What is Somatic Movement Therapy and Education?

Somatic processes re-educate the neuromuscular system toward greater health and well-being. Somatic therapists use hands-on movement techniques for this purpose and also teach simple movement sequences that can be practiced at home or in groups. Through somatic movement education people learn relaxing motions, and postural awareness to:

  • Manage Stress
  • Relieve Back Pain
  • Breathe More Freely
  • Soften Stiff Neck and Shoulders
  • Reduce Joint and TMJ Discomfort
  • Improve Flexibility and Coordination
  • Perform Favorite Activities with Greater Ease
  • Heal from Trauma to the Neuromuscular System
  • Speed Recuperation after Illness or Surgery

Some somatic therapists will also include practical meditation techniques and visualizations to access the wisdom of the body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness, and to enhance the functioning of the body's immune system.

Some of the most well-known somatic therapeutic re-education techniques are: Feldenkrais® Method, Alexander Technique, Body-Mind Centering, Aston Movement Patterning, Rosen Breathwork, and Eastwest Shin Somatics®. All of these have programs leading to certification. Somatic therapy training programs will typically involve from 500 to 1000 hours of study for certification. Adjunct healing techniques often studied by somatic probationers are CranioSacral Therapy and Myofascial Release. These also have programs leading to certification, but somatic therapists may integrate simple effective craniosacral and myofascial techniques in their practice with specially designed workshops.

Modalities from Dance Movement Therapy, such as Authentic Movement (a psychosomatic therapeutic evolved by Mary Whitehouse), may also be utilized in somatic bodywork by practitioners with a dance background. Psycho-somatic processes are sometimes employed. Of the programs mentioned above, Eastwest Somatics for Dance and Movement Studies featuring Shin Somatics® Certification is the only program that includes dance as a major component of study in relation to somatic practices.

Shin Somatics® is a unique somatic practice influenced by Feldenkrais®, Yoga, Japanese Butoh, Dance Movement Therapy, Movement Imagery, and Effective Communication. Eastwest Shin Somatics® certification is a 720 hour program. See the Certification link for specific information on class structure. See Levels and Requirements Summary for outline of seven levels and required hours.

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