About Essential Somatics®


Essential Somatics® was founded in 2010 by Martha Peterson, CCSE, as a solo practice teaching clinical sessions, classes, and workshops. As a former professional dancer, Martha’s career was cut short due to injuries and chronic muscle pain. What followed were careers in massage therapy and Dance Education. Yet all the “body” and movement knowledge she had acquired did not provide long-term solutions to her recurring hip pain. It was the work of Thomas Hanna and the simple science of brain plasticity that taught her to restore the movement lost to her through the cumulative effects of stress. Martha learned to relieve her pain, and returned to an active, movement-filled life. She learned how the circumstances of one’s life do not have to dictate how one feels or moves.

The mission of Essential Somatics is to help people learn to move with mastery and joy. We are dedicated to educating those whose goal is to reclaim their freedom of movement and live a life of self-awareness, firmly empowered in the present.

In 2011, with the publication of her book, Move Without Pain, word began to spread about Essential Somatics and the work of the late Somatic pioneer, Thomas Hanna. Her book was written in the hopes that others might learn that their aches and pains, muscle pain conditions and lack of mobility were not the result of their age, but of the nature of their habits. With scientific information about how our brain and body work together, and expert guidance, anyone can feel good in their body again. Soon Martha was teaching overseas, and the expansion of Essential Somatics grew rapidly. 

Throughout the years Essential Somatics has evolved. Originally founded in the work of Thomas Hanna and his mentor Moshe Feldenkrais, it has evolved to incorporate perspectives from the areas of trauma research, ontological coaching, and developmental movement. As the Soma develops, so does Essential Somatics. What remains constant is the highest caliber of instruction from teachers who themselves continue to learn and grow so they can help others reverse the effects of chronic stress and move the best version of themselves possible.

We have grown from a small solo practice to a team of highly skilled and devoted Clinical Somatic Educators who teach multi-day introductory courses, professional clinical certification trainings, and embodied movement for corporate leadership. The trainings Essential Somatics provides are now offered in the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Europe. The teachings of Somatic Education have helped thousands of people worldwide to return to a more vibrant life of movement, self-agency, and awareness.