Somatic Experiencing-9

Peter Levine developed Somatic Experiencing; his latest book, In An Unspoken Voice, is brilliant. I’ve written often about tracking the sensations in the body; today, with the help of this book,  I will go into more detail. The four categories listed below are part of  Peter Levine’s model for tracking sensations in the body.

The physical sensations that arise in the body travel via nerve impulses from the interior of the body to the thalamus in the brain stem (please check earlier posts on areas of the brain).  They are then transferred to most other areas of the brain.   There are four categories:

1. Kinesthetic Receptors-picks up tension in our muscles and sends this information to the brain. When we are particularly tense, we receive an excess of nerve impulses coming from the the sight of the tension, maybe the shoulders, neck, pelvis, etc. causing us to feel uncomfortable and ‘uptight’.

2. Proprioceptive Receptors-gives us positional information about our joints.  Working with kinesthesia, proprioception tells us where we are in space.

3.Vestibular Receptors-There are microscopic hairs in the semicircular canals of the inner ear, the two canals are at right angles to each other.  When we move, fluid in these canals bends the hairs.  Each hair is connected to a receptor that sends messages to the brain.  It is here we learn our position in regard to gravity and movement.

4. Visceral Receptors-This is the deepest level of sensation and involves our blood vessels and viscera(internal organs).  We feel open, flowing, relaxed and warm when our viscera and blood vessels are open, anxious and cold when constricted.