Self-Hugs & Tapping can Ease Chronic Pain, Relieve Stress

Somatic exercise is meant to release muscular tension through gentle movement, while relaxing and releasing stress.

It helps to relieve chronic pain by increasing awareness of body signals and self-management of symptoms. Somatic exercises also are used to calm and relieve tension and work through trauma.

If you’re ready to get started, here are just three of the many exercises you can find. Practice these five minutes each day. If you practice in the morning, you’ll get ready to move throughout the day. In the evening, you will relax your muscles before bed.

They can also be done anytime of the day to release stress.

Butterfly Hug

This is a self-soothing technique to shift your anxiety through self-touch. Sit in a comfortable position, then cross your arms in front of your body, bringing each hand to touch the opposite shoulder or collarbone.

Begin to alternately tap your right hand and then your left, just where your hands are touching your body. Change the pace and firmness to what is comfortable. Continue tapping until you start to feel more at ease and calm.


This exercise means to literally shake off the stress and return to a state of homeostasis.

Jump up and down, shake your arms, your body, your legs, etc. as gently or as firmly as you are comfortable and observe the tension release and stretch.


You can do this all over your body anytime during the day. Using soft hands or fingertips, gently tap your upper body, then torso and legs. Use your fingertips and tap your face and neck gently.

By stimulating these points on your body, studies show improved energy levels, better sleep, reduced stress and improved blood circulation.