A Feldenkrais Therapy Session
Unleashing the Power of Feldenkrais Therapy for Optimal Healing
Feldenkrais therapy is a unique approach to movement education and rehabilitation that focuses on improving the body’s functionality and reducing pain. The Feldenkrais Guild of North America describes it this way:
“Feldenkrais … uses gentle movement and directed attention to help people learn new and more effective ways of living the life they want. You can increase your ease and range of motion, improve your flexibility and coordination, and rediscover your innate capacity for graceful, efficient movement. Since how you move is how you move through life, these improvements will often enhance your thinking, emotional regulation, and problem-solving capabilities.” – FGNA website
Feldenkrais Therapy vs. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy often focuses on strengthening weak muscles and stretching tight muscles to address injuries and painful conditions.
Feldenkrais therapy takes an educational, rather than a medical, approach. I won’t “treat” or “fix” you. Rather as an experienced Feldenkrais therapist, I’ll teach you to move with more ease, less pain, and greater efficiency.
My Personal Experience With Feldenkrais Therapy
Let me share my experience. After leaving my job at Microsoft, I fell in love with racquetball. However, while playing, I kept straining my hamstrings. Once strained, walking was painful and playing racquetball was impossible.
Over the course of two years, I sought help from many different physical therapists. They all agreed that my glutes were weak and that my hamstrings were doing too much of the work. They prescribed exercises to strengthen my glutes-which I diligently did. But no matter how much I strengthened my glutes, my movement patterns stayed the same. On the court, I kept overusing my hamstrings, and they remained vulnerable to injury. Though physical therapy was helpful, it was not enough. I became quite frustrated.
Finally, a friend convinced me to try Feldenkrais therapy. After only a few sessions with a certified Feldenkrais therapist, I began to notice an improvement. I discovered how to engage my glutes while running around the court. Since I was now using my glutes, they naturally became stronger. Since I stopped overusing my hamstrings, they were able to recover. Plus, my movements were more powerful, fluid, and graceful. And I was winning more games.
Even after my hamstrings stopped being an issue, I continued with Feldenkrais Therapy. My posture, fluidity, and overall sense of well-being improved. I was deeply inspired. I joined a four-year program to become a certified Feldenkrais® therapist. This way I could understand the process more deeply and begin to share it with others.
Laura Playing Racquetball
What are the Principles of Feldenkrais Therapy?
At the heart of the method are five simple principles:
- Movement is essential for life. Every interaction in the world involve a movement, whether it’s speaking, looking, eating, reaching, walking, or breathing.
- We learned to move. Unlike many animals that instinctually walk shortly after birth, humans learn to move gradually. Babies take months to master rolling, sitting, standing, and walking. As adults, we tend to take these abilities for granted. But the fact is, they were learned skills.
- Anything we learn, we can improve. Our minds are learning machines. Given the right learning environment, we can refine our skills.
- Feldenkrais therapy teaches us to move better. Through the cultivation of a deeper awareness of existing movement patterns, discerning subtle differences, and exploring alternative approaches, we can learn to move with greater ease, grace, and efficiency.
- When we move better, we feel better. Even small improvements in movement can lead to significant benefits such as increased vitality, improved comfort, reduced anxiety, less pain, greater freedom, and a greater sense of well-being.
Over $1,000,000,000 spent on golf lessons in 2019. Photo by Jopwell
Can I Really Learn to Move Better?
In our culture, people like to invest in improving their movement skills for sports, music, and dance. I know I can improve how I play the clarinet by taking music lessons. If I want to be a better performer, I’ll take dancing and singing lessons. It is the same with golf. In fact, the National Golf Foundation estimated that in 2019 American citizens spent one billion dollars (!) on golf lessons.
Unfortunately, people often assume their basic movements, like reaching and walking, are innate and immutable. We don’t remember learning how to move our arms to reach or learning how to balance ourselves while walking. So, we don’t think of them as skills that can be refined and improved.
The Potential for Improvement
Infants don’t perfect their ability to move. Instead, they reached a “good enough” level and then proceed to focus on learning other things like social skills and math. Unfortunately, the skills we acquired in infancy may no longer be adequate. Our bodies have changed and aged. Many of us have experienced injuries and trauma. The pain we experience in movement is often a signal that our movement skills are no longer sufficient.
Book A Free Consultation
In your free 60-minute Feldenkrais consultation, we will look at your goals and your challenges, and identify specific movement patterns that are causing you problems. You will discover how we can work together to improve your movement so that you put less stress, wear and tear on your body