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Somatic Movement vs. Traditional Physical Therapy: Which is Better for Chronic Pain?

Somatic movement and traditional physical therapy are both effective in treating chronic pain, but they differ in their approach to the problem.

Somatic movement therapy focuses on gentle movements and body awareness to release muscle tension and alleviate pain. The goal is to retrain the brain to “reset” the muscles to their natural state, which can help relieve chronic pain. Somatic movement is a full-body education program that does not concentrate on one specific area.

Traditional physical therapy, on the other hand, uses a variety of exercises and techniques to strengthen and stretch muscles, improve range of motion, and promote healing. This may involve manual therapy, such as massage or joint mobilization, as well as exercises to improve strength, flexibility, and balance.

While both approaches can be effective for chronic pain, somatic movement therapy may be more beneficial for certain conditions, such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and other conditions where the origin of the pain may be difficult to pinpoint. Somatic movement treats the entire system for functional balance including the nervous system which controls stress and relaxation.

Somatic movement therapy can also be helpful for people who have experienced trauma, as it focuses on empowering the individual to reconnect with their body and feel more in control of their pain.

Ultimately, the choice between somatic movement and traditional physical therapy will depend on the individual’s specific needs and preferences. Many clients see faster and more effective results using a combination of the two. It may be helpful to consult with a healthcare professional to determine which approach would be best for your situation.


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