Explanation of

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Hanna Somatic Education ®

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Highly respected health care professionals endorse Hanna somatic education®, the newer approach presented here.

Wikipedia Entry on Somatics

Hanna Somatic Education (HSE) is a clinical method used to correct (CLICK for partial list:) chronic pain conditions commonly referred for osteopathy, physical therapy, chiropractic, massage therapy, and other modalities. Used with standard therapies, HSE improves their efficacy dramatically. Used alone, HSE is commonly sufficient.

The term, "education" fits with the word "somatic" better than do the terms "therapy" or "treatment," which imply a return to your "pre-injury" condition. "Education" implies being better off than before. Somatic education resolves symptoms, reduces the likelihood of future injury and brings you to a higher level of fitness than you could reach, before.

Hanna Somatic Education eliminates both pain and the underlying cause of pain, and so accomplishes the goals of standard therapy and more.

  • CLINICAL SESSIONS: Hands-on procedures free people from the grip of muscular tensions maintained by muscle/movement memory and improve coordination and muscular control. "Control" means improvement in the person's ability to relax and to tighten muscles in movement, to begin, carry out, and end movements with ease, grace, and confidence. Often, fewer than seven sessions are needed for complete results.

  • SOMATIC EXERCISES magnify the results of clinical sessions, improve coordination and purge out the residual tensions of daily living.

Every injury or stress-period leaves an imprint in memory that shows up as a muscular tension habit (muscle/movement memory) that often continues indefinitely as if the injury or stress situation is still happening. Changes of movement and posture of this type are so common that people don't recognize their significance and commonly attribute them to aging or to, "that just how he (or she) is", or "how I am."

Hanna Somatic Education (HSE) quickly ends such muscular tension habits.


What distinguishes HSE from other approaches is the use of "the pandicular response" (or "omni-yawn") an action pattern done instinctively by all animals upon arising from rest, going into activity, to refresh the body-sense and control of movement.

Everyone has seen and done pandiculation, but most people misunderstand it as "stretching". It's a natural action of waking up. It involves tightening oneself in certain ways (e.g., the "morning stretch"), in the mood of a yawn. The sensation of this action triggers wakes up the parts of the brain involved in moving and feeling movement. Then, we're ready for action. Pandiculation (or the omni-yawn) improves the abilities both to move and to relax, freeing musclebound muscles and ending the tendency to cramp or go into spasm.

What's new is the application of this response to muscular pain patterns. It works quickly to restore freedom of movement and comfort.

Your Experience?

You may have noticed that you don't, and can't, really, completely relax, that you always hold tension. Here's why:

When you experience physical or emotional trauma or long-term stress, a memory imprint forms. This memory imprint shows up as involuntary muscular tension (guarding reactions) that resists stretching or external therapeutic modalities -- guarding reactions that make you tight enough to cause chronic pain and restrict movement.

Such guarding reactions operate from centers in the brain involved in reflexes and posture -- involuntary muscular actions. The pandicular response shifts the center of control from those involuntary reflex centers to the parts of the brain involved in voluntary movement. Muscles relax and pain fades out, leaving you completely fit for activities.

You can see differences between HSE and common therapeutic modalities in a comparison chart and understand why by comparing their operating principles. The practical differences show up in results.

Comparing Somatic Education and Standard Therapeutic Modalities

  • Most therapeutic approaches to muscular pain (CLICK for comparison) seek to "fix the patient"; they act upon the patient chemically (drugs), mechanically (manipulation, stretching, or surgery), or electrically (TENS, electric stim) or take the patient/client the wrong direction (strengthening -- where excessive muscular tension is already the problem). Clients or patients with chronic musculo-skeletal pain often remain dependent on therapy for a long time. Improvement is often slow, temporary, and may require many repetitions of the same treatment process. Many people exit therapy with some or all of their symptoms (regrettably) intact.
  • Pain and restricted movement from muscular tension cannot be permanently "fixed" from outside. For a lasting change, the "fix" must occur from within; the client/patient must correct themselves. Hanna somatic education (HSE) guides and assists the client/patient through the process. Rather than being slower than therapeutics, HSE is faster and highly predictable. The client feels results immediately during the session; most conditions resolve completely in between two and eight sessions.

    Some practitioners offer a money-back guarantee of satisfaction.

The specific advantage seen in Hanna Somatic Education by referring physicians is that, while being effective in the relief of muscular pain and spasticity, it has the specific virtue of teaching the client an ability so to control the muscular complaint that there is little chance of a future return of the problem.
~~ Thomas Hanna, Ph.D.

Somatic Education Exercises

In support of hands-on, clinical methods, somatic education exercise classes presented by certified Hanna Somatic Educators teach people to improve themselves without the help of clinical practitioners.

Self-Paced Somatic Education Exercise Programs

Hanna Somatic Educators are certified by the Novato Institute for Somatic Research and Training.  certified Hanna Somatic Educators practice throughout the world (Point and click underlined words for locations.)

Our goal is for you to become self-sufficient and independent of therapy as quickly as possible. Long-term dependency on a Hanna Somatic Education practitioner is unnecessary and not to be expected, since we expect your improvements to be durable. Sometimes, people return later, after having complete a course of a few sessions, but usually it's to address a new or different problem.

Somatic education improves more than symptoms -- it alters the functional condition that underlies your symptoms. Three steps:
  1. Recognize the entire pain pattern.
  2. Release the entire pain pattern.
  3. Renew your life.


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Santa Fe, NM


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