Somatic Re-Education (SRE) is gentle, non-invasive body work that allows the body to return to proper alignment through positional release. Rather than using force to move bones back into position or muscles to let go, SRE allows the body to complete neural messages by being placed into a position of comfort, in the direction the body wants to go. There is no thrust or impulse to force the manipulation. Once the neural messages are complete, the patient experiences more ease of motion, better blood flow, and greater comfort. This Osteopathic technique is especially effective for patients who spasms easily or are sensitive to pain.
SRE was developed by Arthur Pauls, DO, in 1976 and is based on Lawrence Jones’ work, Spontaneous Release by Positioning, a non-forceful manipulation that exaggerates the position of the lesion to encourage spontaneous release. In his own research, Dr. Pauls found that using more subtle exaggeration of the position meant he could work with patients with high pain levels, and achieved spontaneous release that held well. Dr. Pauls drew on his experience with Martial Arts philosophy of Balance and Homeopathy theory “Less is more” to complete his methods.
Dr. Pauls’ techniques of Somatic Re-Education are a way to rebalance the body by completing neural messages that are stuck, for whatever reason. Once stagnant messages are complete, new messages can travel the neural pathway. This allows more freedom of movement and reduction of pain. The body is re-educated to the natural balance that our fast paced, hurried life styles can caused us to forget. Patient and practitioner work together through feedback and positioning. Communication is used to locate the preferred posture or position of greater comfort so that it can be slightly exaggerated, and create change at a rate that is safe and comfortable for the patient.
The SRE movements are loose, gentle and subtle. Range of motion is explored to find the ease of motion; improve elasticity of motion; and to remind the body what it already knows and increase that awareness. Natural spiral motions are tracked to locate imbalances and suggest movements to affect rebalance. Trigger points are engaged gently to allow for release often accompanied by a slight sensation of a pulse, heat, or change in breathing. Fixed areas are gently rocked to locate areas of motion that can be slightly exaggerated, allowing for more motion and release. All motion is subtle, allowing for self-healing, and balance.
Dr. Susan Andersen has been practicing SRE since 2000 as her major form of physical medicine. She studied the full curriculum of SRE at National College of Naturopathic Medicine, in Portland, and has received advance training through seminars and intensives..