We tend to think of ourselves as a collection of parts. When our neck, lower back or hip hurts, we look for immediate solutions to that particular problem, usually focussing on only that specific area or areas.
Systemic NOT Reductionistic
This reductionistic outlook, favoured by conventional medicine is now being questioned. Research is showing that concentrating on such a small part of ourselves, rather than looking at the global picture, can only produce a temporary fix. It is like putting a sticking plaster on a hole in the ceiling to stop the water leak from coming through. It does not address how the leak started in the first place.
We have our blind spots
We don’t know what we don’t know. Although that sounds obvious, you will be amazed at your habits and what you are doing once you pay attention to how you are moving.
Most people turn up to my practice with specific issues and are very concerned about that particular part of them. For instance, a recent client came with ankle, lower back and neck issues, pointing directly to those parts. He gave extensive reasons for those problem areas, citing X-rays, scans, and previous injuries.
The Feldenkrais Method is NOT a treatment
I am NOT a doctor, meaning that I am not medically trained and as such, cannot diagnose people. I AM trained in feeling and observing how a body moves or doesn’t, how the force of transmission goes through our body when we move in relation to gravity. I can often feel and see why people suffer the way they do by observing the way they move.
Rewire your brain for optimum movement
So, to return to my client, I immediately noticed upon standing that he ‘fell’ into his hip socket whenever he transferred his weight from one leg to the other. This transferring of weight from one leg to the other is something that we do all the time in walking. I also noticed certain holding patterns further up in the chest, which probably contributed to the neck pain.
I worked with my client lying on his back, so that he could let go of any habitual muscular holding. I began to re-educate his nervous system by using my hands to suggest how the legs could transmit the force directly up through the hip joints to the spine and the head. I finished the lesson with him in standing, transferring his weight from one leg to another, and then took it into walking. The integration part of a Feldenkrais lesson is very important as this is the time that the brain figures out how to take the learning into function.
A day later, I received a text message from my client saying how much better he felt – all the aches and pains had gone miraculously! He was implementing everything we had done in that session, from waiting in a queue at the supermarket, to walking, and everything else he did – in short, he was completely changing the way he moved.
Yes, of course I worked with his feet, neck and spine, but I also worked with his arms, legs, in fact, ALL of him. We are not a collection of bodily parts suspended in space – we are interconnected, and we are subject to the forces of gravity. Unless we think of ourselves that way, we will never achieve the ease and lightness of moving and being that is innate within us. Muscular strengthening or stretching, whilst useful in some cases, will not provide such long-lasting changes that happen from within.
Moving with Your Whole Self Workshop
Discover the joy of moving with your whole self in this workshop. You may be surprised at how well you feel at the end of it!
“Movement is life, life is a process. Improve the quality of the process and you improve the quality of life itself.” — Dr Moshe Feldenkrais
To find out how the Feldenkrais Method® can help you, click here.
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