Clinical Somatic Education (CSE)

Safe and gentle movement-based approach to reducing chronic muscle pain and tension.

Clinical Somatic Education (CSE)

Safe and gentle movement-based approach to reducing chronic muscle pain and tension

CSE is the only scientifically-based sensory motor training that teaches you how and why muscle tension develops and what you can do about it. CSE teaches you life-long skills that improve your ability to self-sense, self-monitor, and self-correct. You will be empowered to take care of yourself instead of relying on others.

Which Conditions Can CSE Help Me With?

  • RJoint and muscle pain
  • RNeck, shoulder and back pain
  • RSciatica
  • RSacroiliac Joint Pain
  • RHip, knee and foot pain
  • RSacroiliac dysfunction
  • RRepetitive use injuries
  • RPostural imbalances
  • RPlantar Fasciitis
  • RTension headaches
  • RAccident traumas and whiplash
  • RBreathing problems
  • RAnxiety
  • RFrozen shoulder syndrome
  • RTemporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ)

What is Clinical Somatic Education (CSE)?

The Reflexes

An understanding of how stress impacts us

Stress impacts us in physically predictable patterns of muscle tension. There’s stress that causes us to move forwards and achieve (green light reflex), stress that causes us to slow down (red light) and protect ourselves and stress caused by accidents or injuries (physical trauma).


An explanation of why pain develops

Every time we experience stress, we experience muscle tension. If we keep experiencing stress, we keep experiencing muscle tension. This muscle tension can therefore become a habit and this means we are no longer aware that it’s there. This results in Sensory Motor Amnesia – we forget (Amnesia) how to sense (Sensory) and move (Motor) in an efficient way.


A solution

SMA can be overcome by restoring the brain’s control over our movement. This is achieved using pandiculation, a highly effective technique in releasing muscle tension. It might sound like a big word, but we all do it already when we indulge in a luxurious yawn. This is a great example of a pandiculation that resets our muscles and prepares us to get up and go. When we release tension we restore freedom of movement, and our world opens up!

Who created Clinical Somatic Education?

Clinical Somatic Education (also known as Hanna Somatic Education) was developed by Thomas Hanna, PhD, a philosopher and founder of the field of “somatics.” Hanna was Chairman of Philosophy at the University of Florida in 1970 when he met Moshe Feldenkrais, whose movement practice complemented Hanna’s own philosophy of somatology. Hanna trained as a Feldenkrais practitioner and practiced for 20 years, continuing to develop his unique postural theory and sensory motor training. He founded the Novato Institute for Somatic Research and Training in 1975 with Eleanor Criswell Hanna, where he taught until his death in 1990. His work with thousands of clients and students offered him the opportunity to develop his unique sensory motor training method based on observation of the unique muscle holding patterns his clients presented. His methods, which became known as Clinical Somatic Education, teach people to become more readily aware of their own particular patterns of muscle tension (reflex patterns) and to utilize pandiculation and movement to discover more efficient ways to move and function.

What’s different about CSE?

Full Body Approach

The focus is on holistic patterns of muscular contraction (reflex patterns), rather than just one area of pain. You are a system!

Active Participation

Muscles are tight because the brain is telling them to be tight. A skilled practitioner will guide you, but it’s you who’s making the changes. Only you can “fix” yourself!


You will learn to become aware of how your physical habits and reflexive responses to stress, patterns of compensation, emotions, and mindset are all interconnected and how they manifest physically.


The main technique used in CSE to restore muscle length, sensation, and function by working with the nervous system.

Benefits of CSE

A regular somatic movement practice will take you on a journey of discovery, helping you to connect better with yourself, improve your health and allow you to go on feeling better for longer. Here are just a few of the reasons to start practicing today.

Relieve Chronic Pain and Tension

Feel Empowered to Care for Yourself

Understand Your Body Better

Do the Things You Love to Do

Improve Flexibility and Coordination

Increase Energy

Restore Balance

Calm Your Nervous System

The Do’s and Don’ts of Somatic Movement


  • REnjoy yourself! A daily practice should be relaxing and enjoyable.
  • RTake your time. Make every movement like a yawn.
  • RClear your space of clutter and distraction.
  • RDo your movements every day.
  • RListen to your body. Notice where there is tension, pain, etc. as your do your movements.
  • RStop if you experience discomfort.
  • RDo only as much as is comfortable for you.
  • RStart with movements for the center before moving to your periphery.
  • RPay equal attention to both sides of your body to ensure balance throughout.
  • RSeek help or guidance from a CCSE if you feel stuck with a movement, think you’re doing a movement incorrectly, or feel like you’re making no progress in addressing your muscle tension.


  • Use your Somatic Movement practice as a “spot treatment.” It might feel OK at the moment, but it will not create lasting results.
  • Rush! There is no winner if you are racing yourself through your practice.
  • Ignore pain.
  • Overdo it. If you feel tired or need a rest after a couple of movements, honor that!
  • Get yourself down if you don’t see immediate improvement—releasing muscle tension is a process that requires commitment.
  • Combine Somatic Movement with other modalities if you are new to it!

Start Here

FREE Mini Course

Whether you’re new to Essential Somatics® or you’d like a little refresher – this is the course for you.

Here’s what you’re going to learn:

  • How persistent stress, not “aging,” contributes to pain and stiffness over time
  • What Clinical Somatic Education is and how it works to restore your health and vitality
  • Four basic movements that will reset your body and help you reclaim your mobility

Sign up now for this FREE course!

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