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Natural Awakenings Spokane WA/Coeur d'Alene ID

Somatics Offers a Message of Hope

Feb 01, 2020 08:19PM

Stefani VanDeest was a movement educator, professional hoop dancer and hoop and yoga instructor for years before becoming a Certified Hanna Somatic Educator (CHSE) following a hit and run accident that happened while riding her bike in 2015.

While she didn’t incur any broken bones, VanDeest’s body experienced a trauma reflex leading to sensory-motor amnesia or a loss of voluntary control. “All the muscles on the left side of my body contracted upon impact, and my brain held that pattern as the new normal for many months,” she explains.

Although VanDeest tried hard to recover after the injury, her regular movement practices were inaccessible due to pain coupled with a limited range of motion. “I saw massage therapists and chiropractors and was told I needed to be adjusted manually two times a week indefinitely,” she recalls.

Unsatisfied with the recovery advice she received, VanDeest began doing her own research and found YouTube videos offering gentle somatic yoga by a certified Hanna Somatic educator. “After doing only one of the videos, my pain was gone. Plus, my legs were the same length for the first time since the accident,” she says. “The instructor explained that we were working with our brains to reset the resting length of the muscles using a technique called pandiculation, which is a voluntary shortening contraction, followed by a slow, controlled, lengthening release. This was a huge ah-ha moment—manual adjustments weren’t working because I was experiencing a neuromuscular pattern that had developed as the result of trauma.”

Inspired by her own transformation, VanDeest is passionate about helping others through their health journeys as a certified Hanna Somatic Educator and owner of Solful Somatics in downtown Spokane. “Somatics is a message of hope. I truly believe it’s the missing link in healthcare,” she says. “I’ve worked with people that have tried every other treatment or modality and were desperate for answers. I’ve seen these same people recover from debilitating pain and limitations of movement and return to activities they never thought possible. I’m so happy to be here sharing this gift with my clients.” 

  Location: 20 W. Main St., Spokane. Session cost: $100 for a 90-minute session or $450 for a six-session package. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 509-979-0117 or visit
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