What is Somatic Healing?
Somatic Healing or Somatoemotional Release are healing modalities used to bring about profound change within the mind, emotions, and body. ‘Soma’ means the ‘body,’ and there are a few different ways this healing is approached, including; working with a psychologist or counsellor, a Somatoemotional Release healer, or even on your own! I recommend first connecting with and having a trained practitioner you can turn to for support, if this is something you would like to practice on your own.
How is Somatic Healing Practiced?
Somatic therapy is used by psychologists and counsellors to help patients understand the mind-body connection. Somatoemotional Release when combined with Craniosacral is a slightly different process. During a craniosacral session, clients are in a Theta state – similar to deep meditation and the body’s natural healing state. A skilled practitioner is able to feel holds within the clients body on a physical and energetic level. When we sense these holds or blocks, we can either work in silence with our clients or we may converse with our client or our client’s Higher Self, their Inner Physician, the subconscious. During these sessions as we are in a Theta state, clients are able to recall incredible detail about the origin of this injury or trauma, and together, we are able to release it. This is a profound and deep release when working with a Craniosacral + Somatoemotional Release Healer, as we are working with the body, mind, and energetic body to clear past trauma, injury held within the body, patterns and limiting beliefs. Naturally our body attempts to do this on a more superficial level when we are in Theta as we fall asleep and wake – integrating the mind, emotions and body. This is why meditating as we wake is so beneficial.
Why Somatic Healing?
Somatic Healing or Somatoemotional Release helps to release trauma stored in the body via our nervous system. The nervous system and immune system cells have memory, and form a network sharing this memory with our brain (amygdala, hippocampus, cerebellum, and the prefrontal cortex) and other parts of our body (muscles, fascia, organs).
When we experience trauma, if we are not able to shake it of or bring voice to the experience, it becomes buried within our system. If we experience this trauma more than once (for example, bullying or abuse), wiring is formed and it becomes more deeply ingrained on a physical, emotional, and subconscious level.
The Greeks and Egyptians practiced this form of healing, and intuitively animals, and humans know we need it. If you see an animal who has been frightened, they will shake and or make noise – watch your own pets. As my friend Claudia (Holistic Counsellor) has shared, don’t hug your pet right after a fright – they need to release, then comfort.
Peter Levine PhD brought this modality back to our awareness, as we seem to have forgotten this intuitive practice.
What is Trauma?
Trauma is an interesting topic as it takes many forms. We all have trauma of varying degrees and carry it until we choose to let it go. Trauma can be from emotional or physical injury, from past generations or your current lifetime, collectively (marginalized groups) or individually experienced. It can be a single event, or repeated occurrence. The interesting part about trauma is we often don’t know it’s there – it’s buried so deeply in our subconscious patterning and in muscle memory. Of course if we experience physical pain from a car accident for example, we may be able to pinpoint it, but typically trauma finds a hold in our body or psyche as we aren’t able to release the experience in the moment. It’s often not until we are triggered (an event causing us to react as if the trauma is present – which it may be or not), that we realize it’s there. Sometimes we can also spontaneously recall a memory or event.
Babies and children who can’t put voice to their experience, or adults in shock or disassociated in the moment of the experience, will often have buried trauma. Birth can be traumatic for babies and mothers, and often the by-standing fathers who aren’t able to help their loved ones. For babies, it’s a complete change in environment. For mothers, it can be due to not being fully aware and present or dissociated, and not able to advocate for themselves.
The concerning part of trauma is that if we don’t release it, we often unknowingly pass it along due to our subconscious patterning, self-sabotage, or find unhealthy coping mechanisms further burying it.
Benefits of Somatoemotional Release
Trauma does not have to stay hidden deep within. We have many tools to work with, including; creative explorations, meditation and taking the time to go within, working with a trained practitioner, talk therapy or sharing the experience in a safe environment with a loved one, movement, yoga and dance!
Through somatoemotional release or other forms of somatic therapy we can:
help change limiting belief patterns, allowing for growth aligned with your true purpose and potential
release emotional trauma you may have not known was there, including PTSD + anxiety/depression
help heal physical trauma + the pain or chronic conditions associated with it
subconsciously release in babies + children before they take root and become buried trauma
release trauma in adults before we bury it with other unhealthy coping mechanisms or patterns
If you are interested in learning more, Peter Levine has many videos and books, or you can reach out to a trained practitioner such as myself or Claudia. To book Craniosacral + Somatoemotional Release with me, click here.
Complimentary Somatic Toolkit
Somatic tools are those to help you and children connect the mind and emotions – being embodied and present. Why? It helps us find greater peace, balance, love and joy in our lives. Click here for simple tools you can incorporate into your everyday!