There are so many options for teaching muscles to relax. How do I know which one to choose? I've been a massage therapist for 24 years. I still occasionally give massages, though my practice is primarily Hanna Somatics. Recently one of my massage clients told me, "I'm finally able to sit cross-legged. After 10 sessions of _____ my legs are actually beginning to relax." Beginning to relax... after 10 sessions?! Now, I'm not going to tell you which method she's doing, because I really don't like to disparage any one approach. However, when it comes to chronic pain or postural imbalances, Hanna Somatics is just about the most effective method available. Our expertise is in teaching you to recognize and reverse your Sensory Motor Amnesia (the root cause of most chronic muscle pain), and it works from the inside-out.
Myth: pain-relief takes time
I use to be a frequent visitor to my favorite Rolfer. I once believed that relaxing muscles and "fixing" chronic pain required a lot of time and that someone had to act upon my muscles from the outside to get them to relax. Most Rolfers ask for a 10-session commitment. They are taught that slowly, but surely, muscles will relax and structure will realign once fascia is relaxed around the muscles. Many massage therapists believe that weekly massages for long periods of time can get rid of muscle spasms. Even more physical therapists and doctors will say that back pain requires visits three times a week for sometimes up to 4 months! Fortunately, from a Somatic Education point of view, I know this to be false. My clinical experience tells me otherwise.
When you understand how muscles are controlled by the brain and the nervous system and how muscles can learn to stay habitually contracted it changes the game plan. When muscles become "frozen" in Sensory Motor Amnesia, the brain literally forgets how to relax the muscles. The muscles must be retrained from within. Machines, weights, kneading, and injections will not change the state of an involuntarily tight muscle.
Long-term pain relief starts now
Through active participation and the technique of pandiculation, muscles can change their contracted state in minutes. Through daily practice your muscles can stay balanced and coordinated for the long term. Forget 10 sessions - how about only 4 or 5 - and sometimes even less. When you experience the rapid change in sensory motor control and self-awareness that you can achieve in one or two clinical sessions of Hanna Somatics, it can change your life and your perspective.
My client who has gone to 10 sessions of _____ could have achieved the same results in 3 sessions of Somatics. She could also relax her contracted shoulders which are out of balance. Once she did that she could go to _____ and get strong and conditioned more effectively.
Want to keep doing the things you love? Try Somatics.
Once muscles have been reset at the brain level, and your body and movement are balanced and symmetrical, then you can go off and enjoy all the myriad disciplines out there that are fun to do. You'll enjoy your massage more thoroughly, you'll get more out of your weight training, yoga, Pilates, running, or whatever else you love to do.
The commitment to keeping yourself feeling good is yours. I wrote a blog post about how good health is a long-term commitment. It doesn't take long to learn to relax muscles and rid yourself of pain. It takes a lifetime of awareness and joyful movement, however, to keep yourself feeling good. And that, my friends, is free.