Sensory Motor Body Therapy according to Dr. Pohl®
The Sensory Motor Body Therapy according to Dr. Pohl® is a drug-free body therapy for treating chronic pain, in which conventional medicine has not had any diagnostic findings. In particular it is suitable for the treatment of:
- Chronic pain such as headaches, back pain, neck discomfort, hip, knee and aching feet, abdominal pain, throat ailments, shoulder, arm and hand pain, painful scars, Chronic Pelvis Pain Syndrome (CPPS), etc.
- Functional disorders such as "lump in throat", vocal and speech impediments, swallowing difficulties, chronic nausea, heart, stomach bowel and bladder symptoms, tinnitus, dizziness, respiratory disorders etc.
- Movement disorders such as stiffness, feelings of weakness, poor posture, limited and instability of movement.
- Abnormal sensations such as tingling, "pins and needles", insensitivity to touch, burning sensations, itching, bloated sensations, inadequate sensitivity to hot or cold, numbness, etc.
- Anxiety and depression such as phobias, general anxiety, panic attacks, depressive tendencies, exhaustion and burnout.
Most often the Sensory Motor Body Therapy according to Dr. Pohl® is used as an effective pain therapy to treat chronic pain.
In practice it has become apparent, that there is a correlation between all of these mind and soul ailments of the suffering patient and chronic tension in muscles, sinews and fasciae. At the same time a disturbance of body perception occurs, so that the conscious mind is not aware of the muscle contractions and because of this they can´t be released voluntarily. Therefore this is a case of sensory-motor malfunctioning, e.g. disturbances of body perception, movement and control.
Chronic contractions take form and intensify through injury, mental stress, poor posture and "bad habits". They are usually found not only at the point of discomfort, but weave their way throughout the whole body in an individual unconscious pattern of tension. In a cyclic process always the entire organism reacts - with body and soul. Trapped in these chronic contractions, one feels physically and mentally unwell, unable to escape this vicious circle on one´s own.
Learning to feel what you are doing
The Sensory Motor Body Therapy according to Dr. Pohl® is an alternating complement (and interweavement) of five interwoven methods, both physical and mental. It includes neuro-biological treatments for release and self-release of unconscious tension as well as an extensive body awareness training. To direct the patient´s attention to his own body awareness, physical therapy is always combined with conversations. These are necessary for the patient to become aware of what he is doing to unwittingly reinforce his problems in everyday life. Awareness and understanding of one's own everyday movements are extremely important for the success of the treatment.
The Sensory Motor Body Therapy according to Dr. Pohl® consists of the following intertwined methods:
- Pandiculations according to Thomas Hanna (Hanna Somatics)
- Active Pain Point Treatment of trigger points/myogelosis in muscles/sinews/fasciae
- Specific Connective Tissue Treatment of the skin and the subcutaneous fascia
- Body Awareness Training to change everyday movements and postures
- Sensory-motor Exercises to make lasting changes
Pandiculations take aim at tense, foreshortened, hard muscles which one can´t
- relax voluntarily
- move in the full range of motion
- feel/sense completely
These chronic tensions of the muscles and fasciae are at first not accessible to our conscious mind, since they are kept in continuous tension by lower, unconscious parts of our brains. We call this phenomenon “sensory-motor amnesia” (Hanna), which means that our brain has “forgotten” how to feel and move the afflicted muscles and fasciae.
During pandiculations one is able to learn, with the help of sensory-motor feedback from the therapist, to move the muscles in question again voluntarily. Aided by exactly dosed counter pressure from the therapist one at first tightens the unconsciously tensed up muscle even more and then very slowly, gradually and deliberately lessens the tension until the muscles finally relaxes. This method is similar to the Progressive Muscle Relaxation according to Jacobson,
- but targets the individual tension patterns of the patient more specifically and more directly
- but makes use of the sensory-motor feedback which the therapist relays to the patient through pressure and movement
Ideally the muscles and fasciae achieve conscious full range motion again and complete sensory capabilities are restored.
If the pandiculations are not sufficient in resolving the muscle tension and the body perception disturbances, one can usually find localized tender points in muscles and/or connective tissue. In which case the pandiculations are supplemented with
The Active Pain Point Treatment focuses on palpable trigger points/myogeloses and pressure points in muscles, sinews and insertion points at bones. The therapist treats these areas with a specific, point by point massage, enlisting the patients help by asking him to tighten up the corresponding musculature and then releasing the tension again.
Movement becomes progressively freer (which is noticeable to both, the therapist and the patient) and the body awareness improves considerably in the afflicted areas, which means that the patient starts to feel himself clearly again in these places.
The Active Pain Point Treatment can also be performed by independently at home by the patient on parts of the body he can reach. Our patients receive detailed instructions as to how to treat themselves as part of the therapy.
In this case indurations, adherences and tension of the connecting tissue in the various layers of the skin and the subcutaneous skin are worked through extremely slowly with the help of a specific grasp and specific movements by the therapist, until they become soft again. This type of connective tissue treatment is unlike the common connective tissue massage.
The specific connecting tissue grasp is not suitable for self-treatment, since most people find it fairly complicated. Participants of the training to become a therapist often take quite a long time to be able to perform the grasp and the appropriate movements efficiently, with ease and in a relaxed manner.
These exercises are usually performed lying down, very slowly and with great attention to body awareness – the focus again, is on feeling what one is doing. Once again one usually commences with a stronger tension only to release it gradually while in movement. The choice of exercises is tailored to the individual needs of the patient. These exercises are also meant to improve flexibility and awareness. They may be practiced in a group and then carried out individually at home.
The body awareness training runs like a red thread from the beginning to the end through the entire treatment. It can be applied to its full extent only when the muscles are, with the help of the physical methods, once again under the voluntary control of the patient. During the course of the Body Awareness Training, patients not only gradually learn to perceive how and what they are doing during the treatment but also how and what they involuntarily tense up in their everyday lives, especially in stressful situations. Furthermore they learn how they can escape such tensions or even avoid creating them all together. By actually feeling this first hand, the patient gradually realizes that his illness is not necessarily something that he has, but something that he is unconsciously doing. Together with the background knowledge of the functional anatomy of everyday movements (How does one breathe correctly? What am I tensing up, so that I can´t breathe well?) and suitable mental images, the patient learns to understand how he involuntarily restricts his everyday movements through excessive tension and how he may let functions (e.g. breathing) run better anatomically and more freely.
All aspects of the Sensory Motor Body Therapy according to Dr. Pohl® have the purpose to make the consciousness aware of involuntary tension and dissolve it, thus eliminating whatever Problem ails the Patient. The patient is always a pro-active partner in the treatment. Through the various methods the patient learns to move in a different way, to feel and to understand himself as a psycho-physical unity. This means that he recognizes which psychological stress situations still trigger physical tension patterns, and he also is able to notice which external circumstances force him to uphold certain postures which over time lead to psychological discomfort. Only then the patient can begin to develop other, more relaxed responses and posture.
By reanimating the soulful, moving, feeling body one gains access to aspects of oneself that previously escaped our attention. Ideally one not only loses one´s symptoms this way, but also a new sense of relief, love of life and zest for life develops.