Hanna Somatic Education (aka HSE) teaches you how to release muscles that have involuntarily contracted. Thomas Hanna, PhD developed Hanna Somatic Education over the course of two decades of work in the field of Somatic Education. He began as a Feldenkrais practitioner, and developed his own method of Somatic Education after studying neurology at the University of Miami Medical School.
It was there that he did research into the muscular ways in which all humans respond to stress reflexes and how these full body reflexes can habituate at the level of the central nervous system, causing muscular pain that contributes to many common pain conditions. Clinical Somatic Education developed from the hands-on methods of Thomas Hanna as well as other innovations from present-day somatic pioneers.
There are only a few Somatic therapists in the UK and one is Jonathan Hunt, a former Premiership footballer who had to retire in 2003 due to back pain. When manipulative therapies failed to help him, he tried the Hanna Somatic programme and was so impressed that he trained as a therapist himself.
Everyday Health said tensing our muscles is so automatic for many of us that we don’t know how to hold our bodies in any other way. Hans Selye, a famous endocrinologist, once said, “all of life is stress.” Our reaction to our daily stress gets absorbed into our bodies; if we’re not aware of it, we can go days, months, years, even an entire lifetime in a state of amnesia — called sensory-motor amnesia.
Sensory-motor amnesia is a “habituated state of forgetfulness of how certain muscles feel and how to effectively coordinate them” — chronic muscular contractions that lead to the common physical complaints that we usually mistake for the natural aging process, according to the Novato Institute for Somatic Research and Training.
Some of the suggested exercises for backache are: Lie on your back, arms resting by your side, knees bent, and feet hip-width apart tucked up near your bottom. As you breathe in, arch your lower back by pressing your tail bone down, then very slowly flatten your back into the floor as you exhale, to relax. Rest, and then repeat slowly and gently ten to 15 times. When you finish, straighten and stretch your legs. Don’t attempt any of these until you have checked with your GP first and don’t overdo them as they should be comfortable.