What to Do When Your Client is In A Weird, Hard-to-Understand Contraction Pattern

Here's a little quickie:

From time to time, we Hanna somatic educators get a client whose pattern of tension is so unusual that we have a hard time knowing where to start. This entry cuts to the bone, and quickly.

Although Trauma Reflex has a universal core pattern, all injuries are idiosyncratic -- meaning odd and unusual, unique.  They always come from some direction other than from straight ahead or straight behind and always involve postural and movement asymmetries.

The universal core pattern of Trauma Reflex involves pulling the injured part toward the somatic center (hara, dan tien, core, etc.).  Tightness always appears more on one side, usually the injured side, than the other (though not always); there's always a twist along the vertical/longitudinal line of the person.  One hip is pulled up and its shoulder, pulled down (usually, but not always).

That universal pattern is what the Trauma Reflex lesson/session addresses:  freeing the retraction toward center and undoing side-tilt and the twist.

The idiosyncratic part has to do with the injured part, itself.  Hurt ribs involve clamping the arm down against the hurt side. A whiplash injury involves raised shoulders. The standard Trauma Reflex lesson is inadequate to deal with either, and other idiosyncratic patterns because the involved regions are outside the movement patterns employed in the Trauma Reflex lesson.

So, we may feel, "What do I do with that?"

It's a two part answer -- and simple.

"A good man, before he can help a bad man, first finds in himself the matter with the bad man."
~~ Lao Tzu, The Tao Teh Ching
Witter Bynner translation

Here are the two parts:
  1. Use yourself as the guinea-pig to understand your client's predicament.
    Replicate your client's pattern in yourself.  Assume his or her shape and movement pattern. Feel it and understand from the inside, out.
  2. Whatever the client is doing "wrong" (i.e., contracting in Trauma Reflex) have him or her do it MORE, and then, LESS.  Those are his or her needed pandiculation patterns.
That's it.

Completing Recovery from an Injury
Somatic Education Programs for Hard-to-Relieve Conditions

Somatology: A Warning and An Advantage to Clinical Practitioners

Thomas Hanna, the developer of Hanna Somatic Education, made a point to deliver lectures on somatology to us, his students.  In one of those somatology lectures, he read a poem to us, by Ranier Maria Rilke, about the statue of Apollo.  He had a reason to do so.

Every morning of every training day in 1990, Thomas Hanna delivered a fascinating and illuminating lecture on the behavioral and experiential side of somatic education (as distinct from the clinical techniques).

His reason for doing so is implicitly obvious in his including sections in his book, Somatics | ReAwakening the Mind's Control of Movement, Flexibility and Health -- the introduction, titled, "The Myth of Aging" and in his chapter, "The Role of Expectation".  Mental state makes a difference, experienced in physiological state. Psychology and Physiology and two sides of the same coin.

I'll now make it explicit.

Just as emotional states coincide with physiological changes, the mental state we are in when doing somatic exercises or delivering a somatic exercise lesson or doing clinical somatic education, that mental state imparts itself into the physiological changes that result.  Psychology impresses itself upon physiology and we emerge from experiences of somatic education with a psychological impression and corresponding physiological changes.

Aspects of our personality and character that have not yet been made conscious and responsive form the background of our practice and limit the changes we can get.

Contemplative practice, spiritual practice, psychotherapy and related disciplines of our subjective life all have their place in somatic education.  Without growing in those terms, our "reach" as somatic educators is limited to the reach we have in ourselves.

Somatology isn't just an intellectual exercise, a form of "enrichment", or a form of entertainment (though it may be all of those); it's a call to recognize that mind and body are not two, but two perspectives of the same process that we call, "soma".

To drive the point home, deeper, if we, in our character and habit, harbor unconscious (or conscious) liabilities, forms of immaturity, or patterns of stress, those liabilities, that immaturity, and those patterns of stress get reinforced by our practice of somatics (since we bring those patterns into our practice) until they surface as problems (in ourselves, our relationships, and our circumstances) that require us to do clean-up in that aspect of our lives.

In other words, somatic education isn't a "cure"; it's a catalyst taking us the direction we are already going (for better or for worse) unless we make a conscious, deliberate and effective change of direction.

As the final line goes, in a poem by Rilke about the statue of Apollo, that Thomas Hanna read to us, one afternoon, "We must change our lives."

PTSD and Somatic Education

I have been compiling a resource list for PTSD [Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder] and related trauma practitioners specifically around the Somatic Experiencing methods pioneered by Peter Levine. Since you have been working with Lawrence Gold's "Somatic Education", I'd like to know if, in your opinion, his methodology is effective for treating emotional trauma or is it targeting only physical pain relief?

The therapeutic categories can be confusing: Somatic Bodywork, Somatic Experiencing, Somatic Education, etc. The dictionary definition of "somatic" isn't specific enough as applied to therapy:

1: of, relating to, or affecting the body especially as distinguished from the germplasm or the psyche
2: of or relating to the wall of the body : parietal

OK.  To start, the dictionary definition represents a reduced definition of the term, somatic, which has been "co-opted" by the medical profession, which deals (at least in its mainstream form) exclusively with a mechanistic, non-feeling view of the body, and so has a highly limited understanding of stress and only rudimentary capacity to deal with it (primarily through drugs with daunting side-effects).

In that view, "mind" is different from, separate from, and somehow "within" the body.  Orthodox Western medicine does not consider mind significant with regard to healing. The field of psycho-neuro-immunology is an exception -- but then, again, psycho-neuro-immunology isn't "mainstream".

The word, "soma" -- derived from the Greek -- means "living, self-aware person".  The word, "soma", has a more expanded meaning -- any "sentient being" that directs attention (through sensing), exercises intention (as movement), and has memory (genetic persistence -- via DNA -- and self-originated behavior -- higher life-forms also have imagination and some degree awareness of their/our internal state).

Clinical somatic education, as I practice it, deals with the memory imprints of stress and trauma, as expressed through the flesh-body's physiological conditioning and behavior.  It's psychophysical.

However, in my experience and observation, emotional memory imprints are usually best addressed on their own terms.  "Bodywork" and sensory-motor somatic education can't adequately substitute, although they can support and provide a "reserve" or "cushion" of resiliency.

I have experienced Peter Levine's earlier work (with Peter) and found the effect temporary (it seems, because it was physiologically-based).

That said, I have developed techniques that can directly address emotional memory imprints during sessions of clinical somatic education, integrated seamlessly into the techniques.

In my view, the domain of somatics includes the full range of attention and experience availble to living beings, in all domains.  However, in my experience, techniques based upon somatic principles must be must be adapted for and applied to different "levels" of the being.  The principles of somatic education lend themselves to the development and implementation of such techniques and they are effective.

That said, since PTSD, by definition involves trauma (physical or emotional), it also involves the reflexes of stress associated with trauma:  the Trauma Reflex (cringe response in response to pain, only not momentary but chronic) and the Startle Reflex (the shrinking-into-oneself response of fear and anxiety -- again not momentary, but chronic).

The three basic clinical sessions of Hanna somatic education directly address those reflexes of stress.  In some cases, the Startle Reflex session is sufficient to pop a person out of the grip of PTSD.  I've had that happen with a client of mine.  The memories remain, but without the gripping intensity (called, "charge" by those practicing Reichian and neo-Reichian somatic education, such as Somatic Experiencing).

In more deeply ingrained PTSD (e.g., soldiers returning from combat), a psychological approch that uses somatic principles, combined with clinical somatic education, is highly desirable, explained in the articles, below.

Thank you for you encompassing answer. I myself feel that it can support people suffering from PSD and other traumas.

Psychotherapy and Integral Somatic Education
Beyond the Three Reflexes of Stress

practical action:
The Cat Stretch Exercises
Calmly Energizing:  Somatic Breathing Training to Reduce Stress

The Name of All

I have recently been impressed with how closely "name" (the proper noun) is connected with the three reflexes of stress.

The three reflexes of stress are basically this:
  1. opening and moving into experience
  2. closing and shrinking away from experience
  3. avoiding or favoring (turning toward) experiences
These three behaviors underlie all other modes of behavior.

Our name is how people get our attention.  In fact and in essence, our name is our attention marker, the trigger to get our attention.  It's others' way of getting us to turn toward them (at least, our attention) to open toward them.

What happens after that is interesting.  There are a few general possibilities about which we can talk.

One thing that may happen is that our attention is roused from rest, from dormancy -- dormancy, as in "dormez vous" -- "are you sleeping" -- Frere Jacques, "brother John".  or Jack.

What happens after activation of attention is activation of memory.  All the associations of the moment, all the strongest memories, memories of recent events, the deep undercurrent of memories of more distant events that made an impression upon us.  The activation rises up as a thin stalk of attention aimed into a memory and expands, by remembered associations, into something resembling of dandelion, a puff-ball of memories, mixing and swirling, oscillating, pulling this way and that, and all somehow implying 

a "someone", 
"a" soma, 
a center of self-generated activity

a dynamic memory ball
given a name,
a name that when called (or invoked)
stimulates the dyamic memory-ball.

Fair enough.  (laughter in the distance)

Which way does it go?

  • open
  • close
  • shrink in
  • be-long long
  • face
  • avoid
  • enter repose at balance
  • arise from repose through imbalance
  • activity
  • rest
Do we open or do we close? (when we hear our name)

Do we face or do we turn away? (when we hear our name)

Do we shrink in or do we feel we be-long? (when we hear our name)

Do we feel at repose or do we feel roused? (when we hear our name)

All our activity is in our own name
as the responsible party.

Say the name,
get roused.

But aroused how?

That is not to be "known" or stated.
It is to be experienced
and known as experience
but somehow identified as we,
by name.

What happens when the name 
is recognized as just a name
for the memories the name invokes 
and that a name is a memory  



Mainstreaming Hanna Somatic Education, part 4 | The Inevitable

The Inevitable

The Association for Hanna Somatic Education is the organization formally responsible for mainstreaming Hanna Somatic Education.  How is it doing?

There is no Association for Hanna Somatic Education "out there".  The Association has its home in and as we, ourselves.


To "mainstream" somatics, we need four "potencies"*:
  1. integrity

  2. relationships

  3. communication that inspires people's sense that something is possible and do-able

  4. persistent action (attention and intention)

First potency:  integrity
Integrity isn't honesty.  Integrity is stable wholeness and completeness -- what makes a collection of parts into something organized that produces an intended result.  When we have integrity, we are pleased to be seen.  We're "playing with a full deck" -- complete, competent, proficient.  We have the fortitude to be honest. Without integrity, we're too shaky to be honest, particularly where it counts -- in cleaning up messes and dysfunctional situations -- and we're incapable of living up to our promises.  Integrity is an essential principle that allows something to live.

Integrity is the nature of the second potency:

Second potency:  relationships
We operate as relationships of all sorts.  We connect. We cooperate. We get results. We share the benefits.

Relationships are resources. Relationships are the recipients of our gifts and abilities.  Until we forge and activate relationships, we're left only with our own resources and stay small.

Relationships are the setting for the third potency:

Third potency:  communication of the advantageous possibilities
Communication isn't, "talking to people."  Talking isn't communication.  Communication happens when someone internalizes what we mean to put across -- and when we internalize what someone else puts across.  Communication is the outer form of the intentions we are exercising.

When we're in communication, people:
  • Trust our integrity -- so they listen and internalize

  • Treat the advantageous possibilities we're talking about as something new and unique -- so they listen with fresh attention, rather than pigeon-hole what we say with what they already know.  ("Is it like chiropractic?"...)

  • Feel these new possibilities as something they can partake in.

  • Recognize and be inspired (so they are drawn into enthusiastic action).
When others communicate with us, we experience the magic of another viewpoint that may alter and expand our own viewpoint and our potency for change.

Communication is the feedback look that connects us in the fourth potency:

Fourth potency:  persistent action (directed attention and exercise of intention)
That means, do what Thomas Hanna personally told me to do, "Be relentless."

"Relentlessnes" may mean, to communicate relentlessly until we get the desired result; to develop relentlessly so we can walk our talk (be the result we promise to others) and deliver results to others; to take steps to "mainstream" somatics (the proper mission of the AHSE) until it happens; to "Keep our eyes on the prize", taking whatever steps necessary to stay on or to get back on track.

So, to have a chance to succeed, we need to enhance and exercise our integrity (both individually and as a group), connect, communicate and persistently take action -- relentlessly, in mood of, "success is the only acceptable outcome.

How does that feel?

Here's the juicy part:  As we further our purpose, the energy we get back fuels us.

What We Can Do
  1. Discover and enhance our power by finding (creating) these four potencies in ourselves.
  2. Discover the resources we have to tap into the juicy flow that allows Somatics to tap into the world-culture -- the five cultural streams, our own clients, our own abilities.
  3. Communicate
* credit to The Landmark Forum-in-Action Seminar

Ticklishness and The Trauma Reflex | Clinical Assessment

Remember a time when someone tickled you.

You wriggled and squirmed all over the place, didn't you?

Remember a time when you got hurt.

You tightened up and pulled in the injured place, didn't you?

The two actions are related and very similar.

Very often, an injury leads to a long-term muscular contraction action.  People think it's only momentary, as in limping when you sprained an ankle or as in pulling your hand back when inadvertently touching something hot.

But everyone's familiar with the lasting change of movement an injury can provoke, the limp that never goes away, the postural change that occurs after a whiplash injury.

Physical therapists do their best to eliminate those after-effects, but they tend to persist, anyway.  One reason is that medical practitioners tend to focus on the site of pain or restriction, without taking whole-body patterns of contraction into account. Without dealing with the entire pattern, the parts of the pattern left untouched by therapy tend to re-create the entire pattern.  That's why therapy so often fails to produce a complete result or takes a long time.

When a somatic educator works with such muscular tension patterns, we look beyond the site of pain; we look to the whole contraction pattern, which spreads out from the site of pain the way the fracture lines of a damaged window spread out from the center of damage.

The quandary therapists (and somatic educators) face is, "How do we identify the entire pattern?"

One common way used by somatic educators and therapists to assess patterns of injury is to listen to the client/patient's report of pain and to correlate it with the report of injury.  They may (and should) go further:  to watch the client/patient walk and otherwise move, to examine by touch (palpation), and to move the client/patient passively to discern restrictions to movement -- all useful.

However, there is an assessment technique that goes beyond palpation:  to observe he client's response to being touched, namely, to wriggle and squirm.

Even with sensitive palpation, touch elicits that response.

It's very revealing -- because the way someone wriggles exactly reveals his pattern of trauma reflex.

Thomas Hanna outlined what I call, The Spectrum of Reaction, in response to touch (found in The Handbook of Assisted Pandiculation, available to Hanna somatic education practitioners). 

It goes like this.
  1. ticklishness without pain
  2. pain upon being touched
  3. intermittent pain without being touched
  4. ongoing soreness
  5. spasm 
If a person is ticklish, he is contracted (tight) at (and around) the site of ticklishness.  You can't tickle a person who's relaxed.  There's no "tickle" there.

If a person is sufficiently contracted, muscles are fatigued but below the threshold of pain, and mere touch is sufficient to surface them above the threshold of pain.

If a person is more contracted, muscles are fatigued but below the threshold of pain, and mere movement using those muscles is sufficient to fatigue them enough that they hurt.  Since movement is intermittent, pain is intermittent.

If a person is yet more contracted, muscles are sufficiently fatigued to be sore all the time.

And if a person is yet more contracted, muscles are sufficiently sore to trigger a cringe response, which tightens the muscles further, makes them burn more, triggers an even heavier cringe response and the person goes into spasm.

Touch at even the "ticklish" level of contraction is sufficient to trigger the cringe response which, known by another name, is The Trauma Reflex.  At that level, it may not hurt, but the protective movement action is there, the very action that, like the fracture lines of a broken window, spreads out in a pattern from the site of injury.

In assessment, we can use the "tickle response" to show us that pattern.

Therapists may use that information to address the complete pattern using whatever modalities they choose.

Somatic educators may use that information to coach the client to contract in that pattern, deliberately, as part of a pandicular maneuver -- the "omni-yawn" we use to free a person from the grip of muscular contractions maintained by muscle/movement memory in the condition we call, Sensory-Motor Amnesia.

What is "Sensory-Motor Amnesia"?


First, let me touch on the "amnesia" part.

When people first react to injury (cringing in Trauma Reflex), we may, if we pay attention, notice the entire way our movements change from that instant.  The limp is obvious.  The pain is obvious.

However, as with all sensations that persist for sufficient time, those sensations fade.  The change of movement, the change of coordination, fades from our awareness.  We may believe we have recovered from the injury.  However, the changes of movement persist, un-noticed.  Meanwhile, we also have forgotten what it feels like to move freely.  The new, cringe pattern has displaced the free movement we had -- and we may not (and often don't) notice it (except for the pain, which may seem mysterious, or seems to portend some serious disease).  That's the "amnesia" -- a change of muscle/movement memory -- and it may persist for decades.

"Sensory-Motor" merely means "the combination of movement and the sensation of that movement".

So, "Sensory-Motor Amnesia" is the loss of the memory of what free movement feels like (and ability to do it) -- and its replacement by altered sensation, movement and coordination.


The "tickle response" allows us to recover awareness of how our movements have changed; it's a first step to recovery from Sensory-Motor Amnesia, recovery of free movement, comfort, and fitness for activity.

Use it judiciously.  Save yourself some trouble in your assessments and get better results with your clients/patients.

an example of multi-contraction Sensory-Motor Amnesia (article on sciatica)

an example of a clinical somatic education procedure that involves a multi-contraction pandiculation
Notice the moment of "tickle".


Touched, Moved and Inspired

There is always the emergence
of unknown possibility
from the unknown,

persisting in being unknown
as it emerges
from the unknown
as an unknown,
into the apparently "known"
itself becoming known.

"Known" for a while, it undergoes changes

and finally,
becomes unknown, again, in the unknown.

When it first emerges
it is a sense of mere possibility
the seed of experience
an intuition
with a sense of zinging or pressing or vibrating into existence
felt even before thought of it
felt without knowledge of what it is.

The unknown is both the source of our condition
and our very condition, in the "very" now.

The "very" now
is not what most people take as,
"the now" or "the Now" or "The Now". (whatever.)
All of that now-ness is memory,
beginning in the apparently present moment
as short-term memory-in-action
(Yes, the "present" moment is the past. Perception is not immediate.)
and moving into long-term memory ("self" and all that is seemingly known, believed, held as possible, imagined, and remembered).
It's all memory.

The "very" now
is VOID,
the unknown unfolding of experience
 before we perceive or know it.
It is What we Don't Know We Don't Know
and all possibilities are the "not yet"
emerging and becoming known
as the full expression of experience
and then recorded as the tracings of memory.

But our first experience of experience
is a confrontation with the unknown.

With attention on the unknown
a confrontation with the unknown
bears fruit
in the form of an endless succession
of arrays and displays of experience,
dreams of events
that unfold in us
as us
and with us.

and non-being (or the Unknown that We Don't Know We Don't Know)
coincide in the emergence of new possibility,
first experienced, as "unknown".
New possibility is unknown, uninterpretable at first, but sensed.

Then, through actions that follow,
the new possibility, unknown,
takes form in our ordinary doing.

It becomes known through our speech,
through our choices, our actions
and in the events that occur to manifest a new possibility,
previously unknown,
now becoming known in terms of everything we have around us and everything that is us.

All said here must be tested
with oneself as the laboratory
to be distinctly ones experience,
rather than indistinctly so,
since it is the way "it" works, ordinarily
even without our conscious awareness of it.

The extra layer of intelligence beyond a life lived in default of responsibility
is one of intuiting the unknown-ness
of "the present, VOID"
as the context in which our known and present conditions (immediate short-term memory)

It is an act of intelligence to do so.

It is the opening of intelligence
to higher intelligence
the open space that Mystery,
or The Don't Know We Don't Know,
or the present VOIDNESS
leaves for emergence.

The body is the manifestation
in particular form
of a field we call, "mind"
-- attention, intention, memory and imagination
all manifested bodily.

The memories operating at any moment
conscious or sub-conscious
show up as the tensional set of the person,
posturally, muscularly, physiologically.

There are not "two" -- "mind"-and-"body".
What we perceive from within, we call, "mind".
What others perceive of us,
and what we look at and identify as ourselves,
what we can measure or size up,
we call, "body".

The body is like a musical instrument
whose physiology flows and moves in waves
along with movements of the thought-stream
that we call mind.

The ebb and flow of our physiology
tangibly manifests the flow of mind, emotion, and sensation
that we feel as our inner selves.

Our physiology tangibly holds our memories,
reflects the movements of the thought-stream,
and changes as emotions play out.

Our states of readiness to spring into action
stem from our "as if always, already knowning"
as if what happened is still happening.

The pain of "too much knowing", "too much readiness"
is too much tension, too much pre-determination,
too much believing that we know how things will turn out
and too much holding a steady readiness to act accordingly.

Our pains, emotional and often, physical,
stem from entrapment by memory.

Memory is not "mental"; it is somatic.
It involves the wholeness that is both the inner and the outer person.

Ways and means of  awakening or recovering
intuition of the present VOID, (or freedom),
of resting in uncertainty
that is What We Don't Know We Don't Know
-- are available --
and may be adapted to the "level" or domain
of the entrapment of memory
and may not look as expected
or like anything else associated with that domain.

The original, the new, is always unknown, at first.

Mainstreaming Hanna Somatic Education, part 3


Hanna Somatics can perhaps most readily merge into mainstream culture through five cultural streams:
  1. the military (including the Veterans' Administration Hospitals)
  2. elder care
  3. public education
  4. professional athletics
  5. nurses in standard medical settings
There's a relation among these five that we will eventually formulate.

For now, I just want to delineate each (the "differentiation") step;
later, we will fit them together (the "integration") step.  You may participate.


The Military
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.

Elder Care

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".

Public Education

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?)

Professional Athletics
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.


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.

four capacities "helpful" to mainstreaming somatics.

WHAT YOU CAN DO, NEXT: (options)
  1. 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.
  2. 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: