Book Review: Move Without Pain
Martha Peterson’s book, Move Without Pain, is an important new contribution to the work of Hanna Somatics education, and to individuals looking for a user-friendly introduction to the Hanna Somatics exercises, to work with on their own or as an adjunct to private sessions.
When I first learned about Hanna Somatics, I was thrilled to find Thomas Hanna’s book and read the primary source in detail. As a natural health practitioner, I was fascinated to study the principles involved, but there was a bit of a disconnect for me when it came to performing the exercises he describes. I sensed that I was missing certain subtleties of movement and awareness in order to be most effective and to adapt them to my individual needs.
Soon afterward, when I read Ms. Peterson’s book, I was so impressed by how she explained the concepts in more practical terms that helped me “get” it. It’s important for people to understand how Hanna Somatics works so that they can become more attuned to their own body’s process of learning more relaxed and functional movement. So she discusses why people have pain, the role of the brain in either restricting or allowing natural movement, and how that relates to what our muscles are doing.
Her explanations are very easy to grasp, the writing flows smoothly and the layout is so visually pleasing that it’s very enjoyable to read through the book and pick it up again and again to refer to as needed.
The photos in the book of Ms. Peterson performing the various exercises, which are organized sequentially, make it easy to see how each is done, and simple instructions next to each photo make it easy to refer to. I’ve found many books on movement that, due to poor layout and how the images are displayed, the movements are too difficult to visualize. Move Without Pain with its excellent information and layout that makes the instructions come to life, makes Hanna Somatics more accessible to everyone.
I feel that Hanna Somatics is an important part of natural health education. It deserves to be made accessible to anyone interested in changing habitual movement patterns that cause pain and to allow the wisdom of the body to regain control for greater freedom of movement and alleviation of pain. I can wholeheartedly recommend Move Without Pain to anyone interested in learning more about Hanna Somatics and/or wanting to start learning the exercises - to help with a specific pain issue or to increase flexibility, reduce stress, and generally feel better in their body.
I’ve been fortunate enough to have a Hanna Somatics practitioner nearby, and find that personal guidance is tremendously helpful especially for those who have certain physical limitations or need to tailor the exercises to their needs.
Private sessions can also help with the nuances that make the daily practice even more effective, as well as providing more support and encouragement on a personal level. So I will be recommending Martha Peterson’s work to my friends and clients - which includes not only her book, but instructional DVDs and private sessions either in person or by online video conferencing. See Essential Somatics for more information.