Clinical, Awareness & Mind-Body Benefits of Hanna Somatic EDUCATION

The clinical applications of Hanna Somatics® (HS) and Equine Hanna Somatics® (EHS) are in rehabilitation and athletic performance enhancement, to address current pain, restricted movement and mobility, correct poor posture and acquired asymmetries, and to prevent future injuries, giving athletes access to their performance potential. This method of movement-based education can be applied to all vertebrates.




  • Release and reverse neuromuscular pain (chronic and acute)
  • Improve mobility, strength and coordination
  • Improve posture and appearance
  • Eliminate the need for guarding to protect injured areas
  • Improve physical fitness
  • Create a new freedom of movement
  • Ease breathing
  • Increased flexibility, coordination, stress relief, balance and proprioception





  • Performance and athletic enhancement
  • Improve soundness, comfort, and overall health and wellness
  • Increased range of motion, elasticity and length of stride
  • More flexibility, suppleness & straightness
  • Career extension and injury prevention
  • Enhanced endurance and recovery
  • Overall relaxation and well-being
  • Increased willingness and improved attitude or work ethic
  • Increased bonding with the handler/rider

"This feedback loop of moving sensing and feeling creates an awareness of space, of the body in space and relative to other bodies, and also shapes the internal body-image." - Alissa Mayer

Beyond the clinical - Awareness & Mind-Body benefits of HSE

The other applications that make Hanna Somatic Education (HSE) so revolutionary and useful in my horsemanship, training and teaching work are in the practical “mindfulness” and “awareness” training that occurs when we do Hanna Somatics or Equine Hanna Somatics.

HSE actually gives us real tools, based in proven science, to access the part of the brain that contains most of what we commonly refer to as the mind-body-connection – the sensory-motor cortex.

The Sensory Motor Cortex is the part of the brain that receives sensory feedback information from the whole body (ie. sensing and feeling) AND sends out the impulses that create movement via skeletal muscle contractions (ie. creating all voluntary movement of the body, and the associated sensory feedback being created by that movement).

This feedback loop of moving sensing and feeling creates an awareness of space, of the body in space and relative to other bodies, and also shapes the internal body-image.

The practice of Hanna Somatics, while giving us all of the clinical benefits by default, also teaches the individual to sense and feel the Soma (described by Thomas Hanna in Somatics as “the body as experienced from within”).

The practice of HS creates individuals who are not only more balanced in body, who are more graceful and efficient movers – but also creates people and horses who are more present, more aware, more receptive, more connected, and more relaxed. This is what we refer to as Somatically Integrated. 

When a horse and human team are both somatically integrated, both parties also exhibit enhanced Feel and the ability to communicate, connect and move with one another – all cornerstones of successful human-horse interactions across all disciplines.


Equine Hanna Somatics®


The role of EHS is to help a horse recognize inefficient and unconscious muscle contractions so he can regain conscious control over his own muscles and, therefore, also regain access to his full range of motion, strength and endurance...

Equine hanna Somatics (EHS) is an adaptation of Hanna Somatics®, the proven, natural and safe method of pain relief and sensory-motor training described above. Like humans, horses experience stress and develop chronically contracted muscles that restrict movement and cause discomfort.

Over time, these chronic, low-level muscle contractions, which can also be described as “tension” or “tight muscles,” become incorporated into the horse’s habitual posture. This is known as Sensory Motor Amnesia (or SMA—more on this later).

Once this happens, performance and comfort are reduced, and the new postural patterns are difficult to change with physical training or manipulation.

Both the body and the brain adapt to stress as a survival mechanism and these adaptations can become integrated into the brain’s autopilot system. A horse may show adaptations like chronic stiffness, crookedness, weakness or fatigue, a short or uneven stride, a poor attitude, negative behaviors or loss of peak performance. Although SMA cannot be cured by drugs, treatment or surgery, it can be controlled consciously after the relearning process facilitated during an EHS session.

Work with Alissa

Private Sessions

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Equine Hanna Somatics

Somatics for the Rider

Somatic Riding, Groundwork, Liberty

PRE Saddle-Fit Posture Re-Boot

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Private Sessions


Posture Transformation Program

Online Courses

The Body-Mind Hack

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Books & Videos

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EHS Instructional Video

Somatics for the Rider EBook

EBook: Inviting Interspecies Dialogue

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