About Hanna Somatic Education

What is Hanna Somatic Education (HSE)?

Hanna Somatic Education (also known as Clinical Somatics) is a safe, gentle and common sense approach to eliminating chronic muscle pain and improving movement for the long term.  It is scientifically-based sensory motor training that teaches you how most chronic muscle pain develops, and what to do to restore full nervous system control of both muscles and movement. The end result is improved awareness, balance and control, as well as efficiency and joy of movement. You learn to reverse the root cause of most chronic muscle pain - the way in which you have unconsciously adapted to the stresses of your life - so you can prevent pain and movement limitation in the future. 

Who created HSE?

Thomas Hanna, PhD developed Hanna Somatic Education over the course of two decades of work in the field of Somatic Education. He began as a Feldenkrais practitioner, and developed his own method of Somatic Education after studying neurology at the University of Miami Medical School. It was there that he did research into the muscular ways in which all humans respond to stress reflexes and how these full body reflexes can habituate at the level of the central nervous system, causing muscular pain that contributes to many common pain conditions.

How can HSE help me?

HSE goes to the root of most chronic muscular pain: the brain. To understand how to eliminate your pain, it is important to understand what causes it in the first place. Sensory Motor Amnesia (SMA) is the condition of chronically tight muscles that develops due to accidents, injuries, surgeries, and on-going stress. These muscles have learned to remain "stuck" and contracted due to messages from your brain. They simply won't let go. Because the brain controls the muscles, it must also be involved in teaching them to relax, release and remember how to move easily and efficiently again. 

What sets HSE apart from other methods of pain relief?

While most pain relief methods—such as physical therapy, massage therapy, surgery, stretching, acupuncture or drugs—focus on the one specific area of pain (e.g. the neck, hip, shoulder, back), HSE understands that pain in one part of the body is part of a larger pattern of muscular dysfunction. HSE is not passive therapy. HSE not only teaches you Somatic Exercises (pandiculations) to retrain your brain, but also teaches you to be aware of how stress affects your body and what your body’s postural adaptation and habits are. There are three full body stress reflex patterns that are reflective of typical responses to stress: green light reflex, red light reflex, and trauma reflex.

Benefits of HSE include:

  • Long term pain relief from many common muscle pain conditions.
  • Lifelong skills that teach you how to regain voluntary control of habitually tight muscles.
  • Greater physical independence and mastery of your movement.
  • Increased flexibility, energy, coordination, balance and proprioception.
  • A safe, easy and common sense alternative to drugs and surgery.

which conditions can hse help me eliminate?

  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Neck, shoulder and back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Hip, knee and foot pain
  • Sacroiliac Dysfunction
  • Repetitive use injuries
  • Poor posture
  • Headaches
  • Accident traumas and whiplash
  • Breathing problems
  • Frozen shoulder syndrome
  • Temperomandibular Joint Dysfunction

Click here for more information on how to start learning to move pain-free.

Summary

  • HSE focuses on FULL BODY PATTERNS of muscular contraction, rather than just focusing on one area of pain. Tightness in the center of the body translates to tightness in the periphery (hip, knee, foot, neck).
  • HSE is ACTIVE, NOT PASSIVE. Physical therapy, massage, trigger point therapy, and other methods, confer temporary pain relief because they are passive. The client is being worked on. Habitually contracted muscles are held tightly at the brain level. Therefore, only the client can change what his or her muscles are doing through active participation, guidance with a skilled practitioner and practice on one's own. Only you can "fix" yourself!
  • HSE is EDUCATION - clients are taught specific skills that improve one's ability to be self-sense, self-adjust and self-correct so they move, pain-free, with increased mobility, balance and coordination.
  • The technique of PANDICULATION - This restore muscle length, sensation, and function at the brain level.
 
I’ve had hip and low back problems for the last 10 years. I’ve been doing your Somatics DVD for a week and am getting great results!
— G.P., California