Thursday, September 14, 2006

Go Feldenkrais yourself!

Last night I literally got lost in the backwoods of Ridgefield, Connecticut. I went down dirt roads that bordered on lakes (I was tempted to yell at the guy in the rowboat for directions)and drove down roads I didn't recognize only to end up in the same place several times. I felt like I was in a maize maze only, um, in the woods. My goal was to find the sole Feldenkrais instructor in the area. I had an instructor in NYC but he moved to Brooklyn and the 2 hour travel time started to outweigh the hour long session benefits.

The reward of finding Jody in the woods was sweet. If you're not familiar with Feldenkrais, which it is pretty obscure so not many people are, it is kind of like very gentle physical therapy that works to realign the body and therefore releases pain. I hesitate to say it is like physical therapy but to the outside observer, it may look like the manipulations are the same. In fact, the touch is completely gentle and similiar to say, wiping up spilled water on a counter but the result is that the student stands taller and finds a balance in the body that is natural. Do you ever find yourself slumping or arching your back and then you end up correcting it to a point that stretches in the opposite direction? Feldenkrais eliminates that completely. Your body reaches balance.

For the last 15 years, I have had consistent back pain that ranges from 2 to 9 out of 10 (being emergency room level). I've seen physical therapists, massage therapists of all types, yoga, and plain old bike riding to relieve the pain. All of these cut the pain but never eliminated it. After my session last night, my back pain was cut to a level 1. Today it is still at that point although my body wants to default to that painful but familiar positions. I'm going to see Jody once a week for the next couple months and then taper off as my body learns how to move correctly.

If you are interested, read her fascinating profile. It is strangely natural that this increasingly immobile woman is helping me to find my mobility.


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