Intrigues of somatic therapy with expert insight of what it all entails

Intrigues of Somatic Therapy With Expert Insight of What It All Entails

Last Updated on July 5, 2023 by Aditya

According to Psychology Today, Somatic Therapy is a practice that utilizes both physical therapies and psychotherapy to achieve holistic wellness. Somatics in general focus on body movements to enhance mental health.

In the 1970s, Peter Levine developed ‘Somatic Experiencing’, a somatic therapy that seeks to unlock ‘frozen’ body energy from traumas and redirect it in healthier directions.

Somatic therapy can help patients with trauma, anxiety, stress, depression, grief, addiction, chronic pain, sexual dysfunction, and so much more.

Q&A Interview With Somatic Coach

Organic Aromas had the privilege to chat with Megan Grace, a Somatic Bodywork and Experiential Coach. Her energized insights and great reverence for the human mind and body will hopefully inspire you to move in the right direction.

Megan Grace, a Somatic Bodywork and Experiential Coach smiling in a sunny forest.

OA: Tell us a bit more about yourself and what you do

Megan: Somatic bodywork and experiential coaching has been a journey to create, and many of the best journeys in the world come because there is a leader that has taken that road before you and can show you the way. In the session, I will be the tour guide to your body.

Let me explain.

As a human in need of some serious healing, I did what all desperate travelers would do; I tried as many roads as possible to get to where I desired to go, and in that process, I picked up some tools along the way. It was as if the practitioners would point out things about myself that I had previously been unaware of, and it would spark my curiosity to dig deeper.

If that road was helpful for me, I knew it would be helpful for others too. I learned that the mind is an active part of healing the body. Our culture in the US separates mind, body, and spirit, but really we are all one integrated human, and when something is out of alignment in one area, it affects the rest.

I loved how much I would get out of a session with my therapist. He really seemed to get what I needed, but when my emotions took over and my body had a memory show up, he was bound by his legal ethics to stay across the room and only use words to connect.

I needed more… I needed safe human contact to heal the parts of my story that needed mending the most.

So I went to Massage Therapy school and got the most incredible education. Training in Aromatherapy, Eastern and Western bodywork philosophies. As I laid hands on my clients to practice, we learned what was actually happening below the surface of the skin, and I realized this was the missing piece!

I get to help translate and tell the stories stored in the bodies of my clients through the power of touch and verbal processing together. When my hands touch the muscles, and I can feel the need to unpack something, we pause, and I share what I am experiencing, and my client shares as well.

In the session, we are two road-tripping renegades in search of new insights and energetic photo op moments in this quest to be the most whole and healthy version of yourself. That is how The Megan Grace MVMT and Lioness Life were born.

OA: As a Somatic Coach, give us three things that guide you in your work to provide balance for your clients

Megan: In my craft, the guiding practices that I feel powerfully inform how I work with clients are:

1. I understand that I am a guest in space with their bodies.

I bring my training, life experience, and wisdom to the working relationship; however, the client’s nervous system has the final say in how the session goes.

I speak kindly and reverently to the body. When we find places of resistance, I ask the body what they are trying to share with me. Forcing even a well-meaning agenda is counterproductive when it comes to healing.

2. How we talk about the body matters.

If the client talks about their shoulder, for example, as their “bad shoulder,” I believe that the body hears that and acts accordingly.

A bad shoulder might invite tension, guarding, hold shame, pain, or protection. Instead, I use the language of a “talkative shoulder” or a “little boss” that is working hard to make sure that everything is ok. We ask questions about what the muscle would like to share, and then as the story unfolds, so does the tension in the muscle. Being heard matters to both humans and the muscles/ nervous system inside of them.

3. Healing gets to be a game.

People living in fight or flight are not able to play or find ease with the sensations in their bodies. When I work with clients, I create word pictures, laugh, emote, and invite movement into the session. We also work with textures of sensations to give names to what they are experiencing (i.e., pressure, heat, cold, tingling, constriction).

When the body realizes it is safe to play, it moves to a mental state ready to take in new information.

A session of Somatic Therapy

OA: Shed light on how aromatherapy can improve mental, spiritual, and physical wellness for holistic living

Megan: Aromatherapy is a key part of engaging the senses and allowing the client to further commit the experience to body memory. Let me explain. When the brain takes in information, it goes through its processes and then chooses where to file it away with similar memories.

When we activate the part of the brain connected with the scent, it bypasses this process and is the fast lane to memory by way of the limbic system. This is a built-in safety feature so that dangerous odors make us move away from them quickly. With aromatherapy, we get to borrow that brilliance within the body for our benefit.

Attaching an affirmation with a scent and inhaling it or diffusing an oil in my office during a session allows the client to associate that fragrance with the session and be transported back to our time together when they smell the same fragrance elsewhere. It can create a feeling of calm assurance or remind them of an affirmation they set.

When our nervous system is soothed, we are less worried about the world around us, creating a positive effect on the body, mind, and spirit.

OA: What are some of the best essential oils to use when one is looking to start a clean slate in life

Megan: Are you ready to engage your senses and you are new to oils? Amazing!

Here are a few of my favorite three types of oils to get started in the healing journey:

Peppermint—This is a must-have and is amazing for head pain and sore muscles, reducing fevers, and improving breathing, thus reducing stress.

An immunity blend includes clove and cinnamon because viruses do not like to spend time around these oils. These are also great to add to some homemade cleaning product recipes as well.

The next oil would be your favorite citrus for elevating your mood; I personally love grapefruit, lime, or green mandarin.

The last category would be some yummy oils for sleeping; lavender, Roman chamomile, magnolia, and bergamot are never far from my bedside table. Then my friend, the sky and the earth are the limit.

There are so many powerful plant allies, I recommend picking up a copy of a resource book, this can offer some amazing resources on oils to start adding to your collection.

OA: In conclusion, share with our readers four practical things we can all do today to improve our lives holistically from your experience

Megan: Each day holds new possibilities and ways to grow and shift. You are a new person from moment to moment, so do not let the disappointments of yesterday cloud the opportunity to get started today.

  • One tangible tool I have enjoyed lately for my personal wellness is placing the palm of my hand on my heart space, under my clothing, so the skin touches. When I breathe into my hand, I hold it at the top for a count of 7, then when I release the breath, I imagine it flowing down my spine all the way to my hips for a count of 8. Repeat this for at least five breaths.

     

  • I also believe that removing artificial fragrances from your home is a great way to start your journey toward a healthy environment to live in. Bathroom sprays, candles, plug-ins, cleaning products, laundry soap, and perfumes all interact with your hormones and therefore have a massive impact on your health.

    When you can use oils as perfume or a diffuser to keep your bathroom area smelling nice, you are taking care of your body and also your home. It is a win-win. Make a list of everything that you have in your home that has fragrances in it, and then at the pace that fits your budget, begin to replace them with 100% pure oils, diffusers, or natural substitutes. For example, tea tree and baking soda make a great combo to clean your toilets.

     

  • The glorification of being busy does not serve the body. Learning and implementing the wisdom of the Ayurvedic Clock has been revolutionary in how I plan my time and honor the natural flow of energy throughout the day.

     

  • (four) One final tip to implement is to take inventory of how many times a day you say that you “have to” do something. Begin to shift your language to “get to” do something and see how that feels in your body. For example, “I have to do the dishes” vs. “I get to do the dishes.” Notice the sensations that show up for you with each phrase.

    The dishes will get done either way however, you have the power to choose the words you say about your experience. Words matter. If our language tells our bodies that they are powerlessly driven by a list of things controlling time or resources, the body will listen and respond. Speak of possibilities, and then you will find them.

For more information on somatic healing, essential oils, or if you would like to hang out with me further, find me @themegangracemvmt on Instagram or tune into the latest episode of Change the Channel Podcast for more mindset shifts and practical tips to keep your body operating at its best.

Infographic containing excerpt of the Q&A.

 

Organic Aromas Somatic Therapy Survey

To get a better idea of how people on the ground are interacting with somatic therapy, we conducted a survey and polled 200 American adults on this topic.

About 60% of those polled stated that they practice somatic therapy regularly. Practices topping the list are pilates and yoga. 44% of those surveyed said that they practice 3-4 times a week.

When asked what the benefits of somatic therapy were, most people talked about stress reduction, an increase of body flexibility, and promoting inner peace.

93% believe that this therapy helps with overall wellbeing by reducing stress and improving physical and psychological health. Below is a graphical look at the survey findings.

Organic Aromas Survey Charts Infographic on Somatic Therapy

Conclusion

Our bodies intuitively respond to somatics. Unlocking deep-seated energies and expending them positively allows for a holistic flow of well-being. This process is generously midwifed by a somatic coach. This is a nudge to embrace and create your best life.

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89 Comments

  1. Thanks for making this blog post and letting readers of it know what the intrigues of somatic therapy are and what it all entails. I’m definitely more interested in possibly practicing somatic therapy in my life heading forward as a result of having read this blog post.

  2. This is a new term to me, so I’ll have to be checking into it. “Holistic Wellness” sounds like something I would benefit greatly from… and I’m excited to find out more about Somatic Therapy.

  3. This is new to me but it makes sense that aromatherapy can attach a memory from a session and bring back later on to reaffirm it. I like that.

  4. Somatic therapy seems like a powerful and holistic approach to healing. Megan’s personal journey and her emphasis on the mind-body connection are inspiring.

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