I just read an article in the New York Times about Dr. Vijay Vad, a sports medicine specialist from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. He is a doctor who believes in the "power of the mind-body connection" and who sees yoga, exercise, and other alternatives as positives strategies for pain relief. This is truly good news! With Hanna Somatics I see firsthand how chronic muscle pain can be reversed when the client understands how the brain controls the muscles, and how one's emotional and psychological habits affect one's muscles. He said something, however, that I firmly disagree with: when asked whether or not one needs to be willing to "get worse in order to get rid of pain eventually?" he responded that yes, when it comes to exercises sometimes you have to be willing to deal with getting worse before you get better; that's called "pain desensitization." I don't exactly know what kind of exercises Dr. Vad is referring to, but I teach a method to relieve back pain, neck and shoulder pain and other chronic muscular dysfunctions in which there isn't any "pain desensitization."
The pain doesn't have to get worse before getting better.
Hanna Somatic Education teaches you to relax muscles that have become so tight that nothing you do relaxes them for the long term. It teaches you to use the sensory and motor tracks of your brain to reset and lengthen chronically tight muscles and move - from the inside out - more efficiently. It's a process of improving the functioning of those tight, painful muscles so that your exercise or yoga is more effective. You gain awareness, control and balance through gentle, easy movements that anyone can do. After doing Hanna Somatic Exercises, some people report soreness (because, after all, they're relaxing tight, "frozen" muscles and using them in a way they haven't in a long time), but rarely pain. If you're experiencing pain, then you're doing something wrong.
I have seen people relax tight back muscles in one hour of gentle movement and report relief that chiropractors, physical therapists, and massage therapists couldn't achieve. The best thing about it is that they were the ones improving their own bodies and muscular function. You improve muscle function, reverse chronic pain patterns and improve posture, all through a pain free series of gentle movements. Nothing painful or difficult about it.