top of page

Embracing Movement and Somatic-Based Techniques for Trauma Healing

Welcome back to our empowering blog series, "Unlocking the Healing Power of Trauma-Informed Tapping Techniques"! In this sixth installment, we delve into the transformative role of movement and somatic-based techniques in trauma healing. We will explore how integrating these practices can release stored trauma, enhance emotional regulation, and support holistic recovery. Join us as we uncover the power of movement and somatic techniques, offering practical exercises and strategies for therapists and clients alike.

Gentle Somatic Techniques
Mindful Healing & Movement

The Role of Movement in Trauma Healing

Movement plays a crucial role in trauma healing, as it allows individuals to process and release the physical and emotional imprints of traumatic experiences. Trauma often gets "stuck" in the body, manifesting as tension, pain, or chronic stress. By engaging in movement, individuals can access and release these stored energies, fostering a sense of liberation and healing.

Recent research underscores the importance of movement in trauma recovery. A study published in the journal "Trauma, Violence, & Abuse" in 2022 found that somatic-based therapies, including movement practices, significantly reduce symptoms of PTSD and anxiety. The study highlighted that movement therapies help regulate the autonomic nervous system, promoting a state of calm and resilience.

Somatic-Based Exercises for Releasing Stored Trauma

  1. Body Scan:

  • Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.

  • Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.

  • Slowly scan your body from head to toe, noticing areas of tension or discomfort.

  • As you identify these areas, gently tense and release the muscles, allowing the tension to dissipate.

  • Continue this practice for 5-10 minutes, bringing awareness and relaxation to each part of your body.

  1. Mindful Shaking:

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.

  • Begin to shake your body gently, starting with your hands and arms, then moving to your legs and torso.

  • Allow the shaking to become more vigorous, releasing any pent-up energy or tension.

  • Continue shaking for 2-3 minutes, then gradually slow down and come to a stillness.

  • Notice any changes in your body sensations and emotional state.

  1. Grounding Stomps:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.

  • Lift one foot and gently stomp it on the ground, feeling the connection with the earth.

  • Alternate feet, creating a rhythmic stomping motion.

  • Focus on the sensation of grounding and stability as you stomp.

  • Continue for 1-2 minutes, then stand still and notice the sense of grounding and presence in your body.

Incorporating Movement into Tapping Practices

Integrating movement into tapping practices can enhance the effectiveness of trauma-informed tapping techniques. By combining tapping with movement, individuals can engage both their energy systems and physical bodies, promoting holistic healing.

  1. Tapping with Gentle Movement:

  • Perform your usual tapping routine, such as EFT, while incorporating gentle movements like swaying or rocking.

  • Focus on the rhythm of the movement and the tapping, allowing them to synchronize and amplify the calming effects.

  • Notice how the combination of tapping and movement enhances your sense of relaxation and emotional release.

  1. Dynamic Tapping:

  • Engage in a more dynamic form of tapping, where you move your body more vigorously while tapping on acupoints.

  • For example, you can walk or dance while tapping, allowing the movement to release stored tension and energy.

  • Experiment with different movements and tapping sequences to find what feels most effective and liberating for you.

Holistic Trauma Healing
Somatic Therapy Techniques

Integrating Somatic Techniques into Therapy Sessions

For therapists, incorporating somatic techniques into therapy sessions can provide clients with powerful tools for trauma healing. By integrating body-based practices, therapists can help clients access and release stored trauma, fostering a deeper sense of connection and healing.

  1. Therapeutic Movement:

  • Introduce gentle movement exercises at the beginning or end of therapy sessions to help clients ground and center themselves.

  • Use techniques like body scanning, shaking, or grounding stomps to help clients release tension and connect with their bodies.

  • Encourage clients to explore movement as a way to process and integrate their therapeutic work.

  1. Somatic Dialogue:

  • Facilitate a dialogue between clients and their bodies, encouraging them to notice and describe their physical sensations and emotional experiences.

  • Use prompts like "Where do you feel this emotion in your body?" or "What does this sensation remind you of?"

  • Help clients develop a deeper awareness of their somatic experiences and the connections between their body and emotions.

Resources and Evidence Base

For those interested in exploring the evidence and practices of movement and somatic-based techniques, consider the following resources:

  • "The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma" by Bessel van der Kolk

  • "Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma" by Peter A. Levine

  • "Trauma and the Body: A Sensorimotor Approach to Psychotherapy" by Pat Ogden and Kekuni Minton

  • Somatic Internal Family Systems Therapy: Awareness, Breath, Movement, and Touch in Practice by Susan McConnell

These books provide valuable insights into the science and application of somatic-based therapies in trauma healing.

By embracing movement and somatic-based techniques, we can unlock the body’s innate capacity for healing and transformation. Stay tuned for our next installment, where we'll explore the benefits of binaural beats, music, and sound in trauma recovery. Together, let's continue to unlock the healing power within and embrace the journey of empowerment and healing.

With love, AGLOW

Stacy Ruse, LPC, RYI, EMDR & IFS Consultant

Sign up for AGLOW NEWS:

AGLOW is a global hub for therapists and the world. Led by trauma expert Stacy Ruse, LPC, providing courses, consultation, and counseling services. Specializing in EMDR, IFS, Yoga, & Transpersonal therapies to inspire therapists and individuals alike.

Stacy Ruse, LPC, is an esteemed Evergreen EMDR & IFS-Institute Consultant, Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT), and founder of Aglow Counseling. Stacy teaches a therapeutic style that is characterized by the art of EMDR & IFS therapies with a transpersonal twist, transcending the conventional boundaries of traditional therapy. Her holistic approach acknowledges the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit allowing individuals to tap into their innate resilience and ignite their personal transformation journey. As a trauma expert, national and international trainer, and clinical consultant, Stacy's approach is deeply rooted in trauma-informed methodologies.


bottom of page