Your Guide to Somatic Wellness Therapy


| LAST UPDATE 05/05/2022

By Lia Thomson
dancing therapy somatic trauma
@adelina_lazarova via Instagram

Throughout the years, the stigma behind therapy has slowly diminished (yay)! But while the Freudian classical therapy where you speak to your psychologist one on one may be extremely beneficial, there are other types of treatments that could benefit you in other ways. By using our bodies and sensations to heal trauma and release unnecessary feelings, we can help our mind reprogram itself and eventually self-regulate. Here's how.

Somatic is defined as "relating to the body, especially as distinct from the mind" by Oxford Language, meaning somatic therapy places a focus on using the body rather than the mind to treat trauma. Because, after all, the body keeps the score and can subconsciously store our pain. The alternative therapy goal is to shift the trauma-related stress response by using bottom-up processes. One example of this is dancing: moving our bodies through dance helps shift the energy in the body around. But don't fret, you don't need to have moves like Addison Rae to get this treatment's full effects. Shaking, jumping, wiggling, and any type of body movement can be used in this therapy.

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A second somatic therapy commonly used these days is breathwork. Similar to mindfulness, during this practice, the patient shifts their focus on their breath (hence the name.) This will help you be more present in the moment and in turn, regulate many body functions such as heart rate to lower feelings of anxiety and stress. Sometimes our thoughts can come overwhelmingly, which is why this treatment is so helpful for those who get wrapped up in their heads and focus too much on negative feelings.

meditation breathwork somatic therapy
@monavand via Instagram

While the previously mentioned therapies can be done alone, this next one requires the help of a professional psychologist. During sensorimotor psychotherapy, the patient is guided to a past memory by the therapist. When they are placed back in that scenario mentally, the client is encouraged to act out physically and/or vocally how they would behave if the situation was in the present. This somatic practice allows a person to feel like they have handled a situation better, making it easier to move past the experience and any lingering feelings. While we still love a good old therapy sesh, these practices can be added into your routine to help get yourself to an even better you!

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