Somatic De-Armoring versus Body De-Armoring | What’s the Difference?

Published: Jun 29, 2024
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

Somatic therapy

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The terms Body De-Armoring (in British: Body De-Armouring) and Somatic De-Armoring are often treated as synonyms. And indeed, both terms theoretically reflect the same concept, but in practice — notably technically — there’s somewhat of a difference.

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Body De-Armoring is typically about Muscular De-Armoring and/or Myofascial De-Armoring. The techniques used in this type of De-Armoring primarily consists of massage techniques, such as strokes, pressure, acupressure, and stretches. De-Armoring may be focused on specific body parts, which would make for specific massage treatment modalities like Abdominal Massage, Pelvic Massage, Genital Massage, Facial Massage, Intra-Oral Massage, Foot Massage, and whatnot.

By contrast, Somatic De-Armoring embarks on an extended set of techniques that are “somatic” in nature, that is, affecting the body and as such being “bodywork,” but massage isn’t necessarily used or perhaps makes only a smaller part of the treatment.

Somatic De-Armoring often consists of a wide variety of practices, such as simulation and roleplay, meditation, mindfulness, shamanic rituals, postural work, body awareness exercises, convulsions, evocative music, breathwork, grounding, and/or movement exercises, to name some of the most characteristic techniques that may be applied.

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Just as one can use various types of massage modalities in Body De-Armoring, you’ll find that specific Somatic De-Armoring therapies use a certain combination of the practices mentioned above, which often defines the type of Somatic Therapy, like NeuroAffective Touch, Hakomi Method, or Somatic Experiencing, and so on.

Nevertheless, Body De-Armoring may also use techniques that are typically attributed to Somatic De-Armoring, but just as massage often plays a minor part in the former, the typical “somatic techniques” are usually likewise of lesser importance in Body De-Armoring.

Then again, you will also find De-Armoring therapies that rather use a balanced mix of “core bodywork” (i.e. massage therapy) and other somatic techniques. Examples hereof are Bioenergetic Analysis, Somatic Stress Release, and Hellerwork, among other modalities.

On the whole, one could say that both types of De-Armoring aim at emotional and trauma release through a mind-body approach. Yet, the major difference lies in the techniques they use and thus the difference in focus they put on how to achieve trauma healing.

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