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

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. Sometimes, we are able to release that reaction quickly; at other times, we 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 fail to notice or give adequate care to changes of movement. So, 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 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 muscular tension patterns that often outlive therapy or surgeries.

When muscles go into reflexive contraction from injuries, they generate metabolic waste products (lactic acid and others) continuously. Habituated muscular contraction blocks circulation, slowing tissue regeneration; they muscular contractions lengthen recovery times, often indefinitely.

So, to recover from 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 so is possible for nearly anyone, once they are shown how.

As part of a general, pre-warmup conditioning regimen, somatic education exercises improve movement and recovery time and reduce the likelihood of injuries, even during maximum athletic activity. These patterned exercises 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 performance levels. 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– or an appropriate somatic education exercise program.

After recovery, new injuries can be cleared up much more quickly and self-maintenance (somatic education exercises) can reduce the likelihood of future injury.

The Institute for Somatic Study and Development
Santa Fe, NM
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