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Somatic therapy?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Davideus85, Jul 1, 2021.

  1. Davideus85

    Davideus85 Peer Supporter

    Does anyone know anything about somatic therapy? I’m just wondering because my therapist recommended it to me and know next to nothing about it. What I’ve read about it is that it focuses on the connection between a person’s mind and body and treating trauma by focusing on physical sensations in the body. This sounds very similar to TMS. Any ideas?
     
  2. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes somatic tracking is one tool to train the brain out of fear of symptoms. It helps the person enter a a state of mindfulness and detached curiosity, rather than being bullied by the symptoms and sensations. It's a "bottom up" technique just like breathing exercises etc. Anyone who works in the field of TMS will incorporate it, and Alan Gordon has many podcasts and video presentations of somatic tracking as well. The field of somatic therapy can be rather broad though so I would recommend finding someone who is well versed in Dr. Sarno and TMS just for the sake of efficiency. There are so many schools of therapy that is can be a bit overwhelming to discern. Even the term mind body gets thrown around a lot so make sure the practitioner's goal is to help you reverse the pain strategy.
     
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  3. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    There's another term for what I believe is the same kind of thing and that's 'somatic experiencing', which was coined by Peter Levine who's written at least a couple of books about it, the first being "Waking the Tiger". His follow up book "Healing Trauma" has somatic experiencing exercises in it. I'm currently into, and prefer, this 'somatic experiencing' book though (mainly as I'm finding it less long-winded) called "The Mind-Body Stress Reset: Somatic Practices to Reduce Overwhelm and Increase Well-Being" by Rebekkah LaDyne www.amazon.com/Mind-Body-Stress-Reset-Practices-Well-Being/dp/1684034272/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=rebekkah+ladyne&qid=1625222949&sr=8-1. I bought it on kindle and the kindle version gives a link to audio descriptions of all of the breathing exercises on the publisher's website plus the other somatic experiencing exercises in the book, but I guess the paperback version will probably give the link too. LaDyne's book also contains simple vagus nerve stimulation exercises, which I'm finding really good as they are, quite unexpectedly, lifting my general mood. I'm still a work in progress with the somatic experiencing exercises though, but then I only recently bought the book.
     
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  4. Cap'n Spanky

    Cap'n Spanky Well known member

    miffybunny is exactly right. There are different variations of somatic tracking/experiencing. It may be challenging to find the right fit.

    Alan Gordon does of very good job of describing the process here:
    New Program - Day 9: Somatic Tracking | TMS Forum (The Mindbody Syndrome) (tmswiki.org)

    New Program - Day 10: Somatic Tracking II: Anxiety Strikes Back | TMS Forum (The Mindbody Syndrome) (tmswiki.org)

    I personally like this guided meditation. Although it's more of a general somatic mediation and not from a TMS perspective.
    Foundations of Somatic Mindfulness | Danny Morris, Insight Timer
     
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2021
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  5. hawaii_five0

    hawaii_five0 Peer Supporter

    @BloodMoon,Thank you for your note about the Rebekkah LaDyne book, I bought it today and have been scanning thru it (Kindle). What are the exercises that you are finding helpful? Just curious. It looks the exercises are primarily in chapters 4-7.

    thanks
    James
     
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  6. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi James,
    You’ll find audio recordings for all the exercises in the book available for download via a link to the publisher's website on page 26 of the kindle book. Funnily enough, as the exercises are interspersed throughout the book, I recently went through the book to find all of the exercises -- the somatic ones and the ones for the vagus nerve -- and copied and pasted them into an easy reference kind of work sheet for myself. I'll PM this sheet to you. I've put a smiley face by the ones that I find the most helpful to me, but I think they are all good. I'd recommend still reading the whole of the book though as, if you are anything like me, you'll find Rebekkah LaDyne's words encouraging and soothing. Hope this helps. BM
     
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  7. hawaii_five0

    hawaii_five0 Peer Supporter

    Awesome! Thank you so much! I appreciate that you took the time to copy all those and PM to me. Was interested in which ones you found particularly helpful.

    Yes I am reading the whole book and I also like it. One thing I have found really interesting/surprising is that she says that meditation basically did not work for her, and even made her anxiety worse, or at least long periods of meditation. And that, despite the fact she literally taught mindful meditation previously! So I can see that the exercises are typically short periods of calm or focus on something. So this is something really similar to what David Hanscom says worked for him in his book Back in Control - that he didn't meditate per se, but did many short breaks of what he calls active meditation, basically focusing your attention on something for a minute and breathing. Although both of them also repeat that the process for everybody is individual and what works for one might not be ideal for another.
     
  8. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, I've come across this before; there's been some research where they found that it didn't help some people and that it didn't suit some people to the extent of it actually being harmful to them. I've never posted up about that research because it's such a contentious topic and I didn't want to get embroiled.

    Yes, I think LaDyne and Hanscom are quite fair about this. It's about 'horses for courses'. I know that some forum members have reported that meditation, along with an understanding of how TMS works, was the main thing, or one of the main things, that got rid of their TMS.

    Personally, I'm not a fan of 'sitting' type meditation, but I do practise 'mindfulness' meditation and I find that it definitely does work to reduce the chatter of my 'monkey mind', but hasn't helped with my TMS.

    Yes, and one of the things with some 'somatic experiencing' exercises that I personally think is profound is the aspect of calmly and gently looking around your environment to give you a sense of safety...just like a wild animal instinctively surveys it's surroundings to ensure it's in a safe place. The trouble is that when we feel fearful in our modern world, it's not usually because someone is trying to kill us with a bow and arrow, our fears are to do with other matters that we don't need to scan our surroundings for. However, the theory is that calmly and gently looking around our surroundings will still nevertheless work to help quell our fear/stress, no matter where the fear/perceived threat comes from, because it's something that continues to be innate in us. I'm saying all this, but you will have probably gleaned about it already!
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2021
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  9. Davideus85

    Davideus85 Peer Supporter

    I just had a somatic therapy session. Didn’t really do anything for me. A bunch of body awareness/scanning meditations. It was relaxing but didn’t do anything for my anxiety/depression. Maybe I’m being too impatient, I don’t know.
     
  10. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    If it's relaxing, keep doing it.
     
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  11. Davideus85

    Davideus85 Peer Supporter

    The thing is, I'm also set to do TMS therapy through the pain psychology center, and some of it may overlap, and I can't really do two therapies at once. So I'm trying to decide what to do.
     
  12. Balsa11

    Balsa11 Well known member

    Do one via the pain psychology center and one via YouTube videos
     
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  13. BloodMoon

    BloodMoon Beloved Grand Eagle

    There may be more but, out of all the 'therapies' that I've ever heard of, I know of only one type (which is supposed to rid people of physical pain) where they claim to cure or at least substantially help people after just one to two sessions (and I think that particular therapy is dubious). So, yes, imho I do think you're being impatient.

    And, I don't profess to know exactly how things are for you, but I would have thought that to find a therapy 'relaxing' when one suffers with anxiety shows some promise (albeit I've never been to somatic therapy, so I can't personally attest to its efficacy in the long term). I think perhaps a question to ask yourself is whether your TMSing brain is steering you away from something that you found relaxing because it doesn't want its 'game' to be up. I'm no expert, but I too don't see why you couldn't, as @Balsa11 helpfully suggests, do somatic experiencing exercises from YouTube videos or from a book such as Rebekkah LaDyne's or Peter Levine's (someone's put the audio version of Levine's 'Healing Trauma' on YouTube and beneath it there are links to all the exercises in the book)...I can't imagine that something that you might continue to find relaxing would interfere with going to TMS therapy - somatic experiencing exercises are designed to alleviate fear and TMS is all about fear and rage.

    Have you ever tried exercises/movements for the vagus nerve? I've been doing some particular ones each day over the last couple of weeks and they've, quite unexpectedly, lifted my mood considerably.
     
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  14. Cap'n Spanky

    Cap'n Spanky Well known member

    If it were me, I would not pass up an opportunity to work with the Pain Psychology Center.
     
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