Eliminating Chronic Pain with Hanna Somatic Education

Too many people are waking up in pain everyday.  It’s happening more and more frequently.  There is a cultural shift that’s occurring that is leaving us less physically capable.  Our bodies are not supporting us the way they are meant to, literally collapsing inward on ourselves.  You have to learn how the human body is meant to move if you want to get yourself out of pain.  We are sitting far too often, we endure stress, and we are distracted constantly to really understand what is happening within our body.  We’ve lost the physical sensitivity to our body, and the result is a functional breakdown leading to back pain, hip pain, knee pain, plantar fasciitis, TMJ, and headache.  It’s all these symptoms and more, and if you just treat the symptoms, you’re not going to get better.  Not for a long time.

If you treat the root cause, Sensory Motor Amnesia, you can fix the problem.  You don’t have the problem fixed for you and that is the answer.  Creating autonomy, being able to react to stress and injury while while learning to really control movement IS the fix to most chronic pains.  Hanna Somatic Education is a very simple way to learn that process, improving your posture naturally and learning how to move your body in ways that build your body up, instead of unconsciously letting it break down.  And you take that knowledge with you.  Chronic pain is not an easy thing to fix, but is is fixable.  You can do it.  And like I said, there are way too many people that are living life quietly in chronic pain when they can do more for themselves than others can do for them.

I hope you take the time to learn this work.  Hanna Somatic Education training has a lot of answers for a lot of people.  I hope you are one of them.

Father and Son Team Soar to New Heights with Somatics Training for 14 Mile Q50 Trail Race

20121203-210535.jpgThe Q50 Full Moon Trail Run at Bogue Chitto State Park in Louisiana is not for the faint of heart. My son Revill, age 20, and I found out about that when we struggled to finish last year’s edition of this amazing race. The course terrain will challenge you with darkness, uphills, downhills, unseen holes or bumps, branches, sticks, logs, dirt, surprise mud, sandy beaches, quicksand and wind.  Our memory of the fatigue we felt just to finish last year was motivating enough to train for this year’s race. We decided to incorporate Hanna Somatics into our training, a brain-centered exercise that improves the communication between the brain and the muscles. By using slow controlled movements with focus on internal sensations, it allowed us to gain more control of our muscles and to very quickly eliminate any tight constricted muscles from our bodies. We were able to reprogram our running programs in the brain for maximum efficiency and we sensed an improvement in performance during training. Somatics also helped us to repair injuries and relieve our bodies quickly of any aches and pain as they accrued from training. We used it as a co-practice with running, but Somatics can be used with any sport. It can be a lifesaver for the elite athlete or the weekend warrior.


And the results were tremendous! We improved our time by 20 minutes over last year. We used Somatics to reprogram our neuromuscular system to make our stride more efficient and powerful. This prepared us for the rugged demands of this race. Last year, with three miles to go in the race, we were overcome with fatigue and our pace slowed tremendously. We didn’t know how to deal with it. This year, because of our brain-centered training, we were able to relax and rely on sensory feedback from any aches or pains we felt, our effort, and our energy levels. We could use the downhills to our advantage because of our Somatically loosened muscles and ligaments gave us extra cushioning, so we had the confidence to build speed. We chose to walk on the steeper uphills because we noticed last year when we were running, we weren’t going much faster than if we were walking. This conserved valuable energy.

20121203-211109.jpgBrain training is not to be confused with mental training. Mental training is a set of techniques that include mental rehearsal (imaging) and goal setting. It helps develop focus and self-confidence. However, it separates the mental and the physical components of training. Brain training on the other hand tears down the partition between the two and treats the physical training as a bodily activity and an experience the brain regulates. A major goal of brain training with Somatics is to improve performance by using the material gathered from our workouts (body awareness, workout performance, the sensation of fatigue, observation of cause and effect in training) to make our performance more efficient, powerful, fatigue resistant, and injury-proof. Instead of focusing on muscles and energy systems, we know the brain is the “central governor” and allows us to integrate relevant subjective and objective feed back and apply this toward the goal of improving athletic performance. Somatics allows you to interpret the feedback received from your muscle and energy systems. It helps you to respond to the unexpected like a fall in the mud or a cramp in the calf. It will help you to relax your breathing when challenged. It provides you the most efficient movement program, that can keep you moving fast when fatigued. Train your brain and the rest will follow.


Running with my son is one of my biggest joys in life. During the first two miles of the race, we reminded each other to relax and settle in to a pace that wasn’t too fast. We were on a horse trail that had lots of hoof prints and it was difficult terrain, especially with the limited light from our headlamps. When we got to the hiking trail, we settled in and were able to relax and even enjoy conversation. At the halfway point we refilled our hydration belt and took a short break. I looked at the time and I thought we either ran way too fast or we are very well trained. I immediately erased the way too fast thought and told Rev our training has paid off. During the second seven miles our conversation quieted. We were so focused and living in the moment. All of our senses were heightened and we enjoyed the feeling of being one with nature. We accepted the terrain, whatever came our way, and the terrain accepted us. Rocks, sticks, holes, bumps, hiking trails, horse trails both skinny and wide, inclines, declines, branches, logs, sandy beaches, mud, quicksand, wind, cold, hot, darkness, canopy, trees, open sky, full moon, it was all there for us like an early christmas present. And then for the last few miles a heavy fog rolled in. I could feel the contralateral movement of my running motion. I could feel the the muscles in my lower belly relax to allow more breath in. I felt the rocking of my hips and pelvis. I felt the muscles in my shoulders as the blades glided over my ribcage, helping my arms to move easily back and forth. I felt my feet and ankles sensing the ground, mostly absorbing the surprise of unexpected holes or bumps. Without talking, we took turns leading or following, and running side by side. With two and a half miles to go, we started talking again. We noticed that we both were tired, but didn’t really feel like we needed to slow down. We let our Somatic running programs take over. And an amazing thing happened. We started to pass some other runners. This was in stark contrast to last year when we were passed by several runners at this stage of the race. The air and the stress of the run made it difficult for my eyes to focus and it became very hard to see the trail. Revill took the lead and became my “Rudolph” making sure we didn’t run off the course. I told Rev how proud I was to run with him and what a great team we made. I told him I didn’t think I could run this well without his help. And he said, “Dad, I didn’t think I could run this well without your help.” With a half mile to go, we could hear the music and welcoming crowd at the finish line. We finished off the last of our water and started smiling to ourselves. The crowd elevated our spirits and brought us home to the finish line. We felt great crossing the line. The biggest surprise was the time. We were almost twenty minutes faster than last year!

20121203-211241.jpgAfterwards, we changed into some dry clothes and sat down to rest and hydrate. We talked with other racers and shared our experiences. We basked in the glory of our achievement. We couldn’t stay long though because we were just so tired to the bone. I made the 45 minute drive home through the dense fog, managing to to stay on the road while my son slept. I poured myself into bed after a hot bath. What a night, what a race, and what a memory!




The next day my son says “he’s in” for next year. Now as I write this and relive this moment. I feel the final benefit of my Somatics brain-centered training. 48 hours after this grueling race and I am 98% recovered. Sweet.