Mark L. Levine, B.A., R.M.T.

Pediatric + Family Craniosacral + Osteopathic Manual Therapy

Frequently Asked Questions


What is somatoemotional Release?

Like with yoga, massage therapy and other transformational arts, emotions frequently well up during sessions.  Part of the process is simply acknowledging what is happening through dialogue, making it safe to encounter the emotions of trauma or sustained stressors previously held as muscular armoring.  Dr. John Upledger, the devloper of craniosacral therapy, calls this process of psychosomatic catharsis somatoemotional release. 

Somatoemotional release happens as much with babies and children as it is with adults.  During a session, a baby may contort, cry, rage or grunt, while being very still and obviously not in pain.  Parents are often surprised when they witness an emotional release from their babies.  Such behavior may be unfamiliar and bewildering to a new parent. As adults we tend to trivialize or forget that even the most perfect of births is the first (and hopefully the most significant) traumatic experience of his or her life. 

Because we tend think of babies as so fresh and new, we are inclined to interpret their experience in terms of innocence and serenity, while often denying the validity of their expressions of trauma, terror, rage and frustration. 

There is a now a broad consensus among child development experts that even newborns are extraordinarily emotionally intelligent beings who have both the authentic need and the capacity to express and release feelings as they grow. 

This perspective sheds light on the energetic reality of babies who may be stressed or colicky, for example, and parents who struggled with infertility and reproductive interventions, whose gestation was high risk, whose delivery included forceps, suction, emergency cesarian sections, perinatal interventions injuring either or both mother and baby, post natal separation from the mother, breastfeeding difficulties, parental or family stress, and so on. 

For this reason we usually work first with the parents, especially the mother, as well as the baby.

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