Soma is the Greek word for body, and in biology, it refers to the bulb-shaped end of a neuron that contains the cell nucleus. The soma of a neuron thus refers to the cell body. Somato emotional release therapy refers to a massage or touch technique, combined with verbal suggestions that attempts to merge the disconnected energies of the physical, emotional and intellectual centers in the body.
A concept like this may be difficult to understand without an example. Cells and tissues store memories related to various experiences. A small memory of an injury, for example, is stored in the tissue of the affected part, despite proper healing. This may be in the shape of small protective contraction in the body part. Somato therapy is based on tissue memory. Somato emotional release therapy attempts to fully adjudicate this memory. It is often used for resolution of problems related to physical injuries and challenging life experiences including grief, emotional distress and other psychosomatic illnesses.
Proponents of somato emotional release suggest that a positive mental attitude helps a lot in restoring emotional health, but total resolution is not always possible due to the residual effects. As a therapy, it attempts to provide relief to the mind and body from the residual effects of emotional and physical trauma.
Somato emotional therapy uses manual as well as verbal skills to remove residuary patterns formed in body tissue and the mind. It combines mind-body techniques like tai chi, empathetic touch, breathing techniques, and movement mobilization. Bodywork techniques are also used to treat soft tissue dysfunction, dialogue, visualization and expressions to interact with patients.
The techniques used by somato emotional release are well known. Somato emotional release therapy is a definitive packaging of various accredited therapies like yoga, meditation, positive thinking and ‘talk therapy’. Tai chi is an ancient Chinese system of slow meditative physical exercise designed for relaxation, mind-body balance and general health. The benefits that massage and touch therapy provides for emotional release too are well known. Verbal dialogue and visualization are part and parcel of psychiatric therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy.
All these therapies are known to be effective singly. Used together, these can prove to be extremely beneficial. However, treating emotional and psychological problems should be done by specialists only. The human mind is a mystery that has still not been unraveled totally. Many times, improper treatments can lead to further confusion rather than providing comfort.