Feldenkrais Method: Next on the List?

As with most subjects, I enjoy taking some time and looking for more information. Especially when it comes to the subject of my physical state. Whether it’s researching alternative treatments or methods of pain control. I happened to come across an article in the NY Times that goes into detail of the writers experience with using Feldenkrais Method to help with pain control. I had never hear of this, as I’m sure you haven’t either. Here’s a link to the article: NY Times: Feldenkrais Method

The website explains this method stating:

The Feldenkrais Method is based on principles of physics, biomechanics, and an empirical understanding of learning and human development. Moshe Feldenkrais said, “We move according to our perceived self-image.” By expanding your perception and increasing awareness, you will become more aware of your habits and tensions and develop new ways of moving. By increasing sensitivity, the Feldenkrais Method assists you to live your life more fully, efficiently, and comfortably.

Self-awareness, and self-understanding. My first thought was to assume that it was some sort of yoga based, meditation. The aim of this method is to improve the damaged connections between the motor cortex and the body. This can help improve movement and well-being.

Of course, there are schools of thought that believe the Feldenkrais Method is simply a glorified version of yoga or it’s some sort of hippie thing like meditation or yoga. There have been evaluations of this method that were conducted in Australia that showed there is no significant benefit to practicing this method. We could simply look at this as a placebo effect, and if it helps you feel relief and more connection to your physical state, then where’s the harm?

From a logical standpoint, this method could make sense. Become more aware of your body and how you carry yourself in order to alleviate your pain and discomfort. The website lists many areas that can benefit from this method, anywhere from balance and coordination to illness and injuries.

In my own life, I can always tell when I’m having a not-so-perfect day. My low back will begin to throb which has a tendency to move down into my left leg causing the muscles and tendons around my hip to become tight. Also, because of the dysplasia I’ve developed a limp. Whether that’s because of the dysplasia and the slight length difference in my legs, or it’s a subconscious way of trying to baby my leg, I’m uncertain.

The limp I have can vary from day to day. Typically it seems like the beginning of the week, I’m doing okay, and it isn’t effecting me too much. But by the end of the week rolls around my legs hurt and my back is screaming at me. This could very well be because of the way that I carry myself throughout the day.

In the article the writer goes on to explain her own experience with learning this method. She states that there is a necessity for being connected and aware of one’s body and how it moves through the world. When you make the conscious effort to walk upright in a fluid motion, this can alleviate some of the pressure that is put on the spine. Being aware of your body is key.

From my own experience I can say that I know for a fact that I will sometimes alter the way that my body moves in order to compensate when I’m in pain. And it’s a distinct possibility that it happens when I’m unaware as well. If my hip or low back starts hurting I will typically try and put as little pressure on my left leg as I can. This, in turn, will cause my limp to get much worse and will throw my body out of whack.

It doesn’t seem like this is a sort of exercise that should be done in place of Western medicine, but like anything else it may help to supplement. In the way that taking pain medication is good to pair with physical therapy. A combination of methods may be able to play off of one another to help with the pain reduction.

So, could this be the next thing I attempt to get my pain under control? I’m hesitant. The nearest Feldenkrais practitioner is in Corvallis which is about a half hour from where I currently live. A bit out of the way, but it can’t hurt to contact the practitioner to see what they may have to say.

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