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"Somatic Expression is best understood through personal experience. In a session, you explore a range of possibilities with the five somatic technologies and bring habitual patterns of moving, feeling and thinking to the surface where they can be unraveled and transformed."

Jamie McHugh was filmed by the team at Sacred Science in 2016 for a series on accessible healing techniques. View his introduction to Somatic Expression® here


Somatics (a term coined by philosopher Thomas Hanna in the 1970s from the Greek, soma, body) is a contemporary approach to understanding and inhabiting the human body from the inside out. Somatics integrates your subjective sensate experience of being a body with the objective, biological and functional wisdom of nature. It is the confluence of “the body” and “my body”, your biology (the inheritance from nature) as well as your psychology (the lived experience of your body).

Somatics is a big tent that includes a wide range of approaches from movement re-education to body-centered psychotherapy, including: Alexander Technique, Body-Mind Centering, Continuum Movement, Feldenkrais, Hakomi, Laban/Bartenieff Movement Studies, Rosen Bodywork, and Somatic Experiencing among others.

The underlying intention of all these approaches is to live a fuller, more embodied life by being attentive and responsive to your body’s signals and messages. Whether in the service of efficient movement or awareness of one’s emotional states, the field of Somatics is advancing a fairly radical viewpoint in Western culture: your body is just as worthy as your mind of phenomenological consideration and personal inquiry.

The closest related field we have to Somatics in contemporary culture is meditation, or mindfulness practice. In both Somatics and meditation, we bring conscious attention to how we are in ourselves; we are equally the perceiver and the perceived! I am my body perceiving my body, and since my body is an instrument of perception, the more care and attention I give my soma, the more fine-tuned my perception can become, leading to "deep listening" and "deep seeing", as Buddhist philosophers would call it. **

Somatic Expression®

I approach Somatics as the art and craft of conscious, creative and compassionate relationship with one’s own body.

In my research on various somatic approaches, breath, vocalization, contact, stillness, and movement were consistently revealed as the five fundamental technologies embedded in us by nature for physiological and psychological health. Somatic Expression® combines these five objective technologies with subjective personal expression. This method for integrating bodily intelligence into daily life addresses both the functional and the expressive, making Somatic Expression applicable to healthcare, education and the performing arts.

Somatic Expression is best understood through personal experience. In a session, you activate your body with the five technologies; sense and listen to your body’s feedback from that input; and cultivate an easy back and forth dialogue between top-down input and bottom-up response. Through self-observation and action, this person-centered inquiry increases your bodily literacy, generating a more satisfying and empowered relationship with your own inner ecosystem.

** To further this connection, I have developed a somatic-expressive approach to contemplative practice that I call Embodied Mindfulness.