Formerly McNabb’s

Clinical Somatics

Interactive hands-on work, gentle movement sequences and sensory awareness training that increases brain-muscle coordination and triggers tight muscles to relax.

Clinical Somatics is a movement based therapy that asks us to observe from within those areas of our body where we feel freedom of movement and those areas where we feel restricted due to chronic tension.

Working from the center of the body – the core – we begin to release the large muscles through a sequence of safe and gentle movements. These movements are based on a series of patterns that are seen in the body.

These patterns are strong reflexes that are “hard-wired” into the sensory-motor nervous system (Red Light Reflex, Green Light Reflex, and Trauma Reflex) and have evolved over time.

Through developing awareness of the brain to muscle connection, Clinical Somatic Education helps you to release tension, and also anger, frustration and other emotions that we may accumulate in our body just by living and moving through life! The goal is to help free you from the stress and pain that is preventing you from fully engaging in your life.

What is Sensory Motor Amnesia?
Somatics treats Sensory Motor Amnesia – a condition in which muscles have become chronically contracted and are not able to relax because the brain has surrendered control of the muscle to the subconscious mind. Not only have we forgotten how to release these muscles, often we are not even aware that the contractions exist, hence – amnesia…

Somatics targets the source of chronic muscular pain – the brain or more specifically, the sensory motor nervous system. In order to reduce or eliminate your pain, you must understand what caused it in the first place. Sensory Motor Amnesia develops when we respond to accidents, injuries, surgeries, and on-going stress with contraction of muscles. If this response continues – we create a habit – the brain and the nervous system begin to think these contractions are normal – this is called habituation. Because the brain controls the muscles, the brain must be involved in teaching them to relax, release and remember how to move again.

Structure vs. Function?
By the time our pain causes us to seek treatment, often the problem is viewed as a structural issue requiring surgery or long term management with pain medications, steroids, or other means. Many people have different structures. This might be one leg shorter than the other, an extra vertebra in their lumbar spine, or even a missing limb. Although these structural differences may affect how their body functions – everyone can use Somatics to maximize their potential.

Often, the real issue is functional – that is, the pain is caused by the way we are using our muscles (or not using our muscles). It is very difficult to change structure, but with Somatics, you can change function in a matter of minutes.

How do we change Function?
We do this by voluntarily engaging the contracted muscle and then slowly releasing it. This is called pandiculation. Pandiculation requires the full attention of our conscious mind or cortex. This allows us to take back control of the muscle and deepen the sensory-motor pathway that lets us relax a muscle when it is not being used. Only you can make these changes by being engaged in the process.

Why is Somatics Different?
Traditional therapies often begin with strengthening (which layers tension over already contracted muscles) or stretching (which activates stretch reflex – a natural reflex that results in heightened tension levels). Somatics uses other natural mechanisms of the central nervous system to voluntarily release muscles from within. Clinical Somatics can help everyone attain a new freedom in their bodies and function at their best.

Not only do you learn somatic exercises to retrain your brain – you also develop a greater awareness of the effects of stress on your body and your habitual bodily responses to stress.


What are the Benefits of Clinical Somatics?

  • Long term relief of acute and chronic pain caused by musculoskeletal conditions
  • A toolbox full of tools that can teach you how to regain control of muscles affected by sensory motor amnesia
  • Increased flexibility without pulling and tugging on your muscles
  • Increased balance and coordination
  • Increased awareness of your stress triggers and the means to relieve stress
  • An effective and non-invasive alternative to drugs and surgery

What conditions can be helped or eliminated by Clinical Somatics?

  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Neck, shoulder, and back pain
  • Sciatica
  • Plantar Fasciitis
  • Hip, Knee, and foot pain
  • Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
  • Repetitive Stress Injuries
  • Poor Posture
  • Headaches
  • Accident traumas and whiplash
  • Breathing Issues
  • Anxiety
  • Frozen Shoulders
  • TMJ Dysfunction

At Harbourview Health, we align your health goals with custom treatment plans that promote your all-around wellness.