Get MindfulSomatic Butterfly Hug

Somatic: Butterfly Hug

30 April 2024

This is a somatic practice to help with nervous system regulation. You can use this if you feel anxious, scattered or dysregulated.

Catherine Wells

Catherine Wells

Occupational Therapist

This practice can initiate a parasympathetic or relaxation response in the body, taking us back into regulation. It uses several techniques to give the nervous system cues of safety:


Bilateral Tapping

Rhythmic, predictable pattern is relaxing for body and encourages communication between two sides of the brain.


Bilateral Eye Movements

When we feel unsafe out vision narrows. This technique allows us to orient and take in peripheral vision.


Supportive touch

Holding the chest allows us to feel supported and contained.


Coherent Breathing

Regulating and slowing the breath puts on our vagal brake bringing us into the relaxation response.


Try the Butterfly Hug



  1. First, take your hands, hook your thumbs, and cross hands over your chest.
  2. Then start tapping, side to side, in a regular, orderly rhythm.
  3. If its comfortable, add in the breath. Inhale for four taps, exhale for four taps. Adjust the speed of the taps so this feels comfortable. For a deeper sense of relaxation, breathe in for four taps and out for six taps.
  4. Then add in some eye movements. Without moving your head, change your gaze to the right for one full inhale and exhale, then to the left for a complete inhale and exhale.
  5. Then, can you slow it down a bit, to a pace that is comfortable for you.
  6. Continue with this for as long as feels right for you.

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If you are experiencing distress or are in a mental health crisis please contact
Lifeline on 0808 808 8000


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