Mary's Soma Experiences - Part Two

Last month I posted about a client’s experiences with Somassage. This is part two of that post. Now we pick up the story where Mary went into the Series Work. The Series consists of 10-11 unique sessions, each with a specific intent, all progressing towards the overall goal of optimizing how the body stands and moves in gravity.

Session 1′s primary region is the rib cage, addressed from the sidelines and front. The intent is to open the breath, and begin the work of freeing the hips and shoulders. When Mary stood up to sense her body at the end, all she could say was that her shoulders felt big, and she again felt that sense of added lift and balance in her body. When I checked in with her the next day, I received this email:

I woke up this morning *very* sore in my neck. Specifically the back, just aound the base of the skull. Both sides. Any thoughts?…

That said, shoulders are still released, breathing feels more . . . complete? Deeper? Looser? I still have that aligned ‘hanging from a sky hook’ feeling.

The first part wasn’t exactly my favorite thing to hear, but it’s actually not all that uncommon. When we shift the way the body stands in gravity, muscles are suddenly working in new and different ways. And sometimes, something throws a hissy fit. I suspected what Mary was feeling was her sub-occipital muscles adjusting to a change in the position of her head. I asked her to sit with it for a day or so, to see if it calmed down on its own. She did. Her next email said that she missed work the day after Session 1 because of that pain, then woke up the following day with no pain at all. She said she’d felt “remarkable” ever since, with a big difference in her shoulders, low back, balance, and most notably her hips.

Sessions 2 (feet & lower legs) and 3 (sidelines, particular focus on low back and shoulders) had more minor ups and downs, generally with continued decrease in her various aches and pains and a very positive outlook on her progress. Session 3 zeroed in on some of her primary areas of difficulty and she reported that her right hip was very sore afterwards.

This brings us to Sessions 4-6, what we Soma practitioners call the “core” sessions. Here is where we seek to balance the many pulls on the pelvis coming from the front, sides and back, above and below. We always advise clients to avoid spacing these sessions too far apart, as they are so closely intertwined, and it is possible for the body to experience some upset along the lines of what Mary went through after Session 1. In Mary’s case, there was no major upset, but she was a little concerned to feel some old problems (hips & shoulders) cropping up again after Session 5. This is also fairly common, and resolved after Session 6.

At this point, Mary headed off on an extended trip overseas. Many weeks later I received an email saying she was back, but unable to resume the series as planned for personal reasons. The email went on as follows:

...however, there is good news: I feel FANTASTIC. The knots in my shoulder blades are gone. My posture is much improved. I walked all over [during the trip], interspersed with hours of being in a car seat, and had randomly different types of mattresses to sleep on — and I felt great all the time. Our SOMA work was absolutely a najor contributor to my well-being…I hope to be back in the late Fall to finish the sessions — living pain free has been remarkable.

So that concludes Mary’s journey for now. Someday in the future we’ll finish the series together and I’ll write about it then. In the meantime, if this brings up questions, maybe about the series or individual sessions, please post them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them for you!

Carli Herrs