Photo: Syd Wachs



Assisted Pandiculation

The version of pandiculation (see below) used in a hands-on one-to-one sessions. The practitioner’s hands give specific touch feedback to the movement of the client, which greatly accelerates the change potential within a session.


Abbreviation for Certified Clinical Somatic Educator, the certification title awarded by Somatic Systems Institute and Essential Somatics, LLC and involving clinical training with hands-on techniques and clinical protocols in the tradition of Thomas Hanna, PhD, that spans a three-year period.


Abbreviation for Certified Hanna Somatic Educator, the certification title awarded by Novato Institute, involving a clinical training with hands-on techniques and clinical protocols in the tradition of Thomas Hanna, PhD, that spans a three-year period.


Abbreviation for Essential Somatics Movement Teacher Training, a one-year certification training for skills to teach somatic movement classes with introduction to theory, anatomy, and neuroscience relative to this work.


The connective tissue and flexible architecture that connects the bones, muscles, and organs in our body. The fascia has a sensory connection to the brain but not a motor connection to it, like the muscles have. Fascia includes the sacks that wrap the muscles, the tendons, ligaments, and tissue covering the bones.


An inflammatory condition that presents as chronic pain, often in specific trigger point areas and patterns, and can increase or decrease in intensity in phases, in response to stress and other stimuli. Polymyalgia presents similarly. Hanna Somatics can be very helpful for both of thses—as it addresses the state of the muscles, reducing chronic tension and calming the nervous system—effectively reducing stress.

Full Body Patterns

Full body patterns are addressed in Hanna Somatics work, which does not just focus on the area of concern. The nervous system is in concert with itself at every moment, each part affecting the whole and vice versa. We work with the big picture because that’s the way the brain and nervous system are designed.

Hanna Somatics

The body of somatic work and techniques first created by the late neuromuscular pioneer, Thomas Hanna, PhD. Clinical Somatics and Essential Somatics are interchangeable terms used to refer to this work and techniques. This work is a movement practice with positive affects to all systems of the body. It is a hands-on technique and a comprehensive system for addressing and changing the contractive patterns that are the imprint of trauma, both physical and emotional.

Movement Sequences

Also referred to as somatic exercises. These are the building blocks of the movement practice and can address practically any muscle group. A varied repertory of somatic movement used as a daily practice can calm the nervous system, improve postural issues, take pain away, and keep the body mobile with more control and sensation. It can be used on its own or as a perfect preparation for athletic activity, or to calm the system at night for better quality sleep. A hands-on session will include the learning of somatic movements relative to that particular session so as to change the short-term learning of a session into long-term learning and new neuro-habits, resulting in long lasting change.


A technique for re-patterning the brain-to-muscle function developed by the late neuromuscular pioneer, Thomas Hanna, PhD. He borrowed the name from an existing veterinary term which refers to the natural and reflexive movement that animals (humans included) do to reset their nervous systems, such as yawning, morning stretch, etc. His technique is based on this natural movement but also differs, bringing in the frontal cortex with voluntary, slow, controlled action. Pandiculation dominates Clinical Somatic Education because of its effectiveness but is only one of several techniques we use.

Reciprocal Inhibition

(abbr.: RI) A technique used in many modalities. It involves contracting a muscle against resistance to turn off the opposing muscle group. It is useful in taking a muscle out of crisis or spasm and is used in Hanna Somatics work in combination with pandiculation. In Hanna Somatics, we use RI alongside various other methods of speaking to the brain for a rich variety of educational potentials and changes for the nervous system.


Presents as pain in the back of the hip and/or down the leg. It is caused by compression of the sciatic nerve either at the spine source in the lumbar spine or at the piriformis muscle, mid-center, deep hip area on either side of the sacrum. Somatic techniques can be very helpful for sciatica.


A diagnosis describing postural distortion in the form of lateral or side-bending curves of the spine. The cause and nature of the scoliosis can vary widely, including structural, such as malformation of bones in utero or one leg longer than the other. It can also be muscular contractive patterns holding the spine in curves that are a result of imprint of trauma (physical or emotional), work habits, and other causes. In all of the above, Hanna Somatics work can be extremely helpful for both improving movement, proprioception (see above), and chronic pain, It sometimes creates measurable change in the spinal curves or at least prevents increase in the curves, which tend to increase with age if left unattended.

Sensory Motor Amnesia

(abbr.: SMA) Professor Hanna identified SMA—the response of the brain to traumas and stresses—which is a habituation of the muscle in a contracted state and loss of some of the voluntary control of and sensation in the muscle. The techniques of Hanna Somatics work recalibrate the brain with the tissue to restore range of motion and intelligence to the body.


The word that Professor Hanna borrowed from the Greek language to describe the living, thinking, body—the human as experienced from the first-person perspective. Professor Hanna spoke of the infinite potential for change for humans when they engage as self-sensing, self-changing organisms.


Often used as a shortcut term to describe Hanna Somatics work.


Abbreviation for temporal mandibular joint, the connection of the hinge of the jaw to the skull under the ear area. TMJ syndrome is the name for chronic tension, pain, and/or misalignment of this joint. Somatics can be very helpful for TMJ syndrome and related issues in that area. When the neck, jaw, and head muscles are re-patterned to an optimum resting length with somatics work, it restores alignment, mobility, and circulation to the muscles and joints involved.