When Perry-May Britton learnt that if you are massaging someone who doesn’t feel safe it doesn’t matter how skilled you are their body won’t allow you ‘in’, she was intrigued, and it led her become a somatic coach.


Source: Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash

When my son was finishing primary school I realised that it was time for me to explore finding better and more consistent work. Not to mention a better and more consistent income. I had been doing lots of small, part time jobs as well as running my own creative business for many years but it was time for change.

My criteria for my new career were unattainable: I wanted to have flexible working hours, a high hourly rate, do something meaningful and with people. I wanted to be creative but not deskbound. I didn’t want to commute and I didn’t want to work full time, yet. I wanted to have my cake and eat it!

After lots of prayer, I didn’t feel the Lord speaking except the verse: Proverbs 16:9 ‘In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord establishes his steps’. So despite not being sure what my heart wanted I took a big step and began a massage therapy course while juggling work and family life. I love people and my family have always said that I have ‘magic hands’ so this seemed a good option despite the fact that it was quite left field.

To my horror the course involved doing Anatomy and Physiology!

To my horror the course involved doing Anatomy and Physiology! It was very hard on my poor brain but it was in the midst of this difficult learning that I felt the Lord begin to direct my steps. 

I was reading about how our nervous system works and came across the concept that if you are massaging someone who doesn’t feel safe it doesn’t matter how skilled you are their body won’t allow you ‘in’. This was the lightbulb moment: WHAT IS THIS ALL ABOUT? I was hooked! I knew in that the Lord had established my steps.

This led me very neatly on to what is called somatic therapy. Soma means body in Latin so technically anything to do with the body is somatic.  Most somatic therapists focus quite specifically on trauma and usually come from a speaking therapy base (like counselling or psychotherapy) but there are a growing number of people who are approaching it from body based practices like massage and osteopathy.

I absolutely loved learning and I began a personal journey to reconnect to my own body, calm my dysregulated nervous system and put everything into practice.  I have suffered from migraines for a long time and I now have new tools that I wish I had known 30 years ago.

Simple body based solutions that slot into with my daily life easily like ‘stretching my eyes’ and humming to stimulate my vagus nerve!  I still get headaches but they have been much less severe, much less frequent and I haven’t needed to take prescription medication for them for almost a year.

I have also found that I am able to cope with stressful situations very differently.  For example leaving the house for school has historically been a pretty ugly experience for the whole family (because of me) but I have learned to ‘read’ my body better and essentially be more present and connected without screaming ‘Teeth! Shoes! Teeth! Shoes!’ at the top of my voice pouring my stress out onto everyone around me.  It has literally changed my life.

I now confidently describe myself as a somatic coach: I find body based solutions for every day problems like anxiety, headaches, sleep issues and even how to cope with angry (screen fuelled) teenagers (and I do a little massage on the side). I run online courses as well as one to one sessions and I love my job!

In tentatively and prayerfully beginning to seek a career change God has given me so much more:  I have learned the gift of being in my own fearfully and wonderfully made body and I have the privilege of changing other people’s lives too. It turns out God did establish my steps and gave me the perfect job as well as fulness of life. The unexpected bonus is that I get to travel too: I am ‘going to’ Sydney on Thursday (via zoom) but can still watch my son play tennis in West Sussex at the end of the day.

God knew all along what I needed and what is best for my family.