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What Is Somatic Therapy? Healing Trauma Stored In The Body

Somatic therapy is an innovative approach that emphasizes the mind-body connection in healing from trauma and other psychological conditions. It recognizes that traumatic experiences are not just stored in our minds, but are also held within our bodies, often manifesting as depression, chronic pain, inflammation, and illness. This therapy utilizes techniques like breathwork, movement, and mindfulness to release the physical tension and emotional pain associated with trauma. By addressing these somatic manifestations, it aims to restore balance and promote overall well-being, offering a holistic path to healing. At Innerbloom Ketamine Therapy in San Luis Obispo, we wholeheartedly embrace a multifaceted approach to wellness, understanding that integrating multiple treatment modalities for mental and physical health conditions fosters more robust and enduring change. By combining therapies such as IV ketamine with complementary practices like somatic therapy, patients may experience improved results.

What is Somatic Therapy?

Somatic therapy involves working directly with the body to release pent-up stress and trauma. Many people suffer from years of “stuffing down” their emotions and feelings. This therapy uses various techniques such as breathwork, movement, and mindfulness to help individuals un-pack, process and heal from traumatic experiences. By addressing the physical manifestations of psychological issues, somatic therapy aims to restore balance, enhancing both mental and physical health.

The Mind-Body Connection

Trauma can register within our bodies on a cellular level, impacting our physical health and well-being. Somatic therapy aims to address these deep-seated issues by focusing on body awareness and the physical manifestations of stress and trauma. This holistic approach can be particularly effective for those who have not found relief through traditional talk therapy alone.

Research has shown a significant connection between serious trauma and the development of chronic diseases. For instance, individuals who have experienced four or more Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are significantly more likely to develop various chronic conditions. According to a comprehensive study, these individuals are 2 to 2.3 times more likely to suffer from stroke, cancer, or heart disease, and 3.2 times more likely to develop chronic lower respiratory diseases compared to those without such experiences​ (CTHC at UCSF)​​ (KQED)​. Additionally, unaddressed trauma has been identified as a root cause for many preventable illnesses, contributing to eight of the ten leading causes of death, including diabetes, lung disease, and kidney disease​ (CTHC at UCSF)​.

Harvard Health explains, "Somatic therapy explores how the body expresses deeply painful experiences, applying mind-body healing to aid with trauma recovery." By paying attention to physical sensations and bodily responses, therapists can help clients uncover and process underlying emotional issues.

Techniques in Somatic Therapy

The therapist will begin with a conversation to understand the client's history, current issues, and goals for therapy. This helps to establish a safe and trusting environment. Clients are encouraged to focus on their physical sensations and bodily experiences during the discussion. This awareness is crucial for identifying where trauma might be held in the body. Somatic therapists use a range of techniques to facilitate healing, including:

  1. Breathwork: Controlled breathing exercises help regulate the nervous system and reduce stress.
  2. Movement and Exercise: Physical activities can release tension and promote emotional expression.
  3. Mindfulness and Meditation: These practices enhance body awareness and help clients stay present in the moment.
  4. Touch and Massage: Gentle touch can be used to soothe and release muscle tension associated with trauma.

Benefits of Somatic Therapy

Somatic therapy has a multitude of benefits and can be life-changing for those dealing with trauma and chronic stress and pain. Some of the key benefits include:

  • Enhanced Emotional Regulation: By learning to connect with and understand their bodily sensations, clients can better manage their emotional responses.
  • Reduced Physical Symptoms: Many people experience a decrease in physical symptoms such as chronic pain, headaches, and gastrointestinal issues as they work through their trauma.
  • Improved Mental Health: Clients often report a reduction in symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
  • Greater Self-Awareness: Somatic therapy fosters a deeper understanding of the mind-body connection, leading to greater self-awareness and personal growth.

Ketamine and Somatic Therapy: Healing for the Mind and Body

Somatic therapy can be an excellent complement for individuals undergoing IV ketamine therapy, as both modalities focus on the mind-body connection and holistic healing. While IV ketamine therapy can rapidly alleviate symptoms of depression and PTSD by altering brain chemistry and promoting neuroplasticity, somatic therapy can further address the physical manifestations of trauma and stress within the body. By combining these treatments, patients can experience a more integrated healing process: ketamine helps reset and stabilize mood at the neurological level, while somatic therapy facilitates the release of stored physical tension and emotional pain. This synergistic approach can enhance overall treatment outcomes, leading to more profound and sustained mental health improvements.


Somatic therapy offers a powerful and well rounded approach to healing that integrates the body and mind. By addressing the physical manifestations of trauma, individuals can achieve profound emotional and psychological healing. Pairing IV ketamine therapy with a body based healing practice like somatic therapy can provide more holistic, long term healing. As the field of mental health continues to evolve, somatic therapy stands out as a promising option for those seeking comprehensive and lasting relief from the effects of trauma in the body.

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