Somatic Exercises to Release Trauma: A Comprehensive Guide



Getting hurt inside can really mess you up. It can affect how you feel, how you think, and even how your body works. But there’s a way to heal. Instead of just talking about it, there are exercises that focus on how your body feels. They’re called somatic exercises. This guide will show you what somatic exercises are all about and how they can help you feel better after going through tough times.

somatic exercises to release trauma
somatic exercises to release trauma

Understanding Somatic Exercises

Somatic exercises are activities that help your mind and body work together. Instead of just talking, like in regular therapy, somatic exercises involve moving your body to deal with emotions and stress. These exercises help your body heal itself and feel better, making you feel safer and more in control.

The Importance of Addressing Trauma through Somatic Exercises

Experiencing something really bad can really affect your body, causing things like feeling tight, hurting, or even getting sick for a long time. Talking about it in therapy can help, but sometimes it’s not enough to deal with how your body reacts to the bad stuff that happened. Doing exercises that focus on your body can help you let go of the feelings, memories, and sensations tied to those bad experiences.

Advantages of Somatic Exercises for Releasing Trauma

  1. Emotional Release: Somatic exercises create a safe and supportive environment for individuals to access and express the emotions that may have been suppressed or buried due to trauma. This release can lead to a sense of relief, healing, and increased emotional awareness.
  2. Getting to Know Your Body Better: When something bad happens, you might feel like you’re not really in touch with your own body anymore. This can make you feel weak and like you’re not connected to yourself. Doing exercises that focus on feeling your body can help you get that connection back. It can make you feel like you’re in charge again, both physically and emotionally.
  3. Improved Stress Management: Trauma can be a significant source of ongoing stress and anxiety. Somatic exercises provide practical tools and techniques for managing these stressful responses, promoting a greater sense of calm and resilience.
  4. Improved Self-Control: Body exercises help people learn how to control their body and feelings better, so they can handle the things that remind them of bad experiences.
  5. Getting your mind and body to work together better: Somatic exercises help bring harmony and balance back after tough times, making you feel more complete and happier.

Commonly Used Somatic Exercises for Trauma Release

  1. Breathing Exercises: Paying attention to your breath and how you breathe can make you feel relaxed, reduce body stress, and let out your feelings.
  2. Soft Movements: Doing gentle movements slowly, like in yoga or Tai Chi, can relax your muscles and make you feel more connected to your body.
  3. Body Scans: Paying close attention to different parts of your body and how they feel can help you notice any tightness or discomfort.

4. Sensory Awareness: Using your senses like touch, hearing, or smell can make you feel more present and safe.

5. Somatic Meditation: Doing simple activities that focus on staying present, feeling your body, and moving gently can make your mind and body work better together, helping you feel calm and in control.

Incorporating Somatic Exercises into Your Trauma Healing Journey

Engaging in somatic exercises as part of your trauma healing journey can be a powerful and transformative experience. Below are a few pointers to kick-start your journey:

  1. Start Slowly: Trauma can be deeply sensitive and overwhelming, so it’s important to approach somatic exercises with patience and self-compassion. Begin with gentle, low-intensity practices and gradually increase the intensity as you become more comfortable.
  2. Find a Qualified Practitioner: While some somatic exercises can be practiced on your own, it’s often beneficial to work with a trained somatic therapist or practitioner who can guide you through the process and provide a safe, supportive environment.
  3. Listen to Your Body: Tune in to your body’s signals and sensations during your somatic practice. If something feels uncomfortable or triggering, honor that and make adjustments or take a break as needed.
  4. Incorporate Grounding Techniques: Somatic exercises can sometimes bring up powerful emotions or memories. Having a repertoire of grounding techniques, such as deep breathing or progressive muscle relaxation, can help you stay present and anchored.
  5. Be Patient and Persistent: Healing from trauma is a journey, not a destination. Embrace the process, celebrate small victories, and be patient with yourself as you continue to explore and integrate somatic exercises into your life.
somatic exercises to release trauma
somatic exercises to release trauma


Doing exercises that work with your body can really help you feel better after going through hard times. These exercises can help your body, feelings, and mind get back to a good place. They use your body’s natural ability to heal itself. They can make you feel less affected by what happened and more like yourself again. Whether you’re just starting out with these exercises or you’ve been doing them for a while, this guide has given you a good look at how helpful they can be. Try out somatic exercises and see how they can make your life better, helping you feel more free, true to yourself, and happy.


  1. What is the difference between somatic exercises and traditional talk therapy?

Somatic exercises help connect how our bodies feel with our emotions and thoughts. Regular talk therapy mostly involves talking and thinking. But somatic exercises let people directly deal with their emotions, memories, and sensations from tough times.

  1. How long does it take to see results from somatic exercises?

How long it takes to feel better from doing somatic exercises is different for everyone. It depends on you, how bad your trauma is, and how often you do the exercises. Some people feel much better after a few times, but others need more time. You have to be patient and keep doing the exercises regularly. Getting better takes time, and everyone’s journey is different.

  1. Can somatic exercises be practiced on my own, or do I need to work with a practitioner?

You can do somatic exercises by yourself or with help from a trained person. Some simple exercises can become part of your daily routine. But it’s really helpful to work with someone who knows about somatic therapy. They can create a safe space for you, give you personal advice, and help you with difficult parts of healing.

  1. Are there any contraindications or precautions I should be aware of when practicing somatic exercises?

Somatic exercises are usually safe, but be careful, especially if you’ve had bad experiences before or if you’re dealing with tough mental health stuff. If you have some body problems or medical issues, you might need to change or skip some exercises. It’s best to talk to a doctor or a somatic expert before you start any new exercises.

  1. Can somatic exercises be combined with other forms of therapy or treatment?

Sure! Doing exercises that focus on your body can help a lot with therapy. These exercises can work well alongside other treatments like talking therapy, EMDR, or taking medication. When you combine these exercises with other methods, it can help you heal better and for longer. Make sure to talk to your healthcare team to make a plan that fits your needs and goals.

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