When we say we are head over heels, we are saying we feel the elation of spirit and a deep alignment of self through our relationships with others. In somatics, the physical alignment of having the head over the heels is not just sexy, it might save your life. Where our mind goes, our body follows. But it isn’t just mind before body — it’s mind in body, as there is this wonderful relationship between the two and when tapped in, tuned in, and turned on, remarkable experiences can happen no matter how long someone has had a problem.
This is true for every human transaction we experience. The relationships we have in our lives are of paramount importance, be they relationships between family members, among friends, or with our peers. But the relationship between our mind and our body is the most essential relationship we will ever have. The key to balance, in both cases, is maintaining the ability of the brain to sense the orientation of the body in space — and physically, to maintain an upright stance, with the head reflexively postured above the heels. Not just a cosmic nod to bliss, head over heels, physically and metaphorically, is a core element in the science of somatic education.
What is Somatics?
It is a methodology of healing and recovery based around freedom of movement. After an accident or injury, the body can develop chronic pain or mobility issues which diminish the quality of life of the individual who is suffering from them. With somatics, the neuromuscular pathways are retrained in order to improve the way the brain interprets and forwards signals to the muscles within the body.
Through a combination of anatomy, gait, and the psychology of movement, manual therapy and patterns of movement are used in order to move past any roadblocks to healing. Traditional physical therapy is often concerned with flexibility and mobility, while somatics has a focus on neurological retraining and education. Our clients become more aware of their bodies, which promotes natural healing in order to improve performance and alleviate injury and stress.
How Can Somatics5 Help?
It can help in a variety of ways, from the alleviation of pain to improved performance in sports. Chronic pain is one of the most prominent illnesses in the United States. With more and more people suffering, there is a significant need for alternatives to traditional pain management through medication. Somatics6 plays a key role in pain management and control. Additionally, it provides a means through which the damage done by constant sitting and idle movement can be turned from a net negative to a net positive.
It all begins, however, with head over heels: the deep sense of connected joy to oneself creates conscious alignment — the spiritual medicine we need to manifest physical healing. For the body, a proper posture to begin with is the key to balance and alignment. Balance is the key to alleviating falls or the risk of falls, both of which are adverse to good health. For the mind, balance can help keep us grounded in consciousness and connected on a deeper level to our bodies and emotions, which fosters fluidity of movement.
Delving deeper into somatics8 provides education on self-image, movement patterns, and the exploration of movement from both an emotional and a physical standpoint.
Additionally, somatics9 can assist with the study of gait. How we walk plays a huge role in our emotional and physical wellbeing. The study of walking patterns and the characteristics of gait are the first steps to improving it. And if our bodies are going to follow our minds, we should be fully aligned to walk the path to a true symbiotic relationship of mind, body, and spirit.
Carol is a physical therapist, a co-creator of Integral Human Gait theory, a certified Feldenkrais practitioner, and a Senior Trainer in Movement Intelligence. Focus, Align, Teach and Inspire! These qualities not only describe her work, but they also describe her presence. She is passionate when it comes to reconnecting learning with human function and health. Carol is in private practice at MontgomerySomatics.com in Columbus, Indiana.