What is SOMA?
SOMA is a type of manual touch therapy that works to improve postural alignment and re-educate the body’s movement patterns. Clients usually experience SOMA as an 11-step process known as ‘the series’. Over these 11 sessions, the body’s connective tissue is systematically released and brought back into balance allowing true structural alignment to be reestablished. Movement repatterning is also employed to solidify these structural changes and to integrate all parts of the body into a more efficiently functioning whole. The end result is a structurally aligned body that has the ability to move through life with more grace and ease.
How it Works
In order to understand how SOMA effects the body, we must first understand the tissue that it works with – Fascia. Fascia is the body-wide web of connective tissue. It covers muscles, bones and organs. Everything is connected through Fascia. Known as the ‘organ of form’, Fascia has the ability to hold muscles in chronic tension or compression.
Over time, due to various stresses on our body, we develop a web of unhealthy patternings in the fascial system. Fascia has the potential to harden and thicken due to injury or underuse and as a result can inhibit range of motion and cause chronic pain. By releasing fascial adhesions in the body, we allow the body to reclaim it’s original posture and increase it’s options for healthier movement patterns.
Benefits of SOMA
• Relief of chronic pain
• Improved posture and balance
• Increased flexibility and strength
• Peak athletic performance
• Relief of stress and anxiety
Conditions it helps with
• Chronic muscular and joint pain
• Rehabilitation (post injury/surgery)
The Soma Institute of Neuromuscular Integration ® was developed in 1977 by Bill Williams, PhD. of Psychology and an accomplished Rolfer ® . Bill had studied Structural Integration directly with with Ida Rolf, the developer of the 10 session series and founder of the Rolf Institute in 1971.
In 1977 Dr. Rolf gave Bill her blessing to leave the institute to begin a unique form of Structural Integration that stays true to the 10 session series while additionally integrating the mind body connection. Bill developed the school of SOMA Neuromuscular Integration through a lens of psychology. This expanded the approach beyond attention to the body’s physical structure and relationship to gravity. The added layer of acknowledging body, mind and spirit as an inseparable whole system supports the multidimensional human being and distinguishes this practice.
In 1986 Karen L. Bolesky M.A., L.M.H.C., L.M.P. took over the SOMA Institute of Neuromuscular Integration ® and continues to teach and develop the work today in Buckley WA. SOMA continues to be a form of Structural Integration that recognizes the body, mind and spirit working together to make a whole.