Somatic Education as a Way
to End Pain, Speed Recovery,
and Reduce Injuries

by Lawrence Gold Credentials | Publications | Personal Page

Founder, The Institute for Somatic Study and Development
Santa Fe, NM
  • agility
  • injury
  • functional exercises
  • recovery time
  • muscular contraction
  • habituated muscular contraction
  • somatic / somatics
The years take their toll on our agility and speed of recovery not through the passage of time, but through the accumulated effects of stress and injury -- effects that are largely avoidable and even reversible.

Everyone’s initial reaction to insult and injury is the same: we tighten up. Some of us, however, release that reaction quickly; others of us retain it -- and suffer the effects mis-labeled as "aging" or "injury". This "tightening up" reaction is the secret origin of the loss of agility and the lengthening of recovery time that accompany aging and that bring many athletes' sports careers to a premature close.

What these effects have in common are habituated muscular tension, restricted movement and chronic muscle fatigue.

What makes these effects mysterious is that people commonly think that if "nothing was broken", the injury wasn't "serious"; they ignore pain and changes of movement. Thus, people don't connect their injuries (and the neuromuscular protective reflexes triggered by injuries and stress) to gradual and cumulative functional changes in performance. These functional changes persist because brain-conditioning doesn't diminish with age; as a form of learning, brain conditioning (residual "muscle memory" of injuries) tends to accumulate as we become "set in our ways" in reflexive muscular tension patterns. "Injuries" don't heal because they are not injuries; they are habituated reflex patterns that often outlive therapy or surgeries.

When muscles go into reflexive contraction from injuries, they generate metabolic waste products (lactic acid and others) on an ongoing basis, slowing recovery. Reflexive muscular contraction often becomes habituated. Habituated muscular contraction blocks circulation, slowing tissue regeneration. Habituated muscular muscular contractions lengthen recovery times.

So, to recover from athletic exertion and injuries, two things are necessary: to erase the conditioning affecting our brain and muscular system and to reclaim control of our own bodies. To do wo is possible for nearly anyone, once they are shown how.

As part of a general, pre-warmup conditioning regimen, somatic exercises are functional exercises improve movement and recovery time. Patterned movement maneuvers refresh bodily-awareness and improve muscular responsiveness and coordination. Athletes can enhance their performance and reduce the likelihood of future injury.

Brain conditioning is a large part of aging. That is a large part of why pain and stiffness persists and gets worse, whatever part genetics may play. With somatic education, older athletes can improve their mobility, balance and recovery times to younger standards. Improvements consistent with age-reversals of ten to twenty years are common.

Somatic education helps prevent sport- and overuse-injuries, reduces post-surgical pain and speeds recovery. To clear up multiple old injures, clients typically need four to eight sessions of clinical somatic education for a definitive outcome. After that, new injuries can be cleared up more quickly and self-maintenance (somatic exercises) can reduce the likelihood of future injury.

The approach has been used successfully in both hospital settings and private practices.

... and now we'd like to invite you to free access
to previews of somatic self-help programs.

Point and click underlined items for access
audio - as published in Somatics by Thomas Hanna, Perseus Books
audio with illustrated workbook
video demo
The Cat Stretch

developed by Thomas Hanna,
delivered by Lawrence Gold

Free Yourself
from Back Pain

by Lawrence Gold, C.H.S.E.

Free Your Psoas

by Lawrence Gold, C.H.S.E.

The Athletes' Prayer for Loose Calves

better than a calf stretch

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Santa Fe, NM

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