Chief Instructor: Sifu John C. Loupos - Since 1968

The Sustainable You - Somatics and the Myth of Aging


5.0 out of 5 stars
Somatics 2.0 - A great update and expansion of Thomas Hanna's groundbreaking work. August 29, 2011. By Bob D.

It's been over twenty years since Somatics pioneer Thomas Hanna published his seminal article titled "Clinical Somatic Education" -- a concise outline of what he hoped would become "A new discipline in the field of health care". Although Hanna's bold vision for a somatics-based mainstream health care discipline has not yet come to pass, there have been many (including his wife and several of his former students) who have gone to great lengths to preserve and carry forward Hanna's work and legacy. John Loupos is the latest to contribute to this effort with this fantastic new book updating and expanding upon Hanna's Clinical Somatic theory in light of recent research findings and the many scientific advances, particularly in neuroscience, we've seen in the years since Hanna's death.

Loupos takes the reader through all the fundamentals of Hanna's general theory of Somatics, making a compelling case that both the Somatic perspective and Hanna's hands-on system of neuromuscular education (Hanna Somatic Education or HSE) are needed now more than ever, given the swelling numbers of aging baby boomers taxing an already overburdened and expensive health care system. Loupos situates Somatics within a modern health care context that has seen a growing acceptance of complimentary and alternative (CAM) approaches as well as numerous advances in neuroscience that lend support to Hanna's approach in particular. Loupos also contributes some new and quite useful wrinkles to a general somatic theory, most notably his concept of an "archeology of insults" -- i.e. the accumulation of stresses and their effects on the body over the course of a lifetime -- and his perspective on how the effects of these insults can be reversed or minimized to improve neuromuscular functioning through the process of somatic education. Loupos also clearly lays out for us how improvements in sensory awareness and motor control (the fruits of HSE) can do what conventional approaches like drugs and surgery often cannot: directly and non-invasively address the root cause of many of the most common problems that people typically suffer from by the time they reach middle age. These problems (like aches, pains, restrictions of movement, decreased vitality, etc.) are often wrongly considered to be the result of structural degeneration or else part of a presumably inevitable decline that comes with getting older. This "myth of aging" has been keenly deconstructed by Hanna, and Loupos nicely expands upon the analysis here.

Loupos not only gives us information, fresh perspectives and reasons for hope as we get older, but he also invites us to experience the fruits of HSE for ourselves, leading the reader through a series of somatic movement patterns designed to refine awareness and control in some commonly restricted areas of the body. He also offers us his years of experience as both a martial arts instructor and a Somatics practitioner. I especially appreciate how Loupos weaves in personal reflections, philosophical speculations, and observations about life in general, always being careful and clear to distinguish between these lively flourishes of creative thinking and the more technical and research-based aspects of neurophysiology, kinesiology and anatomy that support the use of HSE as a uniquely efficacious system of health maintenance.

I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in integrative approaches to health, and I can't imagine anyone who couldn't benefit from experiencing Hanna Somatic Education first-hand. Enjoy!

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