What is Soma?
Soma Neuromuscular Integration® is a form of manual therapy which works on the fascia (the connective tissue). Clients normally experience this work as an 11 session process known as 'the series.' Soma uses this systematic approach to release bound tissue and realign the body in gravity, thus allowing the body to operate to its full capacity. Structural integration focuses on the mechanics and alignment of the body to alleviate tension and create levity and movement. Clients work with the practitioner to re-educate movement patterns and posture, bringing ease, levity, and self-awareness.
How it works
Soma focuses on the connective tissue, or fascia. This web of tissue runs throughout the entire body, supporting its structure. Over time we develop compensation patterns in our body due to stress, injury, or overall movement patterns. Because fascia connects and differentiates every element in the body, including muscles, bones, and organs; it has the ability to thicken and compress, restricting joints and muscles. By releasing the fascia, we can allow the body to reset, stabilize, and move freely again.
Unlike some other forms of massage, structural integration's primary concern is aligning the body and creating lasting changes within the tissue. The most effective way to do this is by utilizing a very specific method we call 'the series.' In going through the series, we work through the outermost layers of tissue and muscle in preparation for going deeper into the core layers of tissue, such as the abdominal muscles and Psoas. This deeper work results in much longer lasting changes and can even have profound emotional and psychological effects. As part of the series, clients receive personal logs, readings and exercises at the end of each session, which are also downloadable in the Appointments page. The soma series process is meant to bring self-sufficiency and awareness within each person, in addition to physical improvement.
Although the series is highly recommended, it is not the only we to experience the work. For more information on Samassage®, and Treatment work, please see Services.
Although Soma is a specific type of structural integration, the true founder and first practitioner of this healing method was Dr. Ida Rolf. She was the first person to recognize the profound effect of gravity on the body and to see the important role of connective tissue in creating suspension.
Dr. Rolf became well known through her work and founded the Rolf Institute in 1971, developing the 10 session series. Many students went on to build on her methods. In 1977 one of these student, Psychologist Dr. Bill Williams left the Rolf 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 the philosophy of psychology. This expanded the approach beyond attention to the body’s physical structure and relationship to gravity, to recognize clients in their emotional and mental state. This view of the mind as an integral and inseparable part of the body and spirit, supports the complexity of the human being and distinguishes this practice.
In 1986, the Soma Institute of Neuromuscular Integration was passed on to Karen Bolesky, who continues to educate intentional and informative Soma practitioners. The school focuses not only on creating profound physical results, but also transforming how one thinks about the mind, body, and spirit as a whole. In finding ease in the body and understanding the connection between ourselves and the forces of the environment around us, we can better understand and experience life in its fullest.
Relieve chronic pain
Improve posture, balance, and body awareness
Decrease stress and anxiety
Increase strength, flexibility, and athletic performance
Alleviate headaches and other conditions