Hanna Somatics Therapy History

Somatics is a term coined by Thomas Hanna, Ph.D. (1928–1990) for a field of alternative medicine therapy using “movement” as its core foundation. “Soma” is the Greek word for the “living body”, which Hanna re-defined as the body experienced from within, where we experience mind/body integration.

Hanna’s ideas were based on those of Hans Selye, MD (1907-1982), and Moshé Feldenkrais (1904-1984). He proposed that most people were afflicted by a phenomenon he called “Sensory-Motor Amnesia” in which the body’s muscles had forgotten how to move freely.

In the 1970s, Hanna developed a trademarked therapy, “Hanna Somatic Education”, to address this perceived problem. He did this by “retraining” the body to use precise movements, thereby renewing control of the muscles through use of the voluntary motor system.

Thomas Hanna created the word “somatics” in 1976 to name the approaches to mind/body integration and his new magazine, SOMATICS MAGAZINE-JOURNAL OF THE MIND/BODY ARTS AND SCIENCES.

The SOMATICS SOCIETY was founded in 1981 to provide a meeting ground for somatics practitioners and others interested in the mind/body field.