Donna Brooks is a somatic movement educator and therapist, Yogi, and embodied meditator who has 35 years of experience teaching, counseling and coaching in movement and the healing arts.

Finding Pain Relief with Somatic Movement

Pain is often the doorway that brings people into my office. When pain is severe or when it triggers other symptoms people look for a gentle approach. I help them ease out pain and move in more ease and wholeness. In doing so, I recognize three different levels of pain somatic movement can help with. At the end of the pain tunnel, somatic movement and the meditative quality that comes with it also supports creativity, freedom of mind and integration of the different events of life.

Repetitive Habits can cause pain.

Sometimes pain just comes from the habits we have of sitting, standing, walking, reaching or bending., This kind of pain  often transforms quickly but can get tricky to heal completely if we keep doing the same harmful physical things over and over. Somatic Movement can help you feel what good posture and function are like so your body actually starts to crave the actions and supports that help you become pain free. You can let go of habits that cause you pain. This is the realm of ergonomics, taking breaks from your desk and finding cars, chairs and computers that support good posture and function. Sometimes pain is deeper.

Injuries, surgeries, illnesses and compensations can cause chronic pain.

Sometimes pain is from a lasting injury or even a helpful surgery that didn’t heal properly. Sometimes pain is part of a disease process. Often in these instances, your pain is compounded by compensations your body makes to protect or numb the hurting area. Sometimes the areas of compensation give you more pain than the original injury!  In this case embodiment and somatic movement help you relax and make friends with your body again.Your nervous system calms down and stops expecting the pain. This is a valuable benefit to those with chronic pain because your brain just learns to expect it.

We work together to educate your body / mind connection so you start  to move in a supportive way. Sometimes this means adding strengthening techniques. It also helps you to  tune into subtle fluctuations in your own body so you become self- correcting. Ultimately, you move differently without having to think about it. This process is pleasant and all it requires is curiosity, a sense of gentle adventure and a willingness to start feeling pleasant sensations in your body.

Pain can come from somatic and emotional overwhelm.

Sometimes pain is what is protecting us from a cascade of emotion we can’t handle.This happens quite a bit with grief and loss but is also sometimes a consequence of an injury or just the difficulties of bearing life in these times.

Emotional overwhelm is any intense emotion that is difficult to manage. It can affect your ability to think and act rationally. It could also prevent you from performing daily tasks. So, of course, we try to avoid it!  But difficult things start to happen when we avoid too much or for too long.

You might be in denial, of events suppression of feelings, intellectualizing feelings, convincing ourselves something is okay or right when it’s not. These mechanisms keep the emotions at bay but your body wants you to slowly feel them. This is because feeling them is the only way past them?

By giving you pain and other discomfort. Pain gets your attention in a way that the mind games you play with yourself won’t .

Addressing physical pain and limitations gently creates a refuge of calm and comfort in the body. In this calm and comfort we can let small expressions of the difficult emotions arise and even befriend them. They integrate into our sense of self even as our moment becomes more free.

Freeing yourself from pain and stress helps you develop more creativity and joy.

This is what somatic movement, or embodiment does. It helps you integrate difficulty and pain into your soma, your lived experience, in a way that you reclaim more of yourself. Your rigidity and defenses lessen and you reclaim joy. This is where embodiment frees our creativity. As you inhabit more of yourself and life opens. You have more energy for projects that you have been wanting to get to and more insight into long held dilemmas. You may find yourself coming up with new solutions to intractable problems.

The body is the place where we experience pain or joy.

In short, our bodies are the only place in which we feel comfort, difficulty, pain, happiness or inspiration. We live in these bodies. Pain becomes a gift when we can’t distract ourselves from this reality. When busyness, distraction or addiction can’t cover up this essential truth. Then we are on the path to embodiment.

Some say the definition of  embodiment can be confusing. That is because it really is an experience not an idea. If you want to alleviate some pain, contact me. I offer a free 20 minute 5 point whole body -mind assessment so we can see if we would work well together