somatic therapy

Somatic Therapy Exercises: Powerful Tools for Healing Trauma

Somatic therapy exercises can be incredibly powerful for healing trauma. When someone goes through a traumatic event, the body often holds onto the stress, fear, and pain associated with it. Traditional talk therapy may not always be effective in fully processing and releasing this trauma. Somatic therapy, on the other hand, focuses on connecting the body and the mind to promote healing. By addressing the physical and sensory aspects of the experience, these exercises allow individuals to release stored tension, reconnect with their bodies, and process their trauma in a holistic way. In the following sections, we will explore a few somatic therapy exercises that are often used to support trauma healing.


  1. Grounding Techniques:
    Grounding exercises help you feel more present and connected to your body. One effective grounding technique is the 5-4-3-2-1 exercise. Find a comfortable position and take a few deep breaths. Then, use your senses to identify five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. This exercise helps bring your awareness back to the present moment and away from any stress or anxiety linked to the traumatic experience.
  2. Body Scanning:
    This exercise involves paying close attention to different parts of your body and noticing any sensations or areas of tension. Start at the top of your head and slowly move down, scanning every part of your body. As you scan, take note of any sensations or emotions that arise. This exercise can help you become more aware of your body’s response to stress or trauma and allow you to release any stored tension or discomfort.
  3. Movement and Dance:
    Engaging in movement and dance can be a powerful way to release trauma and reconnect with your body. Trauma often disconnects individuals from their physical sensations, and movement can help restore that connection. Try putting on some music and allowing your body to move freely. Pay attention to any sensations that arise and let yourself fully express any emotions that come up. Dancing can be a cathartic and empowering experience, allowing you to release trauma stored in your body.
  4. Breathwork:
    Conscious breathing exercises are simple yet effective somatic therapy tools. Trauma often causes individuals to develop shallow or irregular breathing patterns. Deep, intentional breathing can help regulate the nervous system and bring a sense of calm. One effective breathwork exercise is the 4-7-8 technique. Breathe in deeply through your nose for a count of four, hold your breath for a count of seven, and exhale slowly through pursed lips for a count of eight. Repeat this cycle several times, focusing on the sensation of the breath entering and leaving your body.

    Somatic therapy exercises can play a crucial role in healing trauma by engaging the body in the process. Grounding techniques, body scanning, movement and dance, and breathwork are just a few examples of the exercises used in somatic therapy. By incorporating these practices into your healing journey, you can address the physical and sensory aspects of the trauma, allowing for a more complete and holistic recovery. Remember, healing takes time, but with the right tools, support, and self-care, it is possible to move forward and thrive after experiencing trauma.

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