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Pain Management/Sensory Motor Amnesia


QUESTION: Hello Lawrence
I am familiar with Thomas Hanna's book - Somatics. I am wondering if hyperhydrosis may be the result of SMA? One of the procedures is a sympathectomy which deals with part of the sympathetic chain lying between the first and fifth thoracic vertebrae. Do you think it possible that chronic muscular tension in this area may be a contributing factor? What Somatic "exercise" would you recommend?
Thank you

ANSWER: Hi, Timothy,

How exotic.

If chronic sympathetic nervous system hyperactivity is suspected, we look for habituated Startle Reflex, which is a state of the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system.

Thomas Hanna describes the condition of habituated Startle Reflex in his book, Somatics, with which you are familiar.

I would recommend three somatic exercises found on my YouTube channel. |  Note that none of them "target" the thoracic spine; they target brain-level habituation.

Enter "startle reflex in the Search box".  The first three exercises that come up apply.

By the way, I consider a sympathectomy to be a barbaric procedure grossly out of proportion to the condition of sweating too much.  Anatomical thinking vs. functional thinking seems to characterize much of Western surgery, which seems to work more against the body than toward sound health.  (The word, "pharmacy" and the word, "harm" come from the same root.)

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QUESTION: Hi Lawrence - "chronic sympathetic nervous system hyperactivity" is probably the best explanation that I have ever received regarding this hyperhidrosis. I have had this condition for over 40 years and it has definitely taken its toll - some refer to it as the "silent handicap". I has been tested for thyroid problems; a family physician whom I respected told me that I was just "too sensitive"; a surgeon told me that my "thermostat was broken" - and I am thankful that I never had the recommended surgery - especially since the failure rate was over 30%. I did the three movements that you suggested and I will continue to do them. One thing I noticed in the movements it that when I should be tucking my chin when flattening my back I have a tendency to arch my neck instead - does this reveal anything to you? My neck and especially my shoulders are tight but it seems that my Iliacus muscles are tight and sore. Should I just continue with the three exercises you suggested - or is there something else I should try. Thank you once again for your time!

Hi, Timothy,

About tucking your chin, if you can't tuck it, arch it first, hold, relax, and then tuck it.  Do that repeatedly, if necessary.

Since your iliacus muscles are sore, that suggests tight psoas muscles, also, but that's an "educated guess"; without a full assessment, I don't know your overall patterns, only what you've said, so far.

"Thermostat is broken" is inaccurate; "miscalibrated" is accurate.

For now, continue along the lines I suggested.  There is a self-relief program for tight psoas/iliacus muscles; however, those muscles also tighten when the sacrum is twisted.  Please see this entry:

If you'd like a more complete assessment and recommendations, please see

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Lawrence Gold


back pain exercises -|- back muscle pain -|- back muscle spasms -|- degenerative disc disease -|- disc bulge -|- dizziness -|- groin pain -|- groin pull -|- lifting injuries -|- lower back pain -|- lower back exercises -|- sciatica -|- whiplash injuries -|- Hanna Somatics -|- headaches -|- iliopsoas bursitis -|- iliopsoas muscle -|- iliopsoas syndrome -|- iliopsoas stretches -|- movement limitations -|- psoas stretch -|- psoas muscle pain -|- psoas stretches -|- psoas major / minor muscles -|- somatics -|- somatic exercises -|- somatic education -|-


In practice since 1990. Two years on staff at a hospital Wellness and Rehabilitation Center.

Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, American Journal of Pain Management, Somatics: Magazine-Journal of the Mind-Body Arts and Sciences. More complete listing at

Certifications: Hanna Somatic Education, the Dr. Ida P. Rolf method of Structural Integration (partial list)

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