I am constantly asked “What do you do.” “What is Feldenkrais?” “Why and how do you do it?” And, “ How do you pronounce it?”
Welcome to my blog. I will give my best shot at answering these questions and MORE.
The Four Questions
What do you do?
Recently, I attended an open house in support of a friend's newly opened psychotherapy office. When I arrived, my friend eagerly introduced me to the crowd. It went something like this:
“Everyone, I would like you to meet my friend Beth. She’s an OT (occupational therapist.)” Upon seeing my shaking head, she corrected herself. “PT.”, she offered. “Well,” I began. “I am a physical therapist by license and education, but I don’t do traditional physical therapy.”
It’s pretty common to see the stares go rapidly from confusion to curiosity. It’s easy to say what I don’t do. But trying to explain what I do do is another thing altogether.
After a pause, I said, “I help people live the life they choose.” I provide a laboratory where they can explore how they move so that they can do what they want to do.”
More blank stares.
“Do any of you have a physical issue that stops you from doing your favorite activity?” I asked. One woman instantly volunteered her experience with an old back injury that often takes her out of commission. She had seen many professionals and had even been told that she has arthritis in her spine. She tries to stand up very straight and do the recommended exercises every day, but all that seems to make it worse. Her age? Just 52!
I told the group, the now-rapidly growing group, that folks like her are exactly who I work with. But instead of trying fix from the outside, I help people explore how they move. Once they understand that, they can help their bodies do their own healing.
What is FELDENKRAIS?
The Feldenkrais Method is scientifically-based. It is not physical therapy. It is not massage. We do not make diagnoses or prognoses. We apply the science of brain plasticity and movement mechanics.
In order for change to occur, we must work with the whole body, along with the brain. The brain tells our muscles what to do, then the muscles tell the brain what has just happened. It’s an ongoing communication. Using this model, clients learn how to move better, which means less pain. There are so many parts of ourselves that are invisible to us. When I teach my students how to pay attention to what they are doing, they suddenly feel and experience the difference.
Once a person learns what she is doing, as Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais once said, “She can do what she wants.”
Why do you do it?
Why? This is an easy one......Because it works.
My clients quickly discover that they can move more easily. With continued guidance from me, they root out movements and ideas about movements that have been overusing muscles and joints; becoming more aware of habits and patterns that cause pain. Once a person learns to move in a way that doesn't hurt, they have control and are able to go back to doing activities they want to do and living a pain-free life.
I give gentle, individual hands-on sessions as well as group classes where people move themselves. In both, students learn to move in a variety of ways, allowing them to figure out what works for them. I also do workshops, regular weekly lessons, and private sessions by appointment. I can work with many ages and conditions, but my specialty is working with Baby Boomers who want to continue living an active lifestyle. I also specialize in working with folks who have not been helped by other professionals and are looking for a way to continue living life to the fullest.
So, how the heck do you pronounce it?
Feldenkrais, rhymes with paradise.
To connection, movement, and mindfulness,