“All machines make a sound when they’re working well: a cat purrs, a sewing machine hums, a violin sings. The human body is both a machine and an instrument. The sounds it makes when it is working well is the “sound” of wellbeing: peace within, comfort and ease. The aim of Somatic Stretch® is to activate that sound.”
– Lilian Jarvis and Meredith Sands Keator
While all bodywork programs have in common the goal of improving the overall condition of the body, Somatic Stretch uses the stretch reflex in a cooperative way to affect the body at a deeper level than you’ll find in other modalities. This allows for greater relaxation and increased flexibility of the muscles and joints. Beyond the beginning level, alignment and internal strengthening prepare the body for proper posture and weight support, removing strain and fatigue from compressed joints and tissues.
To reduce the stretch reflex, Somatic Stretch® exercises are not goal oriented. They’re not about “touching your toes” or getting into extreme positions. Instead, the focus is on drawing the mind inward and becoming aware of the sensation that each exercise produces. This is done by learning to relax the whole body when stretching and, with strengthening exercises, by focusing energy only into the muscles that are being strengthened and leaving the rest of the body as relaxed, or uninvolved, as possible.