Retrain Your BrainHeidi Hadley
The information in this blog has been requested by clients who have enjoyed learning Somatics. They want to know more about the amazing effects and changes it creates to our entire muscular system. They have been impressed by the additional benefits they have discovered since practising the movements on a regular basis. It also offers an opportunity for others to learn about this fantastic modality.
The programme Total Somatics offers is to help people reduce pain and regain range of movement. They find that the practical and theory components of the course equip them with a greater skill set and an increased awareness of their posture and daily movement patterns. Somatics is based around neuroplasticity. The human brain has approximately 100 billion neurons. There is a constant battle of nerves happening in our brain. If we stop exercising our cognitive or mental skills, we don’t simply forget, rather that particular part of the brain is turned over to another activity we practice on a more regular basis. In neuroscience, this is termed as the competitive nature of neuroplasticity. So when clients ask me, “how often should I practise my somatic movement sequences?” You are inadvertently asking about competitive neuroplasticity.
The answer to the common question is, as often as possible; preferably daily. This will cement a clear area in your brain map. This is where we create deeply embedded synaptic connections. We need to create new or good habits which will improve the functioning of our muscular system. This in turn will help our skeletal system, posture, pain levels, range of movement and overall quality of life. Remember when we learn bad habits or habitual pattern, such as slouching at the computer or limping due to an injury; our bodies continue to repeat this pose or gait. In this instance neuroplasticity has created a bad habit which has been repeated many times and has taken over an area of our brain map. Each time we repeat this bad habit, it claims more control of that brain map and prevents space for good habits.
This is why Somatics is so powerful and effective. Stretching involves lengthening a stretch reflex. It has no long term changes to the behaviour of the muscle. It may create flexibility but the overall functional unit is still limited. Compared to stretching, somatic movement sequences combine the muscular system with the nervous system to create new movement patterns and behaviour. The sequences teach the sensorimotor portions of the brain to “switch on and off” at the appropriate time. Due to habitual patterns, the brain (which controls muscular contraction) has simply forgotten how to “switch off” and has gone in to “autopilot.” This has caused muscles to stay habitually “switched on” from the same daily activities we do. Thus creating chronic muscle tension, change in our posture, poor range of movement and additional symptoms associated with these issues. Somatics reverses these common complaints.
If you would like to improve your quality of life and reduce pain, join the Total Somatics online programme.