you can change it”
Clinical Somatic Education, CSE, (also known as Hanna Somatic Education) is the study and application of our bodies as constantly adaptive beings. It is a method of proprioceptive movement awareness and pain relief that was developed by Thomas Hanna.
Throughout our lives, we gain experience that is processed by our bodies in various ways. It could be constant stress, a sudden injury or accident, or surgery that habituates certain unhealthy muscular patterns. These muscular patterns can also lead to, or be caused by, disorders such as osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, scoliosis, or sciatica. Not all habituated muscular patterns are unhealthy, we need to establish patterns in our central nervous system to be able to ride bikes, pick up a fork to place food in our mouths, and perform all of our daily tasks. But when they begin to cause pain or lead to other physical ailments interfering with our lives, this is when they become a problem. We often think our aches and pains as an unavoidable effect of growing old when they are due simply to experience gained through life, which can be gained at any point of our lives. 20 year olds could have just as much lower back pain as a 60 year old, and a 60 year old could be as flexible and spry as they were in their 20s.
CSE directly addresses sensory motor amnesia (SMA). SMA can occur at any age, but it usually begins when we are in our 30s and 40s. Through gentle, basic exercises and pandiculations, SMA can be reversed, muscle pain can be relieved, and injury can be prevented.
There are various ways CSE can help release chronically held muscles. The most efficient way is to work privately with a practitioner. In a private session, the practitioner will help the client identify the problem areas, and work with them to release those areas by focusing on contracting and then slowly releasing those muscle groups. The goal of the practitioner is to give the client necessary tools to help themselves when they go home, so there is no need for repeated private sessions.
Another way CSE can help is by attending group classes. Group classes offer basic exercises for maintaining all over body health. Classes vary, focusing on particular parts of the body, such as shoulders or hips, or could be more generalized, working with all the major muscles groups of the body.
The third way CSE can help with chronic muscular pain is using books or tapes at home. Like group classes, tapes offer a range of focus. The book “Somatics: Reawakening the Mind’s Control of Flexibility and Health” by Thomas Hanna has a series of basic daily “cat stretch” exercises that are somatic essentials for maintaining a healthy, flexible body. The book can be purchased through the website above or any bookstore. A private session or group class is recommended in order to understand the specifics of the exercises.