Somatic Bodywork: Hearing the Whole Story

After many years of using my own name for my practice, I decided it’s time my business got a name of its own. So I’m proud to introduce Conscious Soma, a practice focused on Craniosacral Therapy and other Somatic Bodywork that supports whole-person healing.

Soma means body. So, somatic literally means “of the body.” But when we’re talking about bodywork, these two terms have come to mean much more.

Soma refers to your own felt-sense of yourself. It’s your experience of your body as sensed from the inside, rather than the “idea” of a body as viewed from the outside.

Somatic bodywork, then, focuses on your inner perceptions and experience. These can include physical sensations, emotions, and thoughts, as well as your awareness of your body in space and any “null zones,” areas where you lack sensation or awareness.

When we pay attention, without judgment, to all of your inner perceptions in the moment, the body can tell the full story of an injury, pain, or problem. Often, this story has some surprising roots. And by acknowledging them, much deeper healing or transformation becomes possible.

Somatic bodywork deals with issues like:

  • Trapped emotions: Suppressed emotions get stored in our tissues where they can cause physical problems. I’ve seen cases where tissue damage, such as arthritis, has had a trapped emotion at its core.
  • Core beliefs: If you have a deeply held belief, say that you have to struggle for everything in life, it can literally shape your body. In this case, the muscles may tense up and take on a fighting stance, always ready to defend against the world.
  • Guarding: Many clients I touch are muscle-guarded. No matter how long I work, their muscles stay tense. Why? Sometimes the tension is helping the client avoid feeling. Emotions aren’t just in our head. They are felt through the whole body. And muscle tension is a powerful way to suppress painful emotions.
  • Loss of body awareness: When asked to focus on a body part—like the pelvis—some people will not be able to feel it from the inside unless it’s hurting. They’ve removed their awareness. The result is a disconnection—from themselves, the ground, or their own sense of power and purpose.
  • Trauma: Like emotions, trauma is not just in the head. It’s held in the whole body and especially in the central nervous system. Trauma can cause chronic stress and anxiety, hypervigilance, muscle tension and a host of other bodily symptoms.

Somatic bodywork is a powerful way of bridging body and mind. Because ultimately, this thing we call “body” and this thing we call “mind” are a singular, exquisite intelligence, of which we can be more or less conscious. I vote for more.

2 thoughts on “Somatic Bodywork: Hearing the Whole Story

  1. Jane Kelly

    Hi Virginia~I just remembered I hadn’t read this thoroughly and with the attention it deserved. I had actually set it aside for the right time to do that and I know you can guess what happened next….yes, the memory again! I appreciate your explaining your process in detail, and giving me the chance to really contemplate and absorb it. I think you know that I prefer to get my information from reading whenever I can, so this is especially helpful! Thank you for all the thought and effort you put into every aspect of your practice. I’ve received more help and healing from you than I’d have ever thought possible! p.s. I love the new name! It’s perfect. 🙂

    Reply
    1. virginiawilke Post author

      Hi Jane,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and reply to this article so thoughtfully. I really appreciate the feedback, and I’m so glad you love the new name! It’s an honor to have you as my client and reader.

      Reply

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