- Run water over your hands. …
- Move your body in ways that feel most comfortable to you. …
- Focus on your breathing while you control how you inhale and exhale. …
- Tense and relax different parts of your body. …
- Play a “categories” game with yourself.
- Body Scan- Calming. …
- Conscious Breathing- Calming. …
- Three-Dimensional Breathing- Calming. …
- Releasing Weight through Ideokinesis- Activating. …
- Re-Energizing through Tactile Activation- Activating. …
- Trigger Point Release with Props- Calming and Activating. …
- Freeing the Spine- Calming.
What massage modalities use Somatic Bodywork and what are the techniques used?
1. Rolfing Structural Integration: Rolfing is a method of bodywork that aims to reorganize and balance the body’s structure. Practitioners use deep tissue manipulation, myofascial release, and movement education to realign the body, release tension, and improve posture and overall movement patterns.
In-depth research and the science of Rolfing
Rolfing, also known as Rolfing Structural Integration, is a bodywork approach developed by Dr. Ida Rolf. While Rolfing has been practiced for several decades, scientific research on its specific effects is relatively limited. However, some studies and research areas provide insights into the potential mechanisms and outcomes of Rolfing. Here are some key points:
- Fascia Research: Rolfing focuses on manipulating the body’s connective tissues, particularly the fascia, to promote improved posture, movement, and overall structural alignment. Fascia is a complex network of collagenous fibers that envelops and supports muscles, bones, and organs. Emerging research on fascia has shed light on its role in force transmission, proprioception, and body mechanics, supporting the rationale behind Rolfing’s emphasis on manipulating fascial tissues.
- Body Awareness and Proprioception: Rolfing aims to enhance body awareness and proprioception, which is the ability to sense the position, orientation, and movement of one’s body in space. Studies have shown that body awareness and proprioception are crucial for optimal movement patterns, motor control, and injury prevention. Rolfing may contribute to improved body awareness through touch, movement education, and reorganization of the body’s structure.
- Pain and Musculoskeletal Function: While limited, some studies have explored the effects of Rolfing on pain reduction and musculoskeletal function. One study published in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies found that Rolfing significantly improved pain, range of motion, and functionality in individuals with chronic low back pain. Another study published in the European Journal of Integrative Medicine reported positive effects of Rolfing on pain, flexibility, and balance in older adults.
- Biomechanics and Movement Efficiency: Rolfing aims to optimize biomechanics and movement efficiency by aligning the body’s segments, releasing fascial restrictions, and rebalancing muscular tension. Although specific research on Rolfing’s impact on biomechanics is limited, studies on other bodywork approaches and movement therapies suggest that structural integration interventions can positively influence movement patterns, muscle activation, and efficiency.
It is important to note that while these studies provide insights into the potential effects of Rolfing, the research base is relatively small, and more rigorous scientific investigations are needed to establish its effectiveness and mechanisms of action. Additionally, individual responses to Rolfing can vary, and the practitioner’s skill and experience play a significant role in the outcomes.
2. Hakomi Bodywork: Hakomi is a body-centered psychotherapy that integrates touch and mindfulness techniques. It combines elements of bodywork, talk therapy, and somatic awareness to explore and work with unconscious patterns, beliefs, and emotions held within the body.
In-depth research on The Hakomi Way and the science of:
The Hakomi Method is a body-centered psychotherapy approach that integrates mindfulness, somatic awareness, and experiential techniques to explore and work with unconscious patterns, beliefs, and emotions. While there is limited scientific research specifically on the Hakomi Method, the principles and techniques it draws upon align with various fields of scientific inquiry. Let’s explore some relevant areas of research:
- Neuroscience and Brain Plasticity: The Hakomi Method recognizes the brain’s plasticity and its capacity for change. Research in neuroscience has shown that our brains can rewire and create new neural pathways throughout our lives. Mindfulness practices, such as those used in Hakomi, have been found to induce structural and functional changes in the brain, promoting emotional regulation, self-awareness, and resilience.
- Somatic Psychology and Trauma: Somatic psychology, which includes body-centered approaches like Hakomi, emphasizes the role of the body in trauma and healing. Research in the field of trauma psychology highlights how trauma is stored in the body and affects the nervous system. Somatic approaches can help individuals process and release trauma by engaging the body’s innate healing capacities.
- Mindfulness and Mental Health: Mindfulness practices, central to the Hakomi Method, have been extensively researched for their therapeutic benefits. Studies suggest that mindfulness can reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress, enhance emotional regulation, and improve overall well-being. Mindfulness-based interventions have also shown positive effects on physical health, cognitive functioning, and relationships.
- Embodied Cognition and Body-Mind Connection: The concept of embodied cognition suggests that our cognitive processes are deeply intertwined with bodily experiences and sensations. Research in this field supports the idea that our physical experiences influence our emotions, thoughts, and perceptions. Body-centered therapies like Hakomi leverage this body-mind connection to explore and work with the underlying dynamics that shape our experiences.
While the Hakomi Method may not have extensive scientific research specifically evaluating its effectiveness, the principles it draws upon align with well-established areas of scientific study. The integration of mindfulness, somatic awareness, and experiential techniques has shown promising results in related fields, such as neuroscience, trauma psychology, mindfulness-based interventions, and embodied cognition. These findings provide support for the potential efficacy of the Hakomi Method in facilitating personal growth, healing, and self-awareness.
3. Trauma-Informed Massage: This approach to massage therapy emphasizes creating a safe and supportive environment for individuals who have experienced trauma. Practitioners incorporate somatic techniques such as grounding exercises, slow and gentle touch, and empowering clients to have control over their session to facilitate healing and help clients reconnect with their bodies.
In-depth research and the science of Trauma-Informed Massage
A trauma-Informed Massage is an approach to massage therapy that recognizes the potential impact of trauma on an individual’s physical and emotional well-being. While specific research on Trauma-Informed Massage is limited, several areas of the scientific study shed light on the potential mechanisms and benefits of this approach. Here are some key points:
- Trauma and the Body: Research in the field of trauma psychology highlights the ways in which trauma can be stored in the body. Traumatic experiences can lead to physiological and neurological changes, including heightened arousal, hypervigilance, and alterations in pain perception. Trauma-Informed Massage aims to create a safe and supportive environment for individuals with trauma histories, acknowledging the potential triggers and sensitivities associated with touch.
- Effects of Massage on Stress and Relaxation: Numerous studies have investigated the effects of massage on stress reduction and relaxation. Massage therapy has been shown to decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol, increase levels of feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, and promote relaxation responses in the body. These effects can be particularly beneficial for individuals with a history of trauma, as they may experience heightened stress and anxiety.
- Mind-Body Connection and Emotional Regulation: Trauma-Informed Massage recognizes the mind-body connection and aims to support emotional regulation. Research suggests that touch-based therapies can positively influence emotional well-being and regulation. Massage can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, leading to a relaxation response and a reduction in anxiety and emotional distress.
- Safe Touch and Empowerment: Trauma-Informed Massage prioritizes client autonomy, consent, and boundaries. Research on trauma survivors emphasizes the importance of regaining a sense of safety and empowerment. By offering choices and control over the massage session, Trauma-Informed Massage can help individuals rebuild trust, establish boundaries, and develop a sense of agency in their bodies.
- Interdisciplinary Approaches: Trauma-Informed Massage often incorporates principles and techniques from trauma-informed care, trauma psychology, and somatic therapies. These interdisciplinary approaches draw on scientific research in various fields, including trauma studies, psychology, neuroscience, and bodywork modalities.
While there is limited research specifically on Trauma-Informed Massage, these areas of scientific study provide a foundation for understanding the potential benefits of creating safe and supportive touch experiences for individuals with trauma histories. It is essential for massage therapists practicing Trauma-Informed Massage to undergo appropriate training, engage in ongoing professional development, and collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive trauma-informed care.
4. Somatic Experiencing®: Somatic Experiencing is a trauma resolution therapy that focuses on releasing the effects of trauma stored in the body. Practitioners use gentle touch, awareness of bodily sensations, and guided movement to support the nervous system’s natural healing processes and restore a sense of safety and regulation.
5. Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy: This gentle, hands-on therapy focuses on the subtle movements and rhythms of the craniosacral system, which includes the brain, spinal cord, and surrounding membranes. Practitioners use a light touch to listen to and facilitate the body’s inherent healing forces, aiming to release restrictions and restore balance.
These are just a few examples of massage modalities that incorporate somatic bodywork principles. Techniques used in somatic bodywork can vary widely depending on the modality and the practitioner’s training and expertise. Some common techniques include gentle touch, deep tissue manipulation, myofascial release, joint mobilization, energy work, breathwork, movement exploration, and guided awareness of bodily sensations. The specific techniques used will depend on the goals of the session, the needs of the client, and the approach of the practitioner.
The use of ice for injuries has been a subject of debate within the scientific community, with differing viewpoints regarding its effectiveness and potential drawbacks. Here is a summary of some research findings related to the use of icing for injuries:
- Reducing inflammation: Ice application is commonly believed to help reduce inflammation and swelling in the acute stage of an injury. Cold therapy can constrict blood vessels, decrease blood flow, and limit the release of inflammatory substances. This can potentially reduce the initial swelling and provide pain relief.
- Controversies on inflammation: However, recent research suggests that inflammation is a crucial part of the healing process. Some studies propose that the initial inflammatory response plays a vital role in tissue repair and regeneration. By inhibiting inflammation with icing, it is possible that the natural healing process could be disrupted or delayed.
- Delayed recovery: A systematic review published in the Journal of Athletic Training in 2013 found limited evidence supporting the use of ice for acute soft tissue injuries. The review concluded that icing may delay the overall recovery process, hinder tissue regeneration, and potentially impair muscle performance.
- Individual response and injury type: The effectiveness of icing may vary depending on factors such as the type and location of the injury, the individual’s response to cold therapy, and the stage of the healing process. Different tissues and injuries may respond differently to ice application.
- Alternatives and individualized approach: Some experts suggest alternative strategies, such as progressive loading, early movement, and appropriate rehabilitation exercises, as more beneficial for injury recovery compared to relying solely on ice therapy. An individualized approach, considering the specific injury and the patient’s response, is recommended.
It is important to note that while there is ongoing debate and evolving perspectives on the use of icing for injuries, cold therapy continues to be used in certain cases for pain relief and to manage acute swelling. However, the appropriateness and duration of icing should be based on professional advice, considering the specific injury, individual factors, and the latest research.
To ensure optimal care, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or sports medicine specialist who can assess your injury, provide personalized recommendations, and consider the most current scientific evidence.
In-depth research and the science of Somatic Psychotherapy
Somatic Psychotherapy is an approach to therapy that emphasizes the integration of the mind and body in understanding and treating psychological distress and promoting overall well-being. It recognizes the interconnectedness of bodily sensations, emotions, and cognitive processes, considering the body as a primary resource for healing and growth. While it is a rich and evolving field, let’s explore some of the key concepts and research related to Somatic Psychotherapy:
- Embodied experience: Somatic Psychotherapy recognizes that our thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations are intertwined and influence each other. Research in neuroscience and embodied cognition supports the idea that our bodily experiences shape our emotions and cognition.
- Trauma and the body: Somatic approaches are particularly effective in addressing trauma-related issues. Trauma can be stored in the body and manifest as physical symptoms, chronic pain, or psychological distress. Research suggests that somatic interventions, such as sensorimotor psychotherapy and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), can help regulate the nervous system and resolve trauma-related symptoms.
- Polyvagal theory: Developed by neuroscientist Stephen Porges, polyvagal theory highlights the role of the autonomic nervous system in responding to stress and trauma. It explains how the body’s physiological states influence emotional experiences and social interactions. Somatic approaches often incorporate interventions to regulate the autonomic nervous system, promoting a sense of safety and well-being.
The Polyvagal Theory, developed by neuroscientist Dr. Stephen Porges, provides a framework for understanding the complex interplay between the autonomic nervous system (ANS), social engagement, and our responses to stress and trauma. Here is an exploration of the in-depth research and science behind the Polyvagal Theory:
Autonomic Nervous System (ANS): The ANS is responsible for regulating physiological processes in our body, including our response to stress. It comprises two branches: the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), associated with the “fight-or-flight” response, and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), which includes the ventral vagal complex (VVC) and the dorsal vagal complex (DVC).
Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) is the part of the nervous system responsible for the control of the bodily functions not consciously directed, such as breathing, the heartbeat, and the digestive process.
- The Vagal System: The vagus nerve, the longest cranial nerve, plays a crucial role in the Polyvagal Theory. It consists of multiple branches, including the ventral vagus, responsible for the social engagement system, and the dorsal vagus, involved in immobilization responses. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vagus_nerve
- Social Engagement System: The Polyvagal Theory emphasizes the importance of the social engagement system in regulating stress responses and supporting social interactions. The ventral vagal pathway enables us to connect with others, communicate, and feel safe. When activated, it dampens the SNS response.
- Defense Mechanisms: The theory describes two defense systems: mobilization and immobilization. The mobilization system is associated with fight-or-flight responses, while the immobilization system is linked to freeze or shutdown responses.
- Impact of Trauma: Traumatic experiences can disrupt the regulation of the ANS and social engagement system, leading to difficulties in emotion regulation, social interactions, and physical health. The Polyvagal Theory provides insights into understanding trauma responses and offers interventions to regulate the ANS.
- Clinical Applications: The Polyvagal Theory has influenced various therapeutic modalities and interventions, including trauma-focused therapies like Somatic Experiencing and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). These approaches aim to regulate the autonomic nervous system, support the social engagement system, and promote healing from trauma.
- Research Evidence: Numerous studies have examined and supported the concepts of the Polyvagal Theory. Research suggests that interventions targeting the vagal system, such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness practices, and social engagement activities, can enhance emotional regulation, reduce anxiety, and improve well-being.
The Polyvagal Theory provides a comprehensive framework for understanding the intricate connections between the autonomic nervous system, social behavior, and responses to stress and trauma. It has significant implications for trauma treatment, emotion regulation, and overall mental and physical well-being.
4. Mind-body connection and well-being: Studies have shown that practices involving mind-body connection, such as mindfulness, yoga, and body-oriented therapies, can enhance mental health and well-being. These practices promote self-awareness, emotional regulation, and resilience by cultivating present-moment awareness and integrating body-based experiences.
5. Neuroplasticity and change: Research on neuroplasticity reveals that the brain has the ability to reorganize and change throughout our lives. Somatic interventions that engage the body and sensory experiences can create new neural pathways, leading to lasting changes in perception, behavior, and emotional regulation.
6. Efficacy and effectiveness: Several studies have explored the effectiveness of somatic approaches. For example, research on somatic experiencing therapy has shown positive outcomes in reducing symptoms of PTSD. Additionally, studies on body-oriented interventions, such as dance/movement therapy and yoga, have demonstrated their benefits for various mental health conditions.
It’s important to note that while the field of Somatic Psychotherapy is supported by research and clinical evidence, the specific techniques and interventions used may vary across different modalities and therapists. Somatic Psychotherapy is often integrated with other therapeutic approaches to create a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to each individual’s unique needs and goals.
“It’s a treatment focusing on the body and how emotions appear within the body,” Baker explains. “Somatic therapies posit that our body holds and expresses experiences and emotions, and traumatic events or unresolved emotional issues can become ‘trapped’ inside.”
These practices allow you to access more information about the ways you hold on to your experiences in your body. Somatic experts believe this knowledge, combined with natural movement and touch, can help you work toward healing and wellness.
Thomas Hanna, an educator in the field, coined the term in 1970 to describe a number of techniques that share one important similarity: They help people increase bodily awareness through a combination of movement and relaxation.
While somatic practices have become increasingly popular in the Western world over the last 50 years, many of them draw from ancient Eastern philosophy and healing practices, including tai chi and qi gong.
- Body-Mind Centering.
- Alexander technique.
- Feldenkrais method.
- Laban movement analysis.
Are you considering somatic experiencing therapy or EMDR therapy for your mental health? It can be difficult to decide which treatment option is best for you, so it is important to understand the similarities and differences between these two approaches. In this blog post, we will explore the basics of somatic experiencing and EMDR therapy, and compare the two modalities so that you can make an informed decision about which is right for you.
What is Somatic Experiencing Therapy?
Somatic Experiencing Therapy (SET) is an integrative therapeutic approach developed by Dr. Peter Levine, a pioneer in the field of trauma therapy. SET focuses on the body-mind connection and how feelings and experiences become embedded in the physical body. It is a powerful and effective tool for healing from psychological and physical trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, addiction, and many other mental health issues.
SET is based on the belief that unresolved trauma can cause lasting physical and emotional pain. Through a variety of techniques, such as guided breathing, body awareness, and mindfulness, SET helps people to access and process their suppressed feelings and move through the healing process. It teaches the body to “release” its frozen trauma energy, allowing for deep and lasting healing. SET also helps to restore balance to the nervous system, allowing people to cope better with stressful events and emotions.
What is EMDR Therapy?
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a psychotherapy technique that has been used to treat mental health issues since the 1990s. It is based on the idea that traumatic memories can be reprocessed, allowing people to move forward with their lives in a healthier and more positive way. EMDR works by stimulating the brain’s natural healing processes. During treatment, a therapist will guide the client through recalling painful memories while engaging in a set of eye movements or other forms of rhythmic stimulation. This is done in order to access stored information related to the memory and process it so it no longer causes distress. It can be an effective tool for dealing with anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, panic attacks, phobias, and more.
Similarities Between the Two Therapies
Both somatic experiencing therapy and EMDR therapy are evidence-based practices used to treat mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, PTSD, and more. Both therapies are focused on helping the client to gain insight into their feelings and emotions and the way they experience them in their body. Through this process, both forms of therapy aim to help the client to gain a greater understanding of themselves and the experiences they’ve been through, as well as to learn coping skills to better manage their mental health.
Additionally, both therapies have an emphasis on developing awareness of the body and its sensations in order to better understand how emotions and trauma are stored within it. Somatic Experiencing and EMDR both involve physical activities such as grounding techniques, mindfulness exercises, and body scans in order to reduce the intensity of symptoms and enhance emotional regulation. Furthermore, both therapies are designed to be short-term treatments that help the client quickly overcome their mental health issues so that they can return to their daily life.
Differences Between the Two Therapies
When it comes to mental health treatments, there are a variety of options available. Two popular therapies that have been used to effectively treat trauma and stress-related disorders are Somatic Experiencing Therapy (SET) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). While these two treatments have similarities, they also have differences that should be considered when determining which type of therapy may be best for you.
The most prominent difference between SET and EMDR is the length of the treatment sessions. With SET, the goal is to focus on resolving one specific issue during each session, so the sessions are typically shorter in duration. On the other hand, EMDR focuses on several issues simultaneously, so each session can last up to two hours.
SET and EMDR also differ in how they approach the patient’s mental health issues. SET focuses on the patient’s bodily sensations and emotions, while EMDR focuses on the patient’s thoughts and beliefs. SET is based on the idea that unresolved physical sensations and emotions can be processed and released through gradual exposure and understanding. EMDR, on the other hand, uses bilateral stimulation in order to shift negative thought patterns and behaviors.
Another difference between the two therapies is that SET is a less directive approach. The therapist works together with the patient to explore what is being experienced in the body and to gradually move toward resolution. EMDR is a more directive approach, where the therapist provides instruction to the patient regarding what needs to be done in order to process the memories and feelings related to the trauma or stress disorder.
Finally, SET is a much slower process than EMDR. This can be beneficial for some patients who need more time to explore their experiences in order to make sense of them. For others who need more immediate results, EMDR can be more effective due to its quicker pace.
When it comes to choosing between Somatic Experiencing Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing for your mental health treatment, it’s important to consider all of the differences outlined above. Depending on your individual needs and goals, one approach may be more suitable than the other. It’s always best to consult with a professional to determine which type of therapy will be most beneficial for you.
Which Therapy is Right for You?
Choosing between Somatic Experiencing Therapy and EMDR Therapy can be a difficult decision, especially when you are trying to decide which type of therapy is right for your specific needs. Both therapies have been effective in treating various mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety. To help you make an informed decision, it is important to consider both the similarities and differences between the two therapies.
When choosing between Somatic Experiencing Therapy and EMDR Therapy, it is important to assess your individual needs and preferences. Somatic Experiencing Therapy is a body-focused approach that focuses on helping clients become more aware of their physical sensations and process the emotions associated with them. This type of therapy can be particularly beneficial for people who are looking for a slower-paced approach that emphasizes self-reflection and exploration. On the other hand, EMDR Therapy is a more direct approach that relies on rapid eye movements to help people reprocess traumatic memories and experiences. This type of therapy may be better suited for people who are looking for a more immediate solution to their mental health issues.
Ultimately, it is important to find the therapy that best fits your individual needs and goals. Talking to a licensed mental health professional can help you determine which type of therapy is right for you. They will be able to provide insight into the different approaches and help you choose a therapy that will work best for your particular situation.
- Physical Trauma. Experiencing a physically traumatic event such as a car accident or brain injury can cause physical, emotional, and psychological distress. …
- Emotional Trauma. The body stores trauma. …
- Addiction. …
- Anxiety. …
- Grief. …
- Cognitive processing therapy. Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) is a common therapy option for healing trauma. …
- Prolonged exposure therapy. …
- EMDR. …
- Somatic Experiencing (SE™) …
- Certain types of talk therapy. …
- A movement practice.
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*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.