An array of serious health challenges, diagnoses, conditions, and symptoms are represented below and are important to note. Equally important is the fact that “you are more than your diagnosis.” You are a unique expression of intent and purpose; of cause and effect; of genetics and life lived; of resilience.
My approach with you reflects this individuality, what you communicate verbally and through your body. Although each session is meticulously crafted prior to our appointment, ebb and flow within each session is natural and expected. The path we take to best address your needs reflects an empathic attunement to your current state – what you feel, notice, express from minute to minute. It is a shared experience that supports a pathway to your Authentic Self.
I know Lilla both as an associate in the medical professional world and as a personal client. She is extremely gifted. Most of my clientele have numerous chronic conditions. I cannot send them to just anyone. I need a person who can comprehensively understand my client’s conditions and modify her approaches with them accordingly, resulting in them feeling better. Her knowledge and experience put her at the top of her profession. I personally go to her for both massage and postural restoration.
Depression; Childhood trauma; Tendonitis; Headaches
I’ve worked with Lilla for over a year. I initially came for Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy—and was a bit skeptical at that. I was astounded by the results. I experienced a decrease of anxiety and depression and an ever-growing sense of well-being. The work we did also healed some childhood trauma. As the months went by, Lilla incorporated massage and postural restoration to address tendonitis and headaches. She started with a comprehensive evaluation and created a program specifically for me. For the past many months, we have worked together to address the whole human system – physical, emotional, and spiritual. Lilla has an impressive education and extensive experience in a variety of modalities to address many issues; but most importantly, she is a deeply compassionate person and a natural healer. She is a delight to work with and the results in my overall health are amazing.
Pain management; Balance; Stress; Quality of life
I first started seeing Lilla eight years ago after I partially tore my meniscus in a ski accident. I was so impressed by her close attention and compassionate style of care that I continued to see her for a number of health-related issues over the years. These have ranged from dealing with surgery-related pain management, to improving my body mechanics for better balance and mobility, to enhancing recovery from conditions as common as the flu. Lilla’s dedication to increasing my physiological capacity has helped me manage stress and dramatically improve my quality of life.
As an MD, I’m impressed by her constant quest for information on breakthrough scientific advancements and the application of that knowledge to my therapy. I highly recommend Lilla to anyone looking for a unique integrative approach to better health.
Head injury; Muscle imbalances
I’ve been working with Lilla since 2014 and have benefited from Postural Restoration and respiratory dynamics therapy.I sought these therapies as age and injury exacerbated existing imbalances. Using a customized program, regular sessions, and frequent feedback from Dr. Somerville, I continue to improve my strength, flexibility, and balance. My effectiveness as an equestrian (a posture- and balance-dependent sport) has improved from this work.
When Dr. Somerville introduces new therapies in her practice, we incorporate them into my program. Massage therapy now complements the Postural Restoration, helping us access muscle systems that may be temporarily frozen by stress or overuse. Due to an unfortunate accident in 2020, resulting in a head injury, I have also benefited from her Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy to promote that healing process. These therapies have become an important part of my life, a lifestyle rather than a “one and done” approach.
Scoliosis, neuromuscular disorders
As a referring physician, I have seen the beneficial effects of Lilla’s postural work and movement training on my patients with neuromuscular disorders or other physical imbalances impacting their mobility or function.
As a mother, I have also observed Lilla integrate a variety of approaches in helping my daughter, an aspiring professional ballet dancer, restore balance in muscles affected by mild scoliosis. Lilla tailors an individualized regimen of therapeutic exercises and restorative breathing techniques to fit each of her client’s needs, resulting in steady and long-lasting improvement in each client’s functional performance and well-being.
Complex congenital condition
Lilla is that rare practitioner that can truly see beyond what appears to be in front of her. Her assessments are comprehensive, thoughtful, and informed. My daughter was born with a complicated deformity. As a mother, it was clear to me how one area of the body with the “problem” impacted her entire body and affected everything she did and how she moved in the world. I tried several times to have other practitioners address what I was seeing or at the very least acknowledge it. It is not how they are trained; it was as if I was speaking another language. The first time we saw Lilla, she got it, and was able to zero in on a treatment plan. I would be remiss if I did not mention the reverence with which she approached my daughter. I feel truly blessed to have found her and would not hesitate to recommend her for any of the many modalities she practices. I have experienced them all myself!
Chronic headaches; Sinusitis
I connected with Lilla out of a desire to resume craniosacral therapy, a practice I had found rewarding 15 years earlier but had not maintained. She is everything I had hoped for, and then some. The technical aspects of her therapy are impeccable, of course, but what matters most is the energetic presence she brings to the relationship. There is nothing even vaguely transactional about working with Lilla; she is all in, all the time, and wants to know what you are feeling and how you are reacting every step of the way. To call her approach merely holistic would be to do who she is and what she does a disservice; a more appropriate adjective might be universal, as she taps into every aspect of one’s being to produce her remarkable results, which include relief from years of chronic headaches, transformed posture, and an improved connection between mind, body, spirit.
After a couple decades of military service, I found myself with injuries to both shoulders. Three successive rounds of conventional physical therapy would ease the pain and increase range of motion for a brief period, but problems always came back. A friend referred me to Lilla. She conducted a “whole picture” evaluation that included not only my shoulder issues but also how the rest of my body was compensating for the injuries as well as identifying some detrimental posture habits contributing to the problem. Conventional therapists treated my shoulders as if they were in isolation, while Lilla emphasizes fixing related issues to bring permanent improvements.I can now sleep through the night without waking up from shoulder pain. We are not done yet, but the progress is obvious.
Lilla is kind and extremely knowledgeable! My doctor recommended that I work with her to better control my asthma. She taught me a combination of special breathing and postural exercises that really worked. I am breathing better and have been able to reduce my asthma medication as well.
Lymphedema (post-surgical complications); debilitating chronic low back pain
I live with chronic lymphedema resulting from axillary nodal dissection, and have on numerous occasions in the past, sought traditional physical therapy to reduce swelling, pain, and potential for inflammation/infection. When medically referred yet again for PT, I followed up on feedback I had heard about Lilla’s ability to work with complex and unfamiliar issues, and approached her about working with me. Based on her independent research, she tailored a comprehensive personalized treatment plan which combines strengthening, stretching, and manipulating appropriate muscles to support lymphatic fluid flow. Since working with Lilla, I have improved core muscles that help me not only with lymphedema issues, but also with gait, posture, and breathing, and have greatly reduced instances of chronic lower back pain that have been debilitating in the past. Her approach has been unique in my experience and demonstrates her attention to the nuances of how bodily systems interact and how well things are working.
Eight months ago, Lilla was recommended to me by my Internist, a well-respected, long-standing Washingtonian Top Doctor, to help me develop core strength to combat gradual muscle weakness associated with a form of muscular dystrophy. My Internist’s assessment, as well as my own, is that the individualized program she developed for me has been extremely successful on many levels. Lilla is a uniquely qualified professional who is able to integrate her doctoral education and extensive continued research to maximize success in the most challenging cases of muscle weakness. She never stops researching and digging down to the next level, what it sometimes takes to overcome plateaus or to achieve progress in areas where others have failed.
Physical and emotional discomfort
I feel so lucky (so blessed!) every time I get to work with Lilla. Her touch is incredibly perceptive, gentle and healing, and she combines this gift with her profound awareness and sensitivity — whether the work is BCST, postural work or therapeutic massage. Her attention to detail and deep understanding of the body’s various systems (physical, emotional, energetic) enable her to create a safe space in which we transmute my physical and emotional discomfort into ease and openness. Lilla’s massage work helped me get through a very rough period of grieving, calming my nervous system and providing an oasis in which to integrate everything I was processing. And our postural work together has helped me become a better dancer! Even after just a few sessions I was able to make profound changes in my alignment that supports me every day, dancing or not! She’s the person to whom I send my friends!
Addressing multiple body systems
Being on Lilla’s table is to experience healing of a type of complexity, depth, nuance, and subtlety that I have not experienced anywhere else.
It is not just the depth and breadth of her expertise, academic training, and hands-on skills. Those are critical to her approach: the many areas and levels of knowledge and apprenticeship that she has mastered and continues to explore are always held in her awareness, accessed throughout every session and probed during the focused time she dedicates to preparing for and reflecting on each client and each session.
But more than this, it is her ability to keep her focus on your potential for health, and your current health, no matter how sick or in pain you feel. And to do so not by ignoring the sickness or pain, but by giving it the awareness and compassion and space it needs to realize that it, too, even it, can transform. The depth, breadth, and agency of her compassion is more remarkable than even that of her professional knowledge base and experience.
Meniere’s Disease; Dizzy spells
I started seeing Lilla when I began to have dizzy spells and was diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease. Traditional western medicine does not have a lot to offer for Meniere’s, so I turned to complementary/alternative health approaches. A friend recommended Lilla, and I thought I would give her a try, because I had nothing to lose. I have thoroughly enjoyed every session I have ever had with Lilla. She is extremely soothing, has a healing touch, and I always feel profoundly relaxed after our Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy session. My dizzy spells have decreased in intensity and frequency.
Lilla has a lovely way of explaining what she does. She has models of skulls and skeletons and can point out how and what and where she places her focus. Her wide background gives her a wide array of knowledge and approaches.
Lilla has also helped me with lower back pain by reviewing my exercise routines, pointing out the exercises that aggravate my lower back and suggesting replacement exercises. My pain has decreased and my sleep has improved…all wonderful outcomes.
GB: I sought you out because I was looking for something to add to AB’s yoga practice that would be portable, as in using breathing to control pain, anxiety, etc. The combination has clearly helped. AB now has “tools” that can help her in a variety of situations where medication doesn’t.
AB: It helps me stay relaxed, sort of like yoga, but it’s different. It benefits me doing my exercises. It’s important to remember them. It’s great to be around you because you’re funny!