the Voice and the Body

"Bodywork is anything that works on the body itself and helps a person become more able to perceive through the five senses . Bodywork allows the singer to release physical tensions, move more freely, feel more fully, and breathe more deeply, and also increases one's awareness of sensations. It amplifies one's trust of the body and its reponses. Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method is a way of working on all aspects of the voice so that the singer (or speaker) may increase awareness of sound-making as a physical process. The singer becomes more able to sense the throat and effect changes without manipulation and increases intuition about vocal choices. Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method is influenced by the principles of Alexander Technique™, Feldenkrais Method™, Swedish massage, shiatsu, acupuncture, Rolfing™, Bioenergetics™, and Therapeutic Touch™, as well as other healing disciplines."

#1 Somatic Psychotherapy is....................

As I work with clients I find that how I explain Somatics evolves. Lately I have been describing the process as follows. The somatic process is Emotionally Focused work. By focusing our emotions we are able to glean valuable information from them about our selves and our relationships. This information is culturally marginalized and not highlighted as important, yet our emotions provide us with meaning, feeling, navigation, and a sense of ourselves. Emotions are bodily events, movements, sensations, the feeling of heat, the feeling of sorrow, and each of these can be seen and felt through the nerves, flesh, posture, guts, etc. We spend a lot of time in our culture focusing the talents of the mind. If the mind/reason could figure out and resolve emotional themes, then psychology would not exist and we would have a different looking culture. The mind is not so equipped at resolving emotional patterns. Emotions deal with our being, with a timeless sense of our felt and lived experience. This is why some emotions are patterns that we continually revisit which gives the feeling that we have always been here. When it comes to reason and thinking, it is much more "Do" oriented, action, linear, moving forward in a progressive line. Somatics nurtures our innate capacity to focus our feelings, much like we do with the mind, by focusing of the raw sensations of the feeling and seeking what the feeling is saying. The language of emotions speaks very differently, but through focusing on the raw feeling of the emotion one can really make changes based on the felt experience of the meaning and need of the emotion. For instance sorrow is felt in many locations in the body and can be a cue that perhaps one is lonely, cut off from others, unable to speak ones truth, etc. Through focusing emotions people find their own solutions to tricky situations by listening in to the vital information of their bodily experience of feeling. So what about numbness? This too is a cue. Perhaps the numbness is a feeling that is cutting off emotions, which again is important information pointing to a fear of feeling. This is at least what i am thinking about today.

What is mind body medicine?

What is Mind Body Medicine?
The Benson-Henry Institute's work is based on the inseparable connection between the mind and the body - the complicated interactions that take place among thoughts, the body, and the outside world. Mind/body medicine integrates modern scientific medicine, psychology, nutrition, exercise physiology and belief to enhance the natural healing capacities of body and mind. The end result is self-care, a complement to the conventional medical paths of surgery and pharmaceuticals.

The Institute's mind/body interventions are scientifically proven, and have the same foundation in traditional medicine as surgery and pharmaceuticals, as opposed to alternative medicine that is not scientifically validated.

Dr. Benson has long described health and well-being as a three-legged stool. One leg is drugs, the second is surgical procedures, and the third is self-care.

Mind/body medicine is the third leg that incorporates all of the following:

The relaxation response
Positive coping strategies (cognitive behavioral therapy)
Physical activity
Social support
Studies show that between 60% and 90% of all physician visits are for stress-related complaints. Through more than 35 years of research and clinical practice, Herbert Benson, MD and his colleagues have proven the effectiveness of mind/body medicine in helping thousands of men and women reduce the stress that can cause or exacerbate conditions such as heart disease, infertility, gastrointestinal disorders, chronic pain, and more.

The mind/body connection interaction has important implications for the way we view illness and treat disease. The BHI's model takes into account that physical health is influenced by thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and conversely, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors can be influenced by physical symptoms. Social factors are important as well.

Mind body medicine teaches individuals how to take control of their lives, use their own healing power to reduce stress and other negative behaviors and thoughts, and thus maintain or regain health.

Wilhelm Reich Link and the spread of his work

Another good Somatic link

Acupressure and emotional processing

"About Soul Lightening Acupressure
Acupressure is the practice of applying hand or finger pressure to specific energetic or conductive points on the body. It is based upon the same ancient principles as the art of acupuncture, except that it uses the softer form of curved finger pressure on the points. Recipients of this work report feeling nurtured and supported.

In the spirit of Seva (compassionate service) we believe the individuals who receive and/or practice this deep and effective tool for healing will have a positive, healthy impact upon their families, their communities, and the world. As more and more individuals come into harmony within their own being, the balancing effect on their families and their communities expands as well."

Zero Balancing

"Developed by Fritz Smith, MD in the early 1970s, Zero Balancing is a powerful body-mind therapy that uses skilled touch to address the relationship between energy and structures of the body. Following a protocol that typically lasts 30 to 45 minutes, the practitioner uses finger pressure and gentle traction on areas of tension in the bones, joints and soft tissue to create fulcrums, or points of balance, around which the body can relax and reorganize.

Zero Balancing focuses primarily on key joints of our skeleton that conduct and balance forces of gravity, posture and movement. By addressing the deepest and densest tissues of the body along with soft tissue and energy fields, Zero Balancing helps to clear blocks in the body’s energy flow, amplify vitality and contribute to better postural alignment. A Zero Balancing session leaves you with a wonderful feeling of inner harmony and organization."

On Pierre Janet (1859-1947)

"In presenting his model of the mind, Janet distinguished between two different ways that mind functions: activities that preserve and reproduce the past and activities which are directed towards synthesis and creation (i.e., integration). [emphasis added] Normal thought is produced by a combination of the two acts which are interdependent and regulate each other.

Integrative activity "reunites more or less numerous given phenomena into a new phenomenon different from its elements. At every moment of life, this activity effectuates new combinations which are necessary to maintain the organism in equilibrium with the changes of the surroundings." 1n short, this function organizes the present. Reproductive activities only manifest integrations that were created in the past.

Janet felt psychological automatism was best studied in individuals who exhibit it in extreme degrees -- psychiatric patients suffering from hysteria. In them, the integrative activity is significantly diminished, causing the development of symptoms that appear as magnifications of the activity designed to preserve and reproduce the past. Janet discovered that most of them suffered from unresolved (and therefore, dissociated) traumatic memories. In this population he studied catalepsy, paralysis, anesthesia, contractures, monoideic and polyideic somnambulisms, and successive existences (as he then termed multiple personalities). His analysis represented a departure from classical psychology which made a sharp distinction among intellect, affect and will."

Somatic education Article

"“A somatic approach to education integrates, as an existential whole, the experiential history of individuals with their current experience. It implies an education that trusts individuals to learn from their ability to attend and to listen to the information they are receiving from the interaction of self with the environment” (Sellers-Young 1998, p. 176). Somatic or embodied knowing is experiential knowledge that involves senses, perception, and mind/body action and reaction (Matthews 1998). Western culture has been dominated by the separation of cognitive knowledge from embodied knowledge and the distrust and denigration of bodily knowing (Simon 1998). More recently, developments in mind/body research (Weiss 2001) and feminist and postmodernist discourse (Davis 1997; Green 2000) have turned the attention of adult educators to somatic learning."

Nice Somatic therapist site in Australia

"Emotions with a mind of their own

‘[w]e are somatic creatures, living in bodies, having emotions, bathed by sensations, at times bubbling and simmering, at times dawdling and eddying, hot and cold, nervous and calm, fearful and yearning, hungry and satiated.' Arnold Weinstein in 'A Scream Goes Through The House'."

David Rothenberg

a review of his work:

"David Rothenberg
Thousand Mile Song: Whale Music in a Sea of Sound
(comes with CD)
Basic Books

I realize that a review for a book focusing on whale songs might seem a bit strange, maybe even out of place on a world music site. However, musician and author (of several books including "Why Birds Sing: A Journey Into the Mystery of Birdsong"), David Rothenberg brings us another dimension. And he brings up the concept that non-human creatures enjoy listening to and making music as much as humans. And for many readers such myself this seems like a manifestation of one of those wild childhood dreams.

Depending on your level of rationality, you could say that I and others who think along these lines are anthropomorphizing or you might just consider that creatures such as birds and whales have been singing since the beginning of time. I won’t start philosophizing because I am not that good at it. Instead, I encourage you to read Rothenberg’s thoroughly engaging books. He is good at philosophy and putting all the pieces together in a unique puzzle."

The Sensual World Re-emerges by Eleanor Lerman

What you think is that you might
be sick. I think that I might be, too
with something that is a big disease:
estrangement, nostalgia, a condition
that waxes and wanes while you
consider what it all means. While you
wash your hair. While you make
the bed and make it again and again

Well, we have to face it: gone
are the days of the great blondes
in winter kitchens making soup,
of living in the country, of casting
spells. Of pulling roots and flowers
from the ground in the belief that only
loving hands can make the harvest

in which the world will finally change
It will not change. It is not the natural way
"The world" does not get better or worse,
it simply slides away. Blinks, forgets,
ignores all our hard work (think of the hours
in the library, studying magic) and then

enters a new phase. It feels
no responsibility to warn us that
all we can do is unburden ourselves
of the superfluous, lay down in the
fabric of everyday life and wait

For what? Picture the
unimaginable: being stalked
by a ghost with a death ray,
being saved by a Vulcan kiss

Picture tomorrow. Step out
of it. Now you are cured

Alan Fogel's work

The title of his new book is:

The Psychophysiology of Self-Awareness: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Body Sense

On Somatics from Don Hanlon Johnson's new web site

"Somatics is a generative concept like “cognitive science," "ecology," or QiGong, names whose function is to create possibilities of collaboration among communities that otherwise stand isolated from each other, often in competition and conflict. For example, Reichian bioenergetics, Rolfing, and hatha yoga once seemed worlds apart. Now with the help of this new paradigm, we can now see how each can augment and make more effective the practice of the others. The elaboration of this idea has created a worldwide community whose members, remaining typically grounded in their own unique contexts of skill and service, profit from the contributions of the others. The word itself derives from the ancient Greek soma, once used to describe the whole person."

This is a great new website:

A short documentary that I am in

Fairhaven College Documentary from Nick Mikula on Vimeo.


Children are living beings - more living than grown-up people who have built shells of habit around themselves. Therefore it is absolutely necessary for their mental health and development that they should not have mere schools for their lessons, but a world whose guiding spirit is personal love.

~ Rabindranath Tagore

Surgeon General's Report

"Promoting mental health for all Americans will require scientific know-how but, even more importantly, a societal resolve that we will make the needed investment. The investment does not call for massive budgets; rather, it calls for the willingness of each of us to educate ourselves and others about mental health and mental illness, and thus to confront the attitudes, fear, and misunderstanding that remain as barriers before us. It is my intent that this report will usher in a healthy era of mind and body for the Nation."

David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D.
Surgeon General

Interview with Peter Levine

Peter A. Levine received a Ph.D. in medical biophysics from the University of California at Berkeley, and a doctorate in psychology from International University. He is the developer of Somatic Experiencing® and founder of the Foundation for Human Enrichment. He teaches throughout the world. Dr. Levine was a stress consultant for NASA on the development of the space shuttle project. He was a member of the Institute of World Affairs Task Force of “Psychologists for Social Responsibility” and served on the APA “Presidential Initiative on responding to large scale disasters and ethno-political warfare”.
Peter wrote: “Waking the Tiger,” “Healing Trauma, A Pioneering Program for Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body,” “Trauma through a Child’s Eyes; Awakening the Ordinary Miracle of Healing,” “Trauma-Proofing your Kids; A Parents Guide for Instilling Confidence, Joy and Resilience.” Coming up this September: “In an Unspoken Voice, How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness.”

The edge and Freeman Dyson

Dyson continued to articulate his vision for a new age of biology in a related article ("When Science & Poetry Were Friends") in New York Review of Books in which he wrote:

"...a new generation of artists, writing genomes as fluently as Blake and Byron wrote verses, might create an abundance of new flowers and fruit and trees and birds to enrich the ecology of our planet. Most of these artists would be amateurs, but they would be in close touch with science, like the poets of the earlier Age of Wonder. The new Age of Wonder might bring together wealthy entrepreneurs like Venter and Kamen ... and a worldwide community of gardeners and farmers and breeders, working together to make the planet beautiful as well as fertile, hospitable to hummingbirds as well as to humans."

Acute stress leaves epigenetic marks on the hippocampus

Acute stress leaves epigenetic marks on the hippocampus

ScienceDaily (Jan. 4, 2010) — In trying to explain psychiatric disorders, genes simply cannot tell the whole story. The real answers are in the interaction of genes and the environment. Post-traumatic stress disorder requires some trauma, for instance, and people, for the most part, aren't born depressed. Now research has revealed one mechanism by which a stressful experience changes the way that genes are expressed in the rat brain. The discovery of "epigenetic" regulation of genes in the brain is helping change the way scientists think about psychiatric disorders and could open new avenues to treatment.