Somatic Wellness Therapy
The connection between mind and body
A type of therapeutic healing, somatic wellness therapy stresses the connection between the mind and body, focusing on using the body to heal the mind. This approach helps treat issues like PTSD, anxiety, and other mental and emotional health issues. Where other therapies focus primarily on the mind, somatic therapy considers the body as a whole. Somatic therapy can include talk therapy sessions but it’s not the only thing it involves. It pairs psychotherapy methods like traditional talk therapy, dream interpretation, and reflection with other modalities such as dance or sensorimotor psychotherapy.
The idea is that rather than talking about issues out loud, somatic therapy aims to help your body physically release the stress, tension, and trauma that you might be holding onto, whether consciously or subconsciously. A therapist may guide you to hone in on physical sensations and then lead you through exercises that connect the body and mind such as breath work, mediation, visualization, or even dance.
Proponents of somatic therapy advocate for its ability to self-regulate and heal individuals from trauma by using bodies and sensations to reprogram the way we think and respond to a feeling or trigger.
What somatic therapy Can Help With
It’s used for a variety of mental and physical health issues including but not limited to:
Types of somatic therapy
Some types of somatic therapy methods include:
Dancing helps move energy through your body, whether the feeling is joy, tension, stress, or even sadness. And it doesn’t have to be anything super professional or put together – simply jumping around, flailing, or even wiggling has the power to shift stagnate energy out.
Breathwork & visualization
These two often go hand in hand. Focusing on your breath and visualizing forces you to really be in and focus on the present moment. Breathwork can also calm your heart rate, regulate your brain waves, and decrease any symptoms of pain, anxiety, depression, and anger.
This method focuses on reclaiming control over emotional responses from past trauma that you may not have had control over. A trained professional will help guide you through the memory and encourage you to reenact it, either physically and/or vocally. However the difference is that in these re-enactments, you are able to respond or defend yourself how you would have wanted to back then. The methodology often gives Individuals a feeling of triumph or empowerment that’s needed to move past fears and feelings.
Along with other mind and body techniques, this method also incorporates eye positioning to help recalibrate emotional responses.
EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and requires you to remember a traumatic event while focusing on external stimuli, using both sight and touch. Sometimes a therapist will direct lateral movements of the eyes during this technique. The idea behind this method is that physical and external stimuli, like tapping oneself, or stroking the skin, can be used to disassociate the traumatic response from your mind.
At its core, somatic wellness therapy aims to tackle trauma or illness from a holistic standpoint. If this is something you’re interested in, consult a professional to learn more.