About SOMA

SOMA History

SOMA has its roots in the pioneering structural explorations of Ida P Rolf, PhD and her work known as Rolfing. The Soma Institute of Neuromuscular Integration® was developed in 1977 by Bill Williams, PhD. of Psychology and an accomplished Rolfer® who studied directly with Ida Rolf.

Karen L. Bolesky M.A., L.M.H.C., L.M.P. took over the reins of the Soma Institute in 1986 and continues to direct and oversee it today. Under Karen, the Soma work was expanded into a professional licensing program and was one of the first Structural Integration programs to be licensed in Washington. It currently offers a 750+ hour training program in Structural Integration (SI) theory and technique, which includes a licensing program.

How It Works

SOMA is primarily focused on the release and reorganization of fascia and connective tissue in the body. Everything in your body is connected by fascia. It is a substance that gives muscle, organs and bones their shape. It forms joints and gives our body the capability to move. This entire system is the mechanical communication of the body and forms pathways for the nervous, circulatory and lymph systems to follow. It is literally the material that connects and binds all other systems in the body, making movement and life possible.

SOMA effectively works with all types of injuries, repetitive work strain and stress, and fatigue. It is amazingly effective at working with whole systemic issues such as breathing, circulation, ADD, depression, and life transitions.

SOMA is classically constructed as a series of 11 sessions that works the entire system of connective tissue through the body. As successive layers of the body are released the body can naturally find mobility and ease. Each session works with a specific portion of the body in order to systematically release your tissue back to optimal form.

The 11 SOMA Sessions

  • Session 1: Frees the tissue surrounding the rib cage and lengthens the chest and lower back.
    Result: Feeling of lightness and well-being, more upright posture and fuller, deeper breathing.
  • Session 2: Focuses on the body’s foundation, the lower legs and feet.
    Result: A sense of being firmly grounded and in touch with reality.
  • Session 3: Lengthens the sides of the body and frees the shoulders, so breathing can expand.
    Result: Greater relaxation and more immediately available energy.
  • Session 4, 5, 6: Adjust and lengthen the centerline, or core, that runs vertically through the body.
    Result: Walking takes a fraction of the energy typically expended, with improved balance and freedom of movement.
  • Session 7: Releases the muscles of the neck, face and head.
    Result: A more softened relaxed appearance in the face, with increased self-reliance and personal power.
  • Sessions 8, 9, 10: Integrate the whole body in a new and more efficient manner.
    Result: Energy and vitality increase as the body’s structure becomes more aligned and balanced in gravity.
  • Session 11: Opens the tissue of the arms and balances the shoulder blades into the back.
    Result: The arms swinging freely with increased rotary function and expressivity.