Mary's Soma Experiences - Part One

Since many people wonder what it’s like to go through the Soma Structural Integration series work, I’d like to share some of the experiences of a real life client. I selected Mary (not her real name) because her journey was both remarkable and typical. I asked for Mary’s permission to write about her, and have omitted some personal details to protect her confidentiality.

When Mary first approached me, she had already been practicing Pilates through private sessions with Nicole at Intimate Pilates. The new core strength and body awareness had already helped immensely with her low back pain and postural issues, and she felt she was ready to add something new to spur her progress. She said the Soma work sounded “like the next step in my path to health and functioning.” In her intake papers, she said she was “feeling achey and uncomfortable in my body,” and under specific pains she listed “feet, calves, hips, upper back, neck & shoulders.” Her pain, though already greatly improved, was still preventing her from her favorite activities and making her feel generally limited in life.

After talking for a bit, Mary and I decided to start with a Somassage, which is a standalone full-body session that follows the principles of Soma without expectation of lasting results. We both felt this would be a good way to see how her body responded to the work, instead of jumping into the Structural Integration series. Also, Session 1 does not involve working directly on the calves, and on that particular day Mary was really wanting some attention in that region!

I often ask clients to stand up and sense their body halfway through the session, to help the body recognize and better incorporate any changes that have occurred. When Mary stood up during her Somassage she was taken aback by how different the worked side of her body felt, in fact she was off-balance and visibly leaning to one side. Disconcerting for the client, but something I’d seen many times before! At the end of the session she felt as though she was standing completely differently, more upright and balanced. She later reported feeling shaky and nervous for some time after the session, which she attributed to her body sensing the possibility of genuine change. Mary was intrigued, and one month later we dived into the series work together.

My next post will cover what happened during Mary’s Structural Integration sessions, so check back soon!

Carli Herrs