My clients are often shocked at how quickly they are able to regain their mobility and reverse their pain using the methods and movement of Hanna Somatics.
They've tried massage, physical therapy, Rolfing, trigger point therapy, chiropractic, injections, surgery, stretching, yoga, and much more, in an effort to eliminate their back, neck, shoulder, hip, knee and foot pain. Many of my clients are, quite frankly, a little skeptical of how quickly they're able to reverse years of chronic pain.
I tell them honestly that the simplest, yet hardest, part of staying pain-free and in control of their body begins when they walk out the door: that's when you have to start paying attention to your daily movement habits.
Taking only a few minutes a day of Somatic Movement practice can make all the difference in their overall health, injury prevention and rehabilitation - especially for those who have suffered injuries throughout their lives. Some people ask me, "so how long do I have to continue doing my Somatics? The rest of my life?!"
You brush your teeth every day, don't you?
If you want to move well for the rest of your life, just take 5, 10, or 15 minutes every day to refresh your muscular system so that your muscles never forget how to move. Reversing your pain and then thinking that you never have to bother with your movement again is like an athlete who gets to the Olympics and thinks he can stop training! Becoming an expert in your own movement will improve your overall health, as well as save you healthcare dollars.
What do you want to be able to do for the rest of your life?
There is an essay in Strength Coach, Dan John's book, Never Let Go, in which he describes the coaching method of Olympic gold medalist and wrestling coach, Dan Gable. The method is quite simple:
If it's important, do it everyday. If it's not important, don't do it at all.
This method is sheer brilliance. When it comes to normal, functional, everyday movement (all sports training aside) there are some basics that are non-negotiable. Check out these movements and the Somatic Exercises that address them:
- Flexing (rounding forward) - Arch & Curl
- Extending (arching backard) - Back Lift
- Side bending - Side Bend, Reach to the Top Shelf
- Twisting - Steeple Twist, Washrag
- Cross lateral movement - Cross Lateral Arch & Curl, Back Lift, Walking Exercises, Steeple twist
- Squatting - all of the above
Here's a list of daily tasks that require the above listed movements:
- Reaching up high to grab something
- Picking up your own laundry basket and walking up the stairs with it
- Getting out of your car
- Twisting around over your shoulder to look as you back out of the driveway
- Crossing our legs at the knee to tie our shoes
- Stooping to pick something up, saving yourself when you trip
- Getting up from a chair
- Sitting/squatting on the floor to play with your child
- Walking on uneven surfaces
A daily Somatic Movement practice keeps your brain in control of your muscles, prevents Sensory Motor Amnesia in the case of repetitive tasks and injury, and can be applied to any movement activity you're engaged in: dance, weight lifting, running, swimming, high jumping, frisbee, snowboarding, hiking, rock climbing. A daily practice also helps to prevent over-training injuries and help you recover from old injuries.
Locate a space at home where you can do your movements. Even if you have a favorite evening TV program, budget 5 minutes of Somatics before your program begins.
What's your schedule? Do you have the time, but just not know when to fit it in? There are options on my instructional DVD for shorter routines. Persistence, patience and consistency is the key.