Somatic Science is based on the scientific method

It works like this:

  • Observation: The first step of the scientific method involves making an observation about something that interests you.

  • Question: Once you've made your observation, you must formulate a question about what you have observed.

  • Hypothesis: This is a supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation. This is a key component of the scientific process. 

  • Experiment: A procedure undertaken to test a hypothesis. 

  • Results: Here you find out whether the hypothesis you made was correct or needs to be modified.

Here we apply this method to our human experience of happiness. In this view, happiness refers to the absence of suffering. Suffering is the state of undergoing pain, distress, or hardship. The scientific method yields the following:

  • Observation: People appear to be unhappy.

  • Question: Why are people unhappy?

  • Hypothesis: People are unhappy because they continuously experience feeling unsafe. This experience of unsafety is equivalent to experiencing that something is missing, something is wrong, and this is a direct threat to survival. This is due to the interrelationship of several neurobiological, neurocognitive and societal factors: 

                       1: Neurobiological factors

                       The neurobiology of the autonomic nervous system (ANS)  has evolved such that human beings everywhere are

                       primarily concerned with the basic needs of physical survival. The first dictate of the ANS  is survival. This biological

                       mechanism is highly attuned to the environment and is constantly monitoring it (beyond conscious awareness) in

                       order to detect threats to survival. When it detects a possible threat, it enters into a neurobiological state called the

                       threat response cycle (TRC) . This can engage various defensive strategies that include fight, flight and immobility

                       responses. Quite often these states are not experienced consciously and occur in quick succession with various

                       degrees of simultaneity. This biological factor leads to and is also interrelated with the neurocognitive factors which

                       arise from the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA) , the hippocampus (HC)  and the vagal nerve (VN) .

                       2: Neurocognitive factors

                       The autonomic processes above cause the individual person to focus on and identify with them to the exclusion of

                       almost everything else. Under the influence of the HPA, coupled with fear arising in the HC, the individual person

                       is conditioned by early adverse childhood experiences (ACE)  and confuses emotional discomfort with life threats.

                       In extreme cases, this causes the ANS to be constantly in the TRC. More commonly it causes people to experience

                       moderate degrees of dissociation, polarized thought end emotion and different forms of: chronic sadness, irritability,

                       depression / suppression of affect, worry, fear and / or anger in its different forms.

                       These neurocognitive factors are also coupled with evolutionary mechanisms within the VN, as described by

                       Dr. Stephen Porges.

                       When the ANS perceives both environmental and interoceptive safety, it is able to self-regulate from a

                       dorsal, energy-conservative strategy to a ventral, pro-social and pro-exploratory strategy.

                       Conversely, when it perceives threats in the environment or through interoception, it re-enters the TRC, down-

                       regulating pro-social and pro-exploratory behaviors with the subsequent inhibition of respiratory, immunological and

                       digestive processes. More commonly it causes people to experience moderate degrees of dissociation, polarized

                       thought end emotion and different forms of: chronic sadness, irritability, depression / suppression of affect, worry,

                       fear and / or anger in its different forms.

                       The key to the theories of Somatic Science™ is the following thesis:

                           In the predominantly mammalian environment in which human life unfolds, there are few if any environmental

                           threats. Circumstantial or moderately traumatic events occur rarely in the adult human population. This leaves 

                           childhood and ACEs (childhood trauma) as the most likely source of interoceptive threat in adults. 

                           According to the Polyvagal Theory (PVT), the VN is capable of hijacking cortical function at different levels

                           starting from the limbic system, into the HC and amygdala. It does this when it is operating dorsally as it 

                           attempts to manage high-energy states of sympathetic activation.

                       first two factors generates a feedback loop with the third, societal factor.

                       3: Societal factors

  • Experiment

  • Results:

Interoception is contemporarily defined as the sense of the internal state of the body. This can be both conscious and non-conscious. It encompasses the brain's process of integrating signals relayed from the body into specific subregions—like the brainstem, thalamus, insula, somatosensory, and anterior cingulate cortex—allowing for a nuanced representation of the physiological state of the body. This is important for maintaining homeostatic conditions in the body and, potentially, facilitating self-awareness.
Adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, are potentially traumatic events that occur in childhood (0-17 years)
The autonomic nervous system, formerly the vegetative nervous system, is a division of the peripheral nervous system that supplies smooth muscle and glands, and thus influences the function of internal organs. The autonomic nervous system is a control system that acts largely unconsciously and regulates bodily functions, such as the heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, pupillary response, urination, and sexual arousal. This system is the primary mechanism in control of the fight-or-flight response.
The Stress/Threat Response Cycle. The key word here is cycle. When faced with a threat or stress, the body responds by mobilizing energy to deal with that stress or threat. This is the activation phase. Then, when the event is over, a similar response occurs, but in reverse. This is the deactivation phase. Letting the energy generated to meet the stress/threat back out of the body and re-establishing a kind of equilibrium: a state of relaxed alertness.
The hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis is our central stress response system. The HPA axis is a dynamic intertwining of the central nervous system and endocrine system.
The hippocampus is part of the limbic system, and plays important roles in the consolidation of information from short-term memory to long-term memory, and in spatial memory that enables navigation. The hippocampus is located in the allocortex, with neural projections into the neocortex in humans as well as primates. The hippocampus, as the medial pallium, is a structure found in all vertebrates.
The vagus nerve is the tenth cranial nerve or CN X, and interfaces with the parasympathetic control of the heart, lungs, and digestive tract. The vagus is the longest nerve of the autonomic nervous system in the human body and comprises sensory and motor fibers. The sensory fibers originate from neurons of the nodose ganglion, whereas the motor fibers come from neurons of the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus and the nucleus ambiguus.
The autonomic nervous system, formerly the vegetative nervous system, is a division of the peripheral nervous system that supplies smooth muscle and glands, and thus influences the function of internal organs. The autonomic nervous system is a control system that acts largely unconsciously and regulates bodily functions, such as the heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, pupillary response, urination, and sexual arousal. This system is the primary mechanism in control of the fight-or-flight response.
Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) encompass various forms of physical and emotional abuse, neglect, and household dysfunction experienced in childhood. ACEs have been linked to premature death as well as to various health conditions, including those of mental disorders. Resulting toxic stress has also been linked to childhood maltreatment, which is related to a number of neurological changes in the structure of the brain and its function. The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, published in 1998, was the first large scale study to look at the relationship between ten categories of adversity in childhood and health outcomes in adulthood

All are welcome!

Federico works as a specialist in somatic psychotherapy in the US, Mexico and Central America. He has studied and experienced nondual psychology since 1995 with the Gurdjieff Foundation of San Francisco, the tradition of Zhineng Qigong (Direct Wisdom in Action) since 2006 and then the teachings of Jean Klein, Robert Adams in transmission from his disciples Laura and Francis Lucille.