. Instruction can also be broadcast (e.g., "Lillias on Yoga", on PBS) and it can be mass-published and purchased on distributable media.

Later, I'll say more about four easiest "mainstream culture" avenues through which somatic education can penetrate.  For now, I'll say that it involves somatics "going viral".

Would you like that?


What you can do, right now:

1. Do this procedure to free yourself from both fear of failure and fear of success.  If you're good to go, you're good to go; if not, you know where you need training or coaching.

Somatic Meditation on Somatic Experience

What we mean by, "soma", 
is ourselves as we experience ourselves,
as a living experience of life
with sensory awareness of our surroundings
and of our interior experience
the capacity for self-movement
and impulses to creativity and procreation.

Three fundamental processes exist in every Soma, every one of us:

Those three processes form or constitute the essential basis of all living things:

Memory informs intention.
Intention shapes action.

Attention apprehends it all and informs memory of the effect of intentions carried out.  Attention is also the "probe" that captures new possibilities that extend memory, new possibilities called, "imagination".

Memory (or imagination)  then provides a guide for actions
carried out intentionally.

To all that are added three more pairs of functions:
eros, the movement toward the unknown
agape, the movement toward the known

stop (stopping ourselves), the impulse to synchronize with our surrounding conditions
go, the impulse to change our relationship to surrounding conditions

open, permission to change
close, refusal to accept change.

Memory (or imagination) controls them all.

"Stop/Go" shows up as a general activity level of somatic experience.
"Eros/Agape" sets the direction of growth -- taking in what is new or integrating it with what has gone before.
"Open/Close" sets our disposition to allow experience to make an impression on us, or not.

All of this happens in the combination of

In maintaining our memories of Stop/Go, Eros/Agape, Open/Close
we maintain ourselves and our lives.
In allowing our memories of Stop/Go, Eros/Agape, Open/Close to change
we allow ourselves and our lives to change.

Our intentions maintain our lives.
Our attention feeds ongoing reports of our experience
into memory.
Our memories shape our intentions and direct our attention.

Short-term memory receives impressions of moment-to-moment experience.
Short-term memory impressions resonate and activate long-term memories.
Long-term memories come to the surface when short-term memories activate them.

The experience of the present moment exists in short-term memory.

We make sense of short-term memories with our long-term memories.

Thus, the experience of the present is a memory
and not "the eternal now", as in "be here now".

Since our memories strongly shape our intentions,
and since intentions become actions
and actions come to our attention,
attention registers the "flavor" of our actions
and records it memory,
then memory shapes intention and action
attention senses it all
and imprints it all on memory
in a moving, ever-changing feedback loop.

Thus, soma is self-regulating and self-reinforcing
by its own self-aware processes,


"Stop/Go" (or agency) increases or decreases the speed of change
and the capacity for memory to accept new impressions.

"Eros/Agape" (or communion) draws us toward experience
either into the unknown (the movement of eros)
or toward the known (the movement of agape).

"Open/Close" sets the aperture or sphincter valve
determining how fast experience gets in
and how impressions get made on memory.


Tom Hanna referred to four basic somatic functions:

Arising from Rest
Movement Toward Experience
Gyrating (turning or changing direction)
and Handling (manipulating, whether by hand, mouth, prehensile trunk, tentacles, tendrils, or chemical interaction).

All of those functions rest and depend upon


He also wrote and spoke of learning,
the function of memory,
as a somatic capacity,

and of coordination
the timing of multiple movements
for a single purpose
as something learned
and so coordination is also a function of memory.


Drawn into activity
by Eros and Agape

Regulated by


and so on

Long-term memory
maintains patterns of readiness for the experiences remembered
sometimes with more "go" that the current circumstance calls for
sometimes less
patterns of readiness sometimes more constrained by memories
sometimes less.

With more "Readiness" and more "Go",
long-term memory heightens arousal
in a fixed, habitual, familiar, or otherwise "remembered" pattern of "Go".

It's like, whenever Smokey-the-Bear's mate was feeling hot and bothered
Smokey went and got the shovel.
Dominant memory dominated action.

Responses to experience are often inappropriate
when long-term memory dominates attention and intention.

On the other hand,
when attention and intention are free from domination by memory
memory and imagination combine to guide what to attend to and how to act intentionally
in keeping with the present moment, less so, the past.
This more healthy form of somatic behavior
allows intention to engage in new behavior
and allows attention to lay down new patterns of memory.

Full-Spectrum Somatics

There's a misconception that the field of somatics is about the body and limited to the senses and control of movement.  That misconception leaves people with the view that the mind, or consciousness, is outside the field of somatics and somehow above it.  The loftiness of the mind and all that -- or the more pedestrian, "I, the mind, am in the body like a passenger in a single-person vehicle.  Or a bus."

But this is wrong.

There is no "passenger", pe se.  The "passenger" is a self-concept made up of various contractions in the soft tissues of the body and various internal, kinesthetic and proprioceptive sensings, felt as the self-sense

The self-sense is a sensation -- and generally an irritating one -- arising from being aroused and tense in one way or another and so in one or another physiological state.

And that physiological state is like a genius's artistic expression of the psyche appearing as physiological state.  The physiology is the living expression of what is going on psychically (of and by psyche). The sense of all that is the passenger; the "passenger" is "I", is soma. 

The passenger is living a fabrication made of memory called, "Life". The "passenger" is a fabrication -- a fabrication of conceptual memory patterns, the reputed owner of memory, a body of living, moving memory -- memory enacted in tangible form as physiological activity with a name and a social standing.  Physiology substantiates psychology, it is not a vehicle for it. It is it as the movements of the particle are controlled by the field in which the particle moves.

There are not two: psyche and soma,
from which the redundant term,
"psychosomatic" derives.

"Somatic" is sufficient.

"I" is the body, experienced from within
known as "soma".

"You" is some body, experienced from outside
known to yourself as, "soma".

And there you have it.

BUT -- never mind.


From the somatic perspective, there are not two, "mind" and "body", nor is there a mind-body connection.  There is no connection because there are no two to be connected; they are one -- and not "fused" into one, but rather two perspectives or views of the same thing.  What people see as body, we feel as the sensations of mind, movement, and the sense of change.  Whether it's the body thinking or it's thought that moves as the body they are one and the same, not identical, but identity.

Now, there is a reason that people consider that there are two -- "mind" and "body".  It's that so much of our bodily processes run on automatic without conscious mental involvement.  The distinguishing word, here, is "conscious"; our involvement with those physiological processes -- breathing, balancing, digesting, etc. -- occur subconsciously, from deep levels of mind that run the show automatically, unconsciously.  Those things that run on automatic, we consider the body; their very automaticity naturally gives rise to an "other", not self -- the body.  From that springs, "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" and similar sayings.  "The Devil made me do it." (temptations of the flesh).  Sin.  Uncontrollable Silliness.  Understandable.

But misunderstood.

It's that so much of what's going on in us is maintained by memory and by refreshing memory of experiences so they make an imprint on us.  We remember.  But then we forget that we are remembering, while we are remembering.  We remember so well that we act automatically, habitually -- with "steering capability" only to the degree that we remember that we are remembering, while we are remembering. Stick with it, Bunky.

To the degree that we forget that we are remembering, to that degree things seem to be running with a life of their own -- and hence, the the seeming intractability of "otherness" that makes it seem, "other".

the body


my body

The Marvellous Machine

But, let us say, everything we experience is memory
and it's not the memory of a machine.

The "machine" is memory,
memory maintaining itself.

Our senses lag behind what is happening
limited as much by synaptic speed
as by our need for time to recognize anything,
making our experience of All That Is
the experience of the past.

Short-term memory fades,
allowing attention to be refreshed.

Long-term memory lasts and may fade
or it may get stronger.
Long-term memory shapes attention
and also captivates it
so that the tensions of the hour
become the tensions of the day
become the tensions of the week, month or year
placing demands upon the musculature (tension)
the heart
the hormonal/endocrine system (stress chemistry)
the joints (compression)
and the brain (stress depletes brain chemistry) --

Sleep well?


"Nervous Tension" was an apt phrase used in the advertising of decades past for a headache remedy.  Very apt.  Perhaps they had no idea how apt.

Now, they say a similar thing about "Fibromyalgia" -- being an "excessive activation of nerves" allll over your bodyWhat's the inside of fibromyalgia like?  Hmmm?

Mind and body, indeed.

Somatics is more than joints, tendons and flesh.  That's anatomy, the study of the dead.  Somatics is about how the inner/subjective ("mind") and outer/observable ("body") correlate.  Simple enough, when directly observed (not speculated about or analyzed).

How soma manifests as higher reaches of attention become available is a very interesting topic.

At base, however, whatever subtler intuitions or perceptions one may have, they have their correlate in somatic expression.

A couple of clues:


Here's a little experiment we can do in this moment.  Move a little and notice how you can feel bodily sensations.  Now, sit very still and notice that those sensations disappear.  The sense of "body" is the sense of movement, or of change, in general; the sense of movement (a sensation) creates the body sense. (The basic movements that maintain the body sense are the heartbeat, which sends waves of pulsation through us, and breathing.)

The same applies to mind.  Habits go unnoticed; only things that change get noticed. (The movement of attention is the basic movement of mind without which the mind subsides and disappears.)

The difference between "mind" and "body" is a matter of content.  The principles of experience are the same: we notice change and don't notice no-change (unless attention moves to notice).  That's because "mind" and "body" are one and the same, the difference being a matter of experiential content.

That said, we can say the next thing:  the principles governing change and development, whether of mental content or of physical sensations, are the same.

Who's on First?

A soma is a heirarchical holonic process
experienced as clusters of abilities and memories
organized into collections called, "skillsets" and "behaviors"

fine units of function, the physiology
integrating into larger units of function, behavior

forming cohesive patterns of interrelationship
that persist over time, changing slowly

and also trauma clusters, called "complexes"
and shadow material

manifested physically

on autopilot
tuner-and-receiver of all that is, more or less,
memory running the show
with steering
from the sense of integrated identity
made of whatever personal resources are available.

The feeling of being something
is the field, what some call "energy" or "consciousness".
The movement of self as a coherent modulating whole
we call, "matter" or "body".

They are the inner and the outer of the same thing
closer than yin and yang.

We congeal our attention
into clots of memory
that we call, "ourselves" and "others",
and believe
because of the presence of memory
that we exist in a basic sense
as "ourselves", somehow centrally definable.
The sense of "centrality" isn't centrality.
It's the sense of integration, of synchrony, of balance.

We modulate, our attention moving as mind and senses.
The body conforms and moves.
The whole "I" moves.
We experience "I" as soma
and soma as "I".

The sense of soma is the sense of modulation.
"I" is a way of modulating that becomes, "ourselves" --
for the moment.

We can be perfectly comfortable
without running around as
presenting ourselves as
(or preventing ourselves from being)
an identity.
Naked of identity.

And don't let them tell you otherwise
or if you do, let them know they'll have me to contend with
and I ain't no slouch.

Leap-Stones in The IMPONDERABLE

The process of thought
occurs prior to the appearance of thought.

It is an act of will
of wielding attention in directions of tantalizing memory
tantalizing imagination
toward the unknowable beyond memory
The Imponderable.

Thoughts are words
concretized positions of attention
made handily accessible
by sounds
made vocally.


Leap-stones in the imponderable pond of the Unknown.

Convenient ways of anchoring attention
by meaning the memory
roused by similarities between the obvious present moment, now
and a memory or many memories.

Words help
because of their linking with
and belonging to
memories . . . . .
memories of persons

memories of ideas
memories of dreams
memories of values
memories of experiences

the basis of recognition

calling up memory

all associated memories
underlying words

tinge-ing, refracting and pacing experience
moment to moment.

Words are leap-stones on the pond of The Imponderable.

Conveniences for attention --
memory-laden attention.

Attention, too clouded by memory
is too distorted
and does not perceive very clearly or very accurately
and does not  assess conditions in a timely way
but lags behind
making many corrections.

Such a one proceeds through life
by habit,
habits triggered by memory
memory similar to the present

Such a one proceeds
hoping for the best
but not very spontaneously responding.

Slow to respond, and always checking.

Words are a convenient handle
for going from thing to thing
for making general assessments
but not very accurate
for communicating specifics
to one who hasn't experienced something similar,

Life in a daze of words
is attention distorted by memory
the lens of language lending spin and slant
the candle flame of attention
broken by the movement of thinking.

On a windy day,
they call that "ADD" or "ADHD".

Those lost in thought
go from word to word
from memory to memory
into and out of distortion
into and out of focus
in and out of relational participation.

When words take over
memories take over
and things seem as if known
but even the very present moment
as "now" as "now" can get
is memory
clothing the movements and positions of
the Imponderable
for recognition purposes
since patterns do persist

Even the very present moment
is recognizable
only because we have memories.

Leaping from leap-stone to leap-stone
from thought to thought
from memory to memory
always skirting The Pond of The Imponderable
that no words touch
for words are leap-stones
and The Imponderable is imponderable.

So, there.
So, here.

By pondering the leap-stones,
two or three at a time
alternating between them
until memory can hold them both,
new leap-stones appear as the integration of them,
new distinctions
new words
new memories
new ways of twisting, turning, and refracting experience
new points of focus, some smaller, some larger,
new ways of placing leap-stones in The Imponderable
and temporarily taking the emergent leap-stones
to be The Imponderable.

But they ain't.

They's jest leap-stones
in The  Pond of The Imponderable.

The Somatic Jack-in-the-Box

To be somatically aware
is to be aware of ones internal state or process
as well as aware of what is (apparently) external.

To be aware of our internal state
is the current growth-edge of human development.

It is a movement away from predictable,
programmed reactions to external conditions
without much internal awareness
toward novel, evolving responses to external conditions
with awareness of ones internal state
which includes emotions, thoughts, and subtle feeling-perceptions
as well as sensations of bodily movement.

Novel responses are emergent behaviors
catalyzed by attention to internal
as well as external

Attention is a catalyst to development.
Attention feeds and pushes into growth.

Whatever attention is on
grows and develops.
When attention is on the internal state
the internal state grows and develops.

As the internal state grows and develops
more perceptual faculties emerge
more distinctions can be detected in experiences
more intelligence develops
more capacities come on-line
and the perception of the external world changes
even as we make changes in the external world with interaction and creativity.

The growth-edge of human development
is attention free to move between internal and external.

The move internal
is the current move of somatic awakening.

The free movement between internal and external
is the move of somatic intelligence developing --

Somatic development is full-spectrum evolutionary development.

To the honoring of wisdom
is the acceptance of ones function
in the formation of the continually

Got a Limp? not limp

Well, if ever there was a misnomer, it's the word, "limp" -- as in "Got a limp?"

you know -- a movement impediment

Got a limp?  Use a walker or cane?  Think it's because you're aging?

I've got news for you.  It's not aging.  It's the accumulated stress patterns of a lifetime.  You're not "old"; you're in the grip of your life experience.   You're tight and it's your muscular tightness that makes you stiff.

The word, "limp" is completely wrong.  If you have a limp, it's not because your muscles are limp, but because they are extraordinarily tight -- not limp -- pulling you down from upright posture and free movement.  You're not limp; your muscles are not stiff.

Injuries and stress cause people to tighten up.  It's a nervous reaction below the level of control, one that commonly lasts for decades.

It's a common feature among the aged and among the not-so-aged.

I'll get right to the point:

Ready to take back your life?

Better start somatic education -- education for the place where so many people are ignorant -- their own bodily existence.  Get educated -- not mentally, but bodily.

Extraordinary, isn't it, that people -- doctors and therapists included -- are ignorant of their own workings.

Something as simple as a yawn, when applied in novel ways, frees us from the grip of muscular contractions that cause people to limp.  Somatic exercises make use of the Whole Body yawn to get people with a limp to straighten up and stand on their own two feet, again.

Two or three practice sessions of somatic exercises -- or one clinical somatic education session -- cause improvements that might take six months of standard therapy.

It's a matter of doing the right thing for your condition.

Wonder where to go from here?

Ask.  Click here.
or read the article on aging
or send for the information packet (a lot of information).

Is the Tail Wagging the Dog??

I would like to propose the question
"Might there be a fundamental misunderstanding
of the nature of individuality?"

We somehow make the tacit assumption
that there exists a central individuality to us
that doesn't change

and that our feeling states,
accompanied by vision, hearing, smell, and taste
come from outside ourselves,
like the humours of the night
or caused by "tangible circumstance"
or from inside ourselves
as unbidden moods
held in secret
happening to that central individuality.

The "central individuality" is just the belief that there is a central individuality
added to all those other sensations.

Actually, all there are are those sensations, labelled, "me".

In reality, we have no way of ascertaining whence our memories of experience come,
since the emergence of memories trails events
unknown until they become recognizable -- only after the fact
-- by spontaneously comparing them to memories.

Continuity of self
is continuity of memory.
Change of memory
is change of self.
(Whatever doesn't change is persistent memory.)

HOWEVER, that doesn't address the question,
"Whence cometh those memories?"

For, from there,
also cometh individuality.

Do memories come "from the outside, in" to us?
Do they emerge unbidden from within ourselves as imaginings
or both, with imaginings coloring memories that come from outside?

And how can we be sure which is which?

Ay, there's the rub.

Perhaps our individuality
is all-pervading
all connected with everything else,
but because of the optical illusion of seeing, itself,
taken as our primary information source about reality
we take ourselves to be contained within the skin surface.
We take things to be separate and distinct.
Outer vision does that.

And so we profess that "my location,"
is where I am seen,
and is the perspective from which I see,
according to the location of "I" in the world.

But the sense of individuality is more than
the sense of seeing or being seen.

It is the agglomeration of memories
that we label as "I", myself.

Those memories may come from inside ourselves
(as surfacing imaginings and dreams)
or from outside ourselves
(as impinging circumstances, which happen before we know them for what they seem to be)
or both at the same time.

Without that answer,
we can't know the source of individuality
-- and in fact, to the degree that the memory-of-self
comes from outside
we have no individuality.

And yet,
we act as if we exist as individuals in control
(or out of control).

"Dog wagging the tail"
is "Our lives are controlled by something bigger than ourselves."
"Tail wagging the dog"
is "I am in control of my life,"
both very popular perspectives.

If we really pay attention,
we can't really tell if the dog is wagging the tail
or the tail is wagging the dog
whether our individuality is true, unitary, and independent,
or the changeable result of forces greater than ourselves
summarized as our memory of the belief in ourselves
and our impulses to "be something".

Moments of Balance with Fred and Ginger

The reason Fred Astaire
was such a consummate dancer,
and the reason his partner,
Ginger Rogers,
was such a dynamic match for him,
was that they had a consummate sense of balance.

Fred Astaire knew where his moment of balance was with every step, leap, landing and turn.
He landed with the economy and grace
of an Olympic diver.

Ginger was his magnificent match,
without ever seeming like she was keeping up with him,
always keeping with him
with the grace of a horse jumping a high gate.

Their balance was both dual and individual :
dual/relational -- balancing off each other
individual -- having a sense of where the moment of balance is while moving.

Their dance,
such a beautiful expression of physics,
goes beyond physics
to metaphysics.

Fred and Ginger,
their consummate sense of balance
and their feeling where the moment of balance would be with each stop or turn,
enabling them to play with each other
without concern for their footing
in the rhythm of the dance.

And remember:

Everything Fred did, Ginger did
-- backwards in high heels.

 It's a moment of balance
    and again,
     and again.

To Know Self Totally Is To Disappear (urp)

as body embodying mind
am soma.

Whoa, hold it right there, partner.
Better get that one before moving on.
Take your time.

as soma
can never be completely known.

To know myself in totality as soma
equalizes attention in all directions
so nothing stands out
except a kind of equilibrium
indistinguishable from 'no knowing'
no known place
no certain time

So "I"
as soma
can never completely be known.

Which means that the meaning of this stanza
can never completely be known,
for this stanza
is about being soma.

Being soma, I am somatically
embodied mind.

I am soma,
somatically embodied mind.

What I am
can never completely be known.

Thus, I am continuous with rested mind.

Who I am
can never completely be known.

Whatever I am
is who I am

To know myself thus fully,
is to spread myself in all directions
to encompass all.

Spread so thin
my center disappears
and with it

I am a lump of butter
spread on the bread of life
only it's an enlarging slice.

as soma
can never completely be known.

Never mind.

Never known.

Now, since we don't know what that is,
know neither soma or mind
in any summary or complete sense

nor the meaning of this stanza, altogether.

And that is its meaning.

Despite all that,
we can have memories of things
even aggregate memories of similar things
and so seem to know things
and yet
it's approximate knowing of what IS
only approximate.

Life is Not What We Think It Is

Life is only approximately what we think it is.

Our ability to think is based upon memory
and only then extended as imagination.

Life is never exactly that, however close we may be.
Life is a moving target.

To believe otherwise is to believe the dream
of memory

to enact life as dreamed in memory
sparring with dreamed others

who are not exactly what or who we think them to be.

To believe otherwise leads to misunderstandings
stemming from our memories of self and of experiences,
acting as if they are now exactly that way.

But life is only approximately what we think it is
and even only approximately what we feel it as.

The same is true of all other people.
Even the "hard and fast knowledge" of science
is statistical
and variations occur in each individual case of experience.

We have to allow for the possibility of unexpected change
and for being wrong, or "off"
and for course-corrections.

Everything Happens Before We Know It

Why Your Feet Hurt You | - or - | Zee Foot Pad of Your Foot -- The Support of Your Sole

I will tell you a little story about Zee Footpad.  You will like it.  It's about your foot, both of them.

Zee Footpad is the tootsie of the foot -- the soft part that makes contact with the ground.  It's not a device that you install in your shoe.

It's next to "the ball of your foot" (big toe joint) under the weight-bearing arch of the foot, which consists of the big toe and the two neighboring toes, which together form a heel-to-toes arch.  It's a soft cushion for bearing weight on that arch.

Soft is important.  We like soft.

But more importantly, Nature likes soft.

A nice, soft pad makes it pleasant to tread upon the earth.  It's good for the physiology, good for the psychology.

And yet.

Some of us have hard, bony feet that hurt as we tread upon the earth, feet that meet the ground on-edge (literally -- turned so that weight goes through the inner or outer edges more than through the proper weight-bearning center), feet that are stiff, but painful.  These so-called, "tender tootsies", so misnamed, are tough tootsies.  Yes.  Tough, but sore.

Tough tootsies would feel much more comfortable if they rested on zee footpad and were otherwise less hard on themselves.

But there is more riding on the foot than just the foot, yes there is.  Because what affects the foot (both of them) affects everything else above the foot (both of them), balancing like a Toppling Towers Act, namely, you.

Because Zee Footpad is so important, our internal balancing system reads how weight is passing through Zee Footpad and adjusts everything, accordingly.  The Toppling Towers Act goes higgledy-piggledy and looks like bad posture -- the slumping stooper, the short leg leaner, the slovenly slob, the awkward walker, the clumsy lumberer.  You get the picturer.

An "ooch" factor may cause us to shift weight off Zee Footpad -- and that is unfortunate, when it happens, because it leads to the postural changes mistakenly thought to result from "aging" and to feet that ache.  And ache.

We are so sensitive to Zee Footpad that putting too much weight on it, or off-center weight, changes the shape of our spine.  Most of our weight (about 61.8%) is over our heel, about 33% through Zee Footpad, and the rest goes through our outer arch (outer 2 toes).  A weight distribution other than that makes us unstable, off balance, and slow.  You can see it in the wear pattern of your shoes.

Wanna know?  Try it yourself. Stand up and come to steady balance, or the steadiest balance you can.  Now, sway forward over your feet.  Notice that your back-curve deepens.  They call that, "swayback" (not to be confused with zweiback, which is a Swiss cracker).  Sway your hips around in circles.  Feel how your spine changes shape.  Get it?

Zee footpad is situated right in the center of the main weightbearing arch of the foot.  When we stand with our weight through it and our heel (33% / 61.8%), the rest of us likes it.  We tend to straighten up, which means we come out of excessive curves, while maintaining flexibility.

Tight hamstrings often cause a twist of the lower leg at the knee, which, in turn, changes the position of the foot and how weight goes through the foot.

Tight lower leg muscles cause the foot to rock to the inner or outer edge, putting us on edge.

Tight back muscles cause our weight to sway forward over the fronts of the feet, making them tired, sore and tired.

Tight abs also cause our weight to sway forward.


Tight side muscles or uneven hips cause our weight to sway to the side, making us turn our foot out to provide a wider base of support, so that when we walk, too much force goes through our big-toe-joint, leading to bunions.  Yes, bunions.  They're from how you walk.

So orthotics are not the answer to foot problems.  They may "bring the ground up to the foot" in exotic, odd ways, as if you're walking on a hill, but they don't correct the problem or direct weight properly through Zee Footpad.

Here's a little exercise that can correct some foot problems.  Use it to straighten your feet and to direct weight through Zee Footpad.

Here's a little pair of exercises to free your hamstrings.  You may know something about hamstrings -- and there's something more.  Free hamstrings preserve your knees.  Read the article.

Finally, to correct sway back, you may do this program (there's a "preview" link on that page).  If you don't correct swayback, the front of your feet have too much burden, and your feet get tired -- and there's nothing you can do to your feet that corrects the problem.  Correct your swayback.

Other exercises are needed to correct the tightness variations named above.  You'll need to ask  to find out which one(s).  (Click "ask".)

Don't just sit there.  Step on it.


Until Attention Steadies . . . | A Simple Way to Potentize Somatic Education

This entry is about a simple technique for potentizing somatic exercises (and clinical pandiculation maneuvers).

In the recorded instructional programs I offer, I've put an instruction to "hold the moment of contraction long enough for the sensation of it to surface."  The purpose of this instruction is to get people to put attention in what they're doing -- the basis of all learning -- somatics being a learning practice for modifying dysfunctional patterns in the direction of health or soundness.

More recently, I remembered an instruction I gave to people I was teaching, years ago, that produces more profound results than merely waiting for sensation to surface.  The instruction is, "hold the contraction until attention steadies."

I forgot this instruction because, in my own practice, for myself, this is how I naturally operated.  It never occurred to me that people need explicit instruction to steady their attention.

But it makes sense, doesn't it?

To steady attention is a major missing link in all public education.  It's sort of "hoped for", but never explicitly taught.

So now, I am explicitly teaching it.

Any time you are practicing an exercise from a program of mine, hold the contraction phases of exercises until your attention steadies appreciably -- meaning you can detect the steadying.

This action of steadying attention potentizies any somatic exercise and complements the variation of The Diamond Penetration Pandiculation Technique.  (That technique, itself, potentizes somatic exercises by focusing memory, making it possible to change deeply habituated patterns of tension and movement that have been unaffected or minimally affected by standard practice of somatic exercises.)

The Diamond Penetration Pandiculation Technique (so-named because it's like a diamond-bit used to drill into rock) potentizes somatic exercises.  Getting attention to steady potentizes The Diamond Penetration Technique.

Test it with any somatic exercise you do.  Hold contractions until attention steadies, then slowly relax to complete relaxation.

The 'proof' of the 'pudding' is in the 'eating'.

Back Pain
Psoas Muscle Pain
General, Pain-Free Movement Health
Higher Integration to Enhance All Other Programs

Somatic Education Exercises | potent combinations

In this entry, I present some combinations of somatic exercises that have special potency in changing tension-and-movement patterns -- preceded by a bit of explanation.


Anyone practicing somatic education should be familiar with -- and use -- the power of synergy.

"Synergy" isn't some New Age froo-froo concept; it's the way "a whole is more than the sum of its parts" -- it's organization.  It's what makes a system a 'system' and not just a collection of unassembled parts.  It's coordination.  It's integration.  For more on Thomas Hanna's take on coordination, read his book, The Body of  Life.  He also referred to synergy in his published Wave 1 lectures; whether you are a student-in-training or a certified practitioner, if you don't have those lectures or haven't listened to them, get them and listen to them.  They are a major part of his functional legacy and will boost your effectiveness.

Synergy is part of what makes the standard lessons of Hanna somatic education so powerful.  In those lessons, multiple movement elements, e.g., the steps of Lesson 1 / the Green Light Reflex lesson, combine into an overall action pattern. Those movement elements are "the parts"; the action pattern you are addressing -- Landau Reaction, Startle Reflex, or Trauma Reflex in its multifarious forms (see The Handbook of Assisted Pandiculation) -- is the 'whole'.

Piecework -- going straight for the painful location to "get at the problem" right away, is never as effective as dealing with whole patterns, in the long run and often in the short run.  Sometimes, when a client is insistent that we work in the painful region immediately, I'll do it.  I call this form of client placation, "Kiss boo-boo."  But then I get straight away to the overall pattern and I explain to the client, why, if necessary to his or her wholehearted participation in the way I want to proceed with sessions.

By the same token, combining somatic exercises to address a single location is more potent than addressing it with one somatic exercise, only.  Thomas Hanna's comment on afternoon, leading us in somatic kinesiology -- that using more than one somatic exercise to reach a problem region is more potent than using only one exercise (because learning the same thing multiple ways is more potent) -- may have slipped by unnoticed by many, but it's worth noting -- and acting upon.

So here are some collections of somatic exercises that are synergistic in this way.  You'll notice two things.  That I:

  1. start with gentler somatic exercise and progress to more demanding ones
  2. combine somatic exercises published in different sources

A certain class of somatic educators continually explores for ways to improve his/her own functioning and well-being.  Such people have an advantage over those who go only with the basic material conveyed during training:  they can understand more forms of Sensory-Motor Amnesia (from the inside) and deal effectively with them, unlike those with less-developed somatic competency.

If, in yourself, you can find new and effective somatic exercise patterns, that's best; if not so much, various programs exist that can give you a leg-up.


  1. Myth of Aging Lesson 3
  2. Quadratus Lumborum pandiculation (YouTube video / End Your Own Sacro-iliac Pain)
  3. Yoga of the Reclining Buddha (Free Yourself from Back Pain)
  1. "Dishrag" / 4-Way Twist (Myth of Aging Lesson 4)
  2. Startle Reflex somatic exercise (YouTube video)
  3. Hokey-Pokey Hidey Ho (YouTube Video)
  1. Myth of Aging Lesson 8
  2. The Gyroscopic Walk (YouTube video)
  3. The Scottish Geezer's Walk (YouTube video)
  1. Hamstrings somatic exercise (video)
  2. The Athletes' Prayer for Loose Calves (YouTube video / Free Your Psoas, lesson 9)
  3. Spine Waves (The Five-Pointed Star / Quick Help for Back Pain) | arm reach addition
  4. The Dolphin 
  5.  Freeing the Neck and Shoulders (from The Magic of Somatics, section 2)
  1. Myth of Aging lesson 1
  2. Myth of Aging lesson 2
  3. Lazy 8s (Free Yourself from Back Pain, module 1B)
  4. Centering the Sacrum (End Your Own Sacro-iliac Pain)
This is a fairly "minimum" collection of exercises -- enough for you to test to feel their synergy.  People with sacro-iliac pain almost certainly need more -- and I've published an entry that explains why and gives access to a complete regimen here.
  1. Myth of Aging, lesson 6
  2. Freeing Tight Neck and Shoulders (The Magic of Somatics)
  3. Getting Kinks out of Your Neck (The Magic of Somatics)
  4. The Yoga of the Reclining Buddha (Free Yourself from Back Pain, module 2B)
  5. Spine Waves with Arm Reach (The Five-Pointed Star plus YouTube video)
  6. The Folding See-saw with Head-turn (Free Yourself from Back Pain, module 1C)
  7. Myth of Aging, lesson 4 with modification for neck (YouTube video)
  1. Myth of Aging, Lesson 2
  2. The Dolphin
  3. Spine Waves
    You notice that this collection of movements is fairly large.  That's because our necks are mobile (and can become restricted) in so many directions. Gotta do it. Neck issues are a big deal (and often involve TMJ issues); a person with pain in the spine, low back or pelvis that doesn't resolve as expected is likely to be tight in the neck, with the distant pains reflexively caused.
    That's quite enough to get you started.  If you have the ambition, it's an eye-opener. 

    The "Can" or "May", "Won't" or "Can't" Rant

    The word, "can" has virtually entirely supplanted the word, "may", in English Language usage in the United States of America.  People (and scriptwriters) use "can" when they should use "may".  This is significant.

    "Can" refers to ability.
    "May" refers to possibility and also permission.

    By failing to make the distinction, linguistically, people subliminally confuse ability with permission.  The general trend is to shift responsibility away.

    "Can I go to the bathroom?" is a common confusion.  Hopefully, the answer is, "yes,".  Even people with prostate problems or constipation rarely raise the question, "Can I go to the bathroom?".  They just go and hope for the best.

    What's really meant, however, is, "May I go to the bathroom?"  This is a different question than, "Can I go to the bathroom?".  It asks permission of someone else.  It's a totally different communication.

    Another confusion of "could" is with "would" ,

    As in, "Could you come here?"  The word, "could", leads to a similar confusion, to which an understandable answer might be, "Wha'?"  But people actually say that.  "Could you come here?"

    Of course, in the situation in which someone might say that, the answer would generally be, "Yes," with a momentary flicker of doubt as to the competence of the person. 

    What they mean is, "Would you come here?".  That shifts the meaning from ability to willingness.  Because -- you never know.

    But they say, "Could you come here?" instead.  Why?

    Ability vs. willingness
    Can't vs. won't
    Could vs. would

    big difference

    It has to do with where responsibility lies.  "Can't" may be excused.  "Won't" assumes responsibility for the consequences.

    But some people say, "Can't", when what is true is, "Won't".  They won't.   But they say that they can't, as in, "I'm sorry, I can't do that."

    It follows that such people are avoiding responsibility for the consequences of, "Won't".  They are assuming a childlike non-responsibility ("can't").  When a child "won't", you know it; and you know when a child "can't".  Same is true of adults.

    AND we're back to
    "Can I go to the bathroom?"

    "I'm SO glad you asked.  How is your health?"


    "May I go to the bathroom?"
    (an intelligent question, especially under the circumstances)

    You may . . . . .
    You may not.

    can and may
    could and would
    can't and won't

    Catch my drift???

    Tight Psoas Muscles? Sit too much?

    Recent articles about "sitting injuries" highlight the possible consequences of sitting for too long. 

    To that, I add, "sitting at a high level of concentration with minimal movement." The combination sets up a pattern of tension involving the psoas muscles, hip joint flexors (near the front pockets of your trousers), and the low back muscles.

    This entry clarifies the "why" of such sitting injuries and how to avoid them.

    In the '90s, I became aware of a fanciful seating alternative called 'The Nada-chair".

    It consisted of two loops, about thigh length, attached at opposite sides of a back-pad.  The loops went about ones knees, the back-pad behind your sacrum/low back.  The pull on the loops by your knees pulled the back-pad against you, creating a secure support for your back.  All you needed to do was stay balanced.

    POINT and CLICK the image, at left, to
    get started for Free with the self-renovation program,

    Free Your Psoas

    The ilio-psoas muscles perform a similar function, although attached at your groins, not at your knees.  The part that pulls on your back like the back-pad (but on the inside), we call the psoas muscles; the part that pulls on your pelvis from the inside, we call the iliacus muscles.  Together, they share a tendon at your groin, and so we call them the iliopsoas muscles.  They span the distances between your groin on each side and your low back and between your groin and your inner pelvis on both sides.  Their pull on your low back is like the pull on the back-pad, only along more of your back as high as your diaphragm; their pull on your pelvis on both inside surfaces pulls the pelvis top-forward, adding to the support of your back. 

    In that way, your iliopsoas muscles are like the Nada-chair.  When you are sitting in a chair, your iliopsoas muscles shorten to hold you up, especially if you are sit perched on the edge of your chair (as so many do), but those muscles shorten also in those who slouch back in their chairs and hunch forward.

    Tight Hamstrings:  a Big Deal
    When your hamstrings get tight, as happens when you get into -- and work in -- a high-stress-state too often and for too long, your hamstrings pull on your sitbones (deep to the creases of the buttocks).  In the sitting position, tight hamstrings pull your bottom out from under you, forward; they cause you to sit too much on your "pockets" (tailbone).  Tight hamstrings are one reason people slouch back in their chairs.

    To sit erect, under that condition, people with tight hamstrings must tighten their hip joint flexors and psoas muscles to counteract the pull, to bring themselves forward and lift themselves up.

    Then, the same high stress state tightens the back muscles, as part of a pattern of nervous tension.  Eventually, the back muscles tire and the person slumps.

    Please see this article and the embedded instructional video to free tight hamstrings.

    So, in closing
    If you spend too much time in your chair, particularly at attention at a high level of stress, with minimal movement, in either position, you have successfully followed the formula for creating tight, short iliopsoas muscles.  Congratulations.

    Not only that, but muscles under tension formed this way and maintained by habit are the first to tighten under stress and the last to let go when the stress is over.  That's one explanation for why people mysteriously tighten up into pain some time after an injury.

    We become how we live.  We get more and more familiar with being certain ways, more and more ready to be those ways, more and more set in the muscular tension set of those ways, our attitudes and our remembered reactions to everything that's happened to us in our lives.  It all builds up as our "set" -- as in "set in our ways" -- a pattern of muscular tension as well as a psychological state.

    Sit for too many hours all the time, your Nada-chair muscles get set at a shortened length.  You can never really stand up all the way.  If tension accumulates, those muscles may become too tight even when lying down and you won't be able to sleep on your stomach.  The same thing happens with your hamstrings and your back, only it's your knees and back that get affected, until you develop groin pain, deep pelvic pain, a deep belly-ache, and possibly sacro-iliac pain.

    Then, your massage therapist gets his or her elbow ready.  Are you ready?

    There is an alternative.  
    You can do something to change your postural set (which comes from muscle/movement memory) -- besides "trying to have good posture", which doesn't work very well, you may have noticed.

    If you take these steps, you'll end the pain, be able to stand up and walk comfortably, at last.

    If you don't, you may just stay in the condition you're in, which brought you to this page.


    from Free Your Psoas
    all most people need

    Lawrence Gold is a clinical somatic educator with clients from around the world, in practice since 1990 and with two years' on-staff at a hospital rehabilitation center. His specialty is restoring comfort to people with chronic injuries. Learn more about Lawrence and his practice, here


    Definition of Forgiveness

    Look "at".  Feel what that feels like.
    Look "past".  Feel what that feels like.

    Alternate until you can look "past" without being entangled in looking "at".

    Then, look both "at" and "past" (combine the two feelings).

    Get back to me on your results.

    Kosmic Alka-Seltzer

    Here's anudder one:
    "Kosmic Alka-Seltzer"

    • Egoic self | Nirmanakaya - memory body
    • Evolving Self | Sambhogakaya - dreaming/imagining body
    • Ground of Being | Dharmakaya - no body

    The Evolving Self (Sambhogakaya) sacrifices itself
    by combining with the Egoic Self (Nirmanakaya)
    but the two can merge/integrate only by virtue of
    the non-attachment communicated by no-self (Dharmakaya)
    and be redeemed by dissolution into the Dharmakaya - no-form.

    -- or --

    The Ancient of Days
    Swallowed a cloud
    and cured a bad case
    of existential heartburn.

    How much do I operate from the egoic point of view? -- memory reinforcement --


    How much do I operate as the Evolutionary Imperative?  -- imaginational/creative emergence --
    Occasionally throughout the day -- generally, when I'm not in the midst of DOING SOMETHING.  I prefer to pay attention to what I am doing.

    You know?

    What happens when you combine the two by putting your attention into them?

    What happens?

    My egotism (a quality, not an object) softens into ego-ism and mutates, then and there, and I take a new form with a breath and a kind of squirming self-adjustment.

    I mutate.

    Does that make you uncomfortable?

    We're living in The Future, now.

    You'll have to get used to the idea of mutants being a-l-l-l around.
    Just kidding.

    Don't worry.  Really.

    MORE in the same vein:

    On the Spiritual Significance of Bambi Meets Godzilla

    Me Bambi.

    Life Godzilla.

    Foot in Shoe |or| Kosmic Orgasm

    Real consciousness is characterized
    by allowing all things to be lived.

    The transition from experience to experience
    does not exclude the earlier, less mature adaptation.

    It integrates it with that into which we are transitioning
    so that the past (memory) is accepted, but transformed
    by the new "emergence" of "old" into "new"
    into something new
    in which something of the old is recognizable.

    is just the gravitational attraction
    of the strange attractor
    that is our earlier adaptation
    to itself.

    is accepting the egoity
    which is an adaptation
    and creatively upgrading
    the adaptation of egoity.

    Transcendence is the motion
    of emergence
    as new adaptation

    as egoity merges and integrates with motion
    and self-transcends into a new form
    in which something of the old self-form is recognizable.

    If egoity is the activity of gravity,
    What must be the activity of levity?
    Making light?


    What if they all are the same?

    Emergent Self (mythic figure)
    meets Egoic Self (memory figure)

    and Egoic Self
    meets Emergent Self

    And which is which?

    We no longer know which way to push.
    (or pull).

    We stop.

    We let go.

    We recognize the self-contraction in which we are set.

    We recognize.

    We release.

    We breathe.


    et c.

    e t c .

    Spiritual practice is a little like trying to look up ones own nose.

    Spiritual practice is a little like trying to look up ones own nose.

    The seer is always unseen.

    But there is a seer,
    and that seer isn't just "pure witnessing",
    it's laced with biases,
    "lookings for"
    memory-protection mechanisms.
    It's a biased witnessing.

    But we don't know that.
    We don't know our own biases.  They seem unbiased.

    And so our witnessing
    is biased witnessing,
    focused on particular objects of interest
    in space-time.

    Our spiritual practice is based on the presumption of a certain kind of witnessing --
    the presumption of unbiased witnessing.


    The seer,
    this spiritual practitioner
    however well-meaning and well motivated
    is still the experience of a moving point of view --
    not "experiencing" a moving point of view
    but being the very experience of a moving point of view,
    the personal viewpoint
    of the spiritual practitioner
    of we, ourselves,
    with all the memory-based perceptual biases
    of an individual viewpoint.

    And so, the seer
    the subject of spiritual practice --
    we --
    go unseen
    and spiritual practice remains "outside the center"
    the activity of "the" ego (3d person) or of "ego-I" (1st person)
    the do-er
    doing all the wild and wacky things we associated with the word, "ego".  or "I" --
    and sometimes in the name of, or for the sake of, spiritual practice
    or "life experiment".

    Spiritual practice conducted "on the ego"
    is "ego-I" expressing as spiritual practice.

    The unknown do-er
    the ego-conductor of spiritual practice
    the behind-the-scenes impressario who makes it all happen
    is composed of many biases,
    fixated positions that make everything else seem like "other"
    duality appears --
    but only because of our bias
    which we commonly fail to recognize..


    As I said, spiritual practice is a little like trying to look up ones own nose. It involves opposing viewpoints, our being biased toward one or the other.

    One technique of spiritual practice involves a reversal of position:

    If we catch ourself in a bias
    and explore its opposite
    we've experienced both --
    and more than that,
    somewhat equalized our bias --
    somewhat balanced the two positions.

    In that equalization
    we no longer really know where our bias really belongs,
    no longer really know what is the "right" bias.
    Since we've experienced both,
    and since we can't really be sure,
    we can let go of both.


    Even if we got it wrong,
    we got it right.



    Generally, when "I make" intentions, they're based on ego-based memory (habit, conditioning, or "shoulds").  It seems that when intentions arise both from "within" and from the World Process, synchronously/simultaneously, they have more coherence than ONLY-ego-based intentions (which leave me subject to concerns about "was that right? useful? evolutionary?").  "Coherence" means "clear signal" or "intuitive vividness"; attention and intention congeal into a sense of focus characterized by quietness of mind or intuitive depth along with the intuitive sense of the thing intended ("form is emptiness").  The World Process and ego mutually reinforce and that mutual reinforcement creates a sense of "rightness", the experiential sense of the outcome/thing to be created, and empowerment -- of ego operating "beyond ego"; by contrast, one without the other creates a weak signal, inability to focus all that well, or the sense of being imposed upon by, and afraid of, circumstances (colloquially called "separateness" -- really, memory-based misalignment).  So it seems to me.

    Back Pain: What It Takes to End It for Good

    From your own experience, you probably know that traditional therapies for back pain usually produce only short-term, partial relief or require regular -- even lifelong -- care. It need no longer be that way. You can end back pain for good and prevent flare-ups from occurring.

    A new discipline in the field of health care: clinical somatic education, gets to the root of back pain and brings it under your own control. Most back pain sufferers who resort to clinical somatic education should expect full recovery in a space of days or weeks.

    The 3 Biggest Mistakes Made by People

    Trying to Get Out of Pain

    What Clinical Somatic Education Does
    Clinical somatic education retrains muscle/movement memory. Clients rapidly improve their muscular control and freedom of movement through a mind-brain-movement training process. Clinical somatic education affects the brain the way biofeedback does, but with importance differences, one being speed of results and the other being the durability of the improvement. Changes are usually definitive and need no further professional help.

    Clinical somatic education recovers fitness for the activities of daily living.

    A New Understanding of Back Pain
    Spinal alignment and disc condition are secondary to something more basic: muscular tension -- muscle/movement memory.

    Muscular tensions pull on the bones (that's their job) and in so doing, move the bones. That's how spinal curvature changes with movement. Muscle/movement memory sets our posture and the alignment to which we return, at rest -- that's why spinal alignment changes and gets stuck in misalignment.

    Tight back muscles get fatigued and sore; they get prone to spasm; they pull vertebrae together and compress discs, causing bulges and degeneration; they cause nerve entrapment, such as sciatica.

    Back muscles are virtually never too weak; they feel weak because they're tired from being tight all the time, musclebound. Spasm isn't a sign of weakness, but a sign of hair-trigger readiness to contract -- a completely different condition; weakness would be experienced as inability to do their job of keeping you upright.

    Rest doesn't help, much. Muscle memory, not disease or misalignment, keep them tight. Resting doesn't change muscle memory. Muscle memory sets our postural and movement "set points".

    This statement applies as much to people with degenerative disc disease and herniated discs to those who have only a twinge, now and then. The underlying cause is the same: muscle tension.

    "If that's true," you may ask, "why doesn't my doctor (or therapist) know about it?"

    The answer is that until recently, the connection between muscle memory and back pain wasn't recognized. Effects are typically mistaken for causes. No method existed that could rapidly change muscle memory enough to be clinically practical. Word takes time to spread and gain credibility. People are attached to their methods and ideas.

    You may think, "Back spasms are too painful, too serious to be dismissed that quickly, or that easily."

    That's understandable -- but a misunderstanding of your situation.

    Get Free from That Back Pain
    (self-relief program)
    To get a test-able preview of the new method referred to, here, click and send the email, blank. You will receive a quick-response message with the information.

    Conventional Therapeutics and Back Muscle Spasms
    Conventional treatment methods, as you already know, are not effective enough for most people. Most therapies try to strengthen, stretch, or adjust people out of back trouble by working on muscles or the skeletal system. But bones go where muscles pull them, the control center for the muscular system is the brain (not the therapist), and these approaches don't address the brain's control of muscle action, so the problem remains or returns. The problem isn't in your muscles; it's in your brain, the organ of learning and the seat of muscle/movement memory, which runs the show.

    That's why the relief obtained by conventional therapeutic approaches to back spasms is usually temporary and you remain subject to re-injury and to prescribed limitations to movement, such as "neutral spine position".

    Muscle/memory is acquired, learned. What's learned can be unlearned, and actually, relearning muscular control is the only approach that works for long term relief of back pain. You must dissolve the memory-based, reflexive grip of musclebound back muscles; it can't be manipulated away -- at least, not for long.

    Get Free from That Back Pain
    (self-relief program)
    To get a test-able preview of the new method referred to, here, click and send the email, blank. You will receive a quick-response message with the information.

    Medical doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, osteopaths, and bodyworkers use manipulative methods.

    But problems arising from muscle/movement memory cannot be "cured" by manipulation because muscular tension is not a disease, but a habit maintained in the brain.

    A Correct Understanding of 'Strengthening and Stretching'
    The idea behind the common "strengthening and stretching" regimen for back spasms is usually based on a misunderstanding; it's a misunderstanding because the muscles involved are almost never weak, but tired; it's a misunderstanding because the muscles involved are not "short" and in need of stretching, but "in contraction" and in need of relaxation. Sore muscles don't need strengthening; they need relaxation and a chance to be refreshed, again.

    You need to regain your ability to relax, something you can't regain by being manipulated by someone else; you regain it by relearning to relax -- a form of learning, albeit a specialized one for which you will probably need training.

    Back Muscle Spasms May be Painful, but Not Themselves an Injury involving any Damage to Spine or Discs
    One of the automatic reactions of the body to injury is to tighten up. That's part of the pain of most injuries, particularly of musculo-skeletal injuries. It's a reaction that protects the body from further injury. There are cases where the tightening up of back muscles is such a protective reaction, and a necessary one -- where actual damage has occurred, such as a ruptured disc or a violent accident. In such situations, surgery may be necessary and changing muscle memory will either not help or produce only temporary relief, at least until after surgery, unhappy news for some, but realistic.

    If you've seen a doctor for your back spasms, he or she has either discovered that you need surgery or that you don't. Surgery is a last, desperate resort and most doctors are reluctant to recommend it. If you have been sent for therapy or given drugs, yours is not a surgical situation, meaning that your spasms are not a protective reaction against injury, but chronic activity.

    In the majority of back spasms, there is no injury. The back spasms are just a movement malfunction -- a tension habit formed under stress. It's the "tension" part of "nervous tension."

    So, why do back spasms occur? You now have part of the answer. Let's look a little more closely.

    Your muscles obey your brain. Except for momentary reflexes controlled in the spinal cord (tested by your doctor's hammer tap), that's the whole story. So, if you have tight, spastic muscles, they're caused by your brain.

    This answer is a "good news/bad news" type of answer. The bad news is that your muscles are out of control, and it's your brain's fault! Your brain isn't broken, just trapped by the memory of stress or injury in your history. The good news is that your brain can be relearn to relax those muscles.

    Where do Back Muscle Spasms Come from?

    One thing you will almost always notice about people with back spasms, if you exercise your powers of observation, is their high shoulders and swayback. Touch the muscles of their lower back, and you will find the same thing: hard, contracted muscles, not soft, weak, flabby muscles.

    The major source of back spasms is the lifestyle of being "on the go" -- driven, driving, productive, on time, and responsive to every situation. Tense. This is a new idea for most people, so here's the explanation.

    Our post-modern lifestyle triggers an ancient neuromuscular (bodily) response (known to developmental physiologists as the Landau Reaction); this reaction involves a tightening of the muscles of the spine in preparation for arising from rest (sitting or lying down) into activity (sitting, standing, walking, running). The Landau Reaction consists of the muscular responses involved in coming to a heightened state of alertness in preparation for moving into action. The reaction may be mild, moderate, strong, or extreme; triggered incessantly for years, a muscle/movement memory forms -- one that often outlasts the moment (or stage of life) when it was necessary and makes you vulnerable to episodes of spasm.

    Many Back Pain Issues Come from the Same Cause

    Though injuries from traffic accidents, falls, etc., also trigger muscular reactions that can become habitual, the Landau Reaction is behind most of the back-spasm epidemic in our society. It's a consequence of accumulated stress.

    While you can't avoid the Landau Reaction (it's a necessary and appropriate part of life), you can avoid getting stuck in it. If your lifestyle puts you habitually in a state of reaction, you have to "de-habituate" yourself from it, so that your rise in tension occurs only as a momentary response to situations and does not become your chronic state.

    Attempts to Break a Back Muscle Tension Habit


    To get a preview of the new method referred to, here, click and send the email window that opens, blank.

    Cures for include relaxation techniques, hypnosis, massage, skeletal adjustments, electrical stimulation, muscle relaxant drugs, and at last (as at first) pain medications.

    Until recently, there was nothing better. Now, an effective way exists to rapidly improve muscular control, freedom of movement, and physical comfort. Once you have gained control of your Landau Reaction, a brief daily regimen of certain movements is sufficient to keep you from accumulating the daily tensions of a driven and overloaded life. You can keep refreshing yourself, as needed.

    If you have numbness or tingling in your extremities, your problem is more severe and requires a medical evaluation to rule out serious conditions. Even if you have surgery, you will still need to learn to relax the tight muscles that initially caused the problem. If yours is not a surgical situation, then somatic education is probably viable for you.

    The new methods used to de-habituate Landau Reaction are highly reliable and have no adverse side effects, apart from occasional temporary soreness the day after a session, soreness that fades out in a day or two, leaving you flexible, comfortable and stronger than before.

    How to Self-Relieve Low Back Pain (article)
    Somatic Exercise for Chronic Low Back Pain (explanation)