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SomatoEmotional Release®


What is it?

SomatoEmotional Release is a therapeutic process designed to rid your mind and body of the residual effects of past injuries and negative experiences.

Where did it come from?

The concept of SomatoEmotional Release was developed over a three-year period (1977-1980) during which Dr. Zvi Kami and Dr. John E. Upledger worked together as researchers in the Department of Biomechanics at Michigan State University. Dr. Upledger (1932-2012) was a certified fellow of the American Academy of Osteopathy, an academic fellow of the British Society of Osteopathy, and a Doctor of Science, Medicina Altemativa. Dr. Kami, who holds doctoral degrees in both biological engineering and biophysics, was a visiting professor on leave of absence from his position as Chairman of Biological Engineering at the Technion Institute in Haifa, Israel.


Their mutual research mission was to explore the possible areas in which the fields of medicine, biology, physics and engineering might integrate to better serve humankind.

Energy Cyst Formation

The concept that developed as a result of their work together is that physical forces that were put into a patient's body at the time of an accident or injury may be dealt with by that patient's body in one of two ways:

  1. The injured body may immediately begin dissipating these forces and the natural healing process will follow.

  2. The physical forces imposed upon the patient's body may be retained rather than dissipated.


If these forces are retained, the patient's body must adapt to this deposit of abnormal physical force. The adaptive response is to isolate or "wall off' the abnormal force so that a sort of "energy cyst" is formed. This energy cyst represents a localized area of increased particle activity that is synonymous with increased entropy. By this we mean that the ions and molecules are moving in a disorganized and chaotic way so that they are not performing usual work and serving the whole body efficiently.

This situation of localized, disorganized particle activity or energy cyst formation within the patient's body produces the necessity for adaptation so that normal "body business" such as conduction of energy can be carried out. We call the energy cyst an area of dysfunction. Normal body energy must detour around the energy cyst. The dysfunctional area does not cooperate with normal and vital tissue and fluid motion. The energy cyst actually inhibits normal body function.


The reasonably healthy body can adapt to and work around these energy cysts. However, extra adaptive energy is required to carry out bodily function with this area of disorganized and uncooperative activity in its midst. As the years pass and the adaptive energy required for function is spent, the adaptive pattern of the body begins to lose some of its effectiveness. Symptoms and dysfunctions begin to appear which become more and more difficult to ignore and suppress.


The name Energy Cyst was suggested by Dr. Elmer Green, director of the Menninger Foundation, following his observation of our work using this process.


What makes injury force result in energy cyst formation?

The most powerful determining factor that causes energy cysts to form is the emotional status of the patient at the time of the injury. When powerful negative feelings are dominant in the patient at the time the external injury, forces are imposed, these forces will probably be retained and energy cysts will be the result. We have seen over and over again that those people who retain the effect of injuries and accidents are those same people who harbor anger, resentment, fear, etc. regarding the incident. Once these negative feelings are discovered and released the bodily dysfunction with its attendant symptoms are free to leave the patient's body.

How does SomatoEmotional Release work?

It has been observed, since the beginning development of this therapeutic process, the patient's body seems to be of two "minds." Part of the patient wants to maintain the status quo. After all, life is present and the body is working even though that work may be inefficient and painful. Why risk a change? Another part of the patient is striving for improvement, which means that the energy cyst must be dissipated, thus ridding the body of the need for adaptation and discomfort.


During the therapeutic process of SomatoEmotional Release therapists act as facilitators in cooperation with the part of the patient that wants to get rid of the abnormal energy cyst formation. In order to do this, therapists encourage the positive aspects of the body-mind and discourage the negative aspects. Therapists help patients express the energy cyst from their body by facilitating the body's memory of the injury and thus ending the suppression.


This facilitation is accomplished by touching the patient, tuning in to what their positive body would like to do and assisting in this process. The usual result is that the body will assume the positions it was in when the external injury forces were imposed upon it. As this occurs, the therapist can feel the tissues of the body relax as the energy cyst is expelled. Additionally, therapist can feel heat radiating from the areas that have been retaining the injury forces and frequently sense a force leaving the body along the same direction line from which it entered.


You have probably guessed by now that the SomatoEmotional Release process requires extreme sensitivity on the part of the therapist and an attitude of trust and positivity on the part of the patient. It is a very mystifying experience for both parties involved. It is very difficult to describe in words, but once the release of an energy cyst has been experienced it is clearly understood without need for verbal description.


What should a patient expect as a result of SomatoEmotional Release?

During the therapeutic session, the release of the energy cyst frequently results in some re-experiencing of the pain, fear, anger, etc. that was attendant with the original incident, as well as other details that may have been long-forgotten. This re-experiencing of aspects of the original injury is a very good sign that the treatment is releasing some or part of the retained problem. When this type of experience occurs, a patient should not try to suppress the pain or emotion, rather, with the support of the therapist they should allow the experience to unfold and move naturally towards a healing resolution.

The outcome of SomatoEmotional Release is greater physical and emotional health and well-being, as well as significant relief of the patient's symptoms.

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