Somatic Movement for Pain, Spinal Curvature, PTSD

By Joanie Flavin, Yoga Therapist and Thai Yoga Practitioner, and
Deb Martín, Business Manager and Holistic Health Consultant
November 1, 2021

A Word of Introduction from Deb Martín:
When I first met Joanie Flavin in September of 2021, I was impressed with her calm and aware presence. I sensed the passion in her for the special kind of healing work she provides in the world of Holistic and Natural Medicine. This article will introduce you to Joanie and to what may be a new concept to many of you (although it’s been around a very long time in the yoga world). We’ll take a dip into the practice and value of Somatic Movement Therapy, and we’ll encourage you to check into her first class offering on November 18, 2021. See

Joanie began her practice 18 years ago as a Yoga Teacher, and she grew into a healing practitioner who excels in working directly with people to heal and revitalize their physical, mental and emotional bodies. She does this through privates and semi privates as a Yoga Therapist, also using knowledge from Thai therapy.

After our initial meeting, my next step before bringing Joanie into our clinic practitioner family was to acquire validation of character and capabilities from those with whom she worked in New England. And I got lucky with my first call to one of her references. I found high validation of her skillset and work ethics in a conversation with a surgeon and his wife with whom she had worked for over 10 years.

The doctor’s stories of how well-studied and skillful Joanie is in her practice were quite impressive. They loved her and will come specifically to Florida for in-person visits. In fact, if Joanie hadn’t had a long-time dream of moving to Florida, she would likely be working in this doctor’s hospital using her proven abilities to hasten and deepen healing and mobility in post-surgical patients.

The doctor and his wife also wanted me to understand how—for the many years they worked with her– she had trained and helped them recover from injuries and helped them keep their bodies aging in tip-top shape. As a matter of fact, as we were speaking, they told me they were in their car, driving to go on a major hike! They both credited Joanie with making a huge difference in their quality of life.

See more about Joanie on our Practitioner Page

So now, let’s take a dip into part of Joanie’s world…the World of Somatic Movement.


According to Wikipedia,
Somatics is a field within bodywork and movement studies which emphasizes internal physical perception and experience. The term is used in movement therapy to signify approaches based on the soma, or “the body as perceived from within”. Some techniques which include this approach are Skinner Releasing Technique, the Feldenkrais Method and Rolfing Structural Integration. Somatic techniques may be used in bodywork, psychotherapy, dance or spiritual practices.


A SOMATIC MOVEMENT SHOULD BE PERFORMED AS SLOWLY AS POSSIBLE. The human nervous system, which controls our posture and movement, must learn new things very slowly. With practice, we are able to gradually speed up and perform movements more quickly while still maintaining form and control. When we do movements quickly, we are not learning anything new—we are simply reinforcing existing, learned patterns.

A somatic movement must also be performed consciously, with our complete internal focus and attention. Conscious attention is key to the learning process; we can’t learn something new if we aren’t aware of what we’re doing.

Somatic movement is exploratory in nature. Even when we practice a somatic movement with the intention of improving our posture or movement in a specific way, we still need to be focused on the internal experience of the movement rather than on the end result.



Joanie actively uses Somatic Techniques with her clients as, among other reasons, a pain-reducing activity. A current research project is ongoing at Coventry University in England where they are working to provide further scientific validation for using somatic movement in three arenas: Dance Performance, Design Engineering and Medical Science and Disease. Probably of most interest to our readership is their research regarding using somatic therapy to manage chronic pain.   And Somatic Movement has many applications. The Reference section below includes a study regarding the use of Somatic Movement for PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress).

Yes, the benefits are many to this practice!  Here are a few more:  Keep the body supple, soak the tissues in fluid movement, huge benefits to spinal and psoas issues, teach the mind the power of slowing down, self regulation, joint support in relationship to gravity, increased sensory information to affect posture, movement patterns, tension, and pressure.


Joanie uses Somatic Movement Therapy daily for her personal selfcare. In her own words:

“I use Somatics every morning, combined with meditation, to work with spinal curvature and a rotated pelvis. It absolutely gets my body aligned and ready for movement. And, another huge bonus: It dramatically calms my high-energy nervous system.“

INVITATION TO EXPERIENCE SOMATICS: Join Joanie for her first class on Somatic Movement Therapy at Lotus Blossom Clinic on November 18, from 5:30 – 7:30pm. Contact the clinic at (239) 277-1399 or RSVP / Contact Joanie with questions or to set up an appointment:

Serving Your Well Being,

Dr. David Martín
Joanie Flavin and Deb Martín

Serving the Greater Fort Myers area with Natural and Holistic Medicine, including Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Massage, Yoga, Science-backed Food as Medicine, Energy & Transformational Sessions…and Community Classes & Events both Virtual and (mindfully) In-Person

Beyond the talking cure: Somatic experience and subcortical imprints in the treatment of trauma. (2002, American Psychological Association)

Somatic practice, chronic pain and self-care technology: inhabiting the lived and contextual body. Coventry University, Center for Dance Research, 2021 (currently ongoing)