I had my first meeting with a business advisor the other day. He asked me what I did. My mouth opened and shut like a goldfish – wordless. Where do I start? If I told him my profession for which I was seeking business advice (I’m a Feldenkrais practitioner), he would not have heard of it. The countless people that I had helped with various numerous conditions flashed through my head – broken neck, hip pain, hypermobility, Parkinson’s, MS …. My thoughts were interrupted as he then asked ‘What’s your elevator pitch?’
Move Well, Feel Well, Live Well
My motto is move well, feel well, live well. Whilst that sounds good, it does not fully describe what I do. So I had to ask myself what is it that I do? What do I offer people who come to me for help? My homework was to come up with my elevator pitch for our next meeting so I thought this would be a good opportunity to voice my thoughts in a blog.
I listen to people – not only to what they tell me when they come into my practice but what their bodies tell me when I put my hands on them. I tell them not to assist me as I gently move various parts of them so that I can truly feel how communicative their nervous system is – how open the ‘telegraph wires’ are. (I often use that as an analogy).
How does it work?
Here’s an example – someone comes to me with a painful neck and shoulder (you can replace neck and shoulder with any part of the body). After the initial questions of occupation or injury / surgery, I ask them to do a few movements such as turning, or looking up and down, to see how they do those movements. After the visual inspection, I place my hands gently and ask them to do those movements again. I ‘listen’ carefully with my hands (actually it’s with my whole body) as they move. What goes through my mind as they do this is a series of questions – what is the quality of the movement, where is there movement and where is there none, what is the easy range, how are they shifting weight and so on.
Then I get them to lie on my Feldenkrais table where they can surrender to gravity and I repeat some of the questions as they are lying now in a more relaxed fashion without having to hold themselves upright in gravity. When I find a closed door (restriction in movement or pain), I do not attempt to force my way through it – I look for the open doors (availability of movement and no pain) and try to connect the telegraph wires through a different route.
A Sense of Ease and Fluidity
It’s all very clever stuff (I won’t go into detail now about using movement to rewire the brain – topic for another blog) and at the end of the lesson, when they repeat the movements that they did at the beginning, they usually do so with more ease and fluidity, with a better sense of doing it and with the whole self rather than just parts of them. As they move more easily with less restriction, they also report less or no pain.
In simplistic terms, the nervous system has reset itself and become a little more efficient at processing new ‘better’ information. More telegraph wires are now connecting to each other with the person feeling more whole and integrated (that is why the individual work is called Functional Integration®). Before they leave, I usually then give some verbal instructions on how to maintain this newfound sense of lightness and ability to move more easily.
To summarise, I help people to tune into and listen to themselves through my guidance – some of it verbal, most of it on a much more subliminal level. Through that deeper observation, they can get an idea of what their habits of moving are, and how to deal with it the next time they feel the pain coming on.
So, at the end of today’s musings, here’s my elevator pitch:
I help people to truly listen to and tune into their body so that they can move well, which then makes them feel well and have a better quality of life.
What do you think? If you have any ideas I would love to hear from you.
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