Feldenkrais Method or technique is often referred simply as the “Feldenkrais”. It is a kind of somatic educational system which was designed by Moshe Feldenkrais.
The Feldenkrais therapy aims in reducing the pain or any limitations in the movement of body part, in improving the physical function and in promoting the general well-being.
What is Feldenkrais Method?
Feldenkrais taught that increase in the proprioceptive or kinesthetic self awareness of a person’s functional movement will lead to an increase in the function, reduction in the pain and greater pleasure to ease the movement.
Thus, the Feldenkrais is movement pedagogy which is educational and not a manipulative therapy. The method adapted is experiential and provides the tools for self observation based on movement enquiry.
The practitioners will direct attention to the habitual movement patterns that leads to strain and replaces it with new patterns that are gentle, repeated, slow movements. The slow repetition imparts a new habit and allows it to be felt normal.
The movements of feldenkrais exercises for neck and shoulders can be either passive -performed by practitioner on the body of recipient or active – performed by recipient who is fully clothed. Correcting stressful movement patterns of this training helps in healing injury, physical dysfunction and pain.
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How Feldenkrais Method Helps in Treating Back and Neck Pain?
The basic target of Feldenkrais Method is the movement with minimum effort. Feldenkrais therapy attempts in teaching the patient flexibility, balance and coordination that will help to function and move without pain.
Feldenkrais Therapy Part 1: The Part 1 of the therapy emphasis the importance on the power of mind over body. Moshe Feldenkrais says that what you are, is based on flexible brains and not on flexible body.
Feldenkrais Therapy Part 2: Part 2 of Feldenkrais Therapy works on removing the misconceptions that are in common like the ones given below.
- Faster is better: Faster will not help in setting a new habit and fast exercises does not work well too. When things are done slowly, there is a chance that they become a habit and we will be able to adapt to the change easily. So according to Feldenkrais, slower is better than faster. Slow movements allow you to understand more about your own movements and leads to a flexible brain and then a flexible body.
- Healing of the injured area can be facilitated by “Stretching out”: Stretching exercises for calves, hamstrings, and neck are unhelpful and at times counterproductive too. The modern life style demands more static movements than a dynamic one as we spent much time, driving, sitting before the computer, etc. So to get back the child like flexibility, you have to establish the fine tuned coordination again. Then, only you can get out of the immobility and body tension that our nervous system got accustomed to.
- Standing straight, throwing the shoulders back is the good posture: Based on the movement adapted, posture should be changed. Else rigidity will be resulted and the strain taken consciously to maintain a static straight posture will lead to loss of balance.
- Weight lifting strengthens the body and so greater weights should be lifted: Anything done over a limit will cause problems, even if it is a good thing to do. We do need strength but if intense weight is lifted and heavy calisthenics is done for developing muscles, this can hamper many graceful movements.
- No pain, no gain: While doing exercises, people insist on continuing the exercise even after pain starts to get the best outcomes. But Feldenkrias emphasizes in movements that are only comfortable. When something starts to hurt, stop doing it.
Feldenkrais Method And Training Exercises
Chronic neck pain can make your every day tasks too difficult. The gentle movements suggested in Feldenkrais Method help reduce the pain and increase the self awareness, flexibility and relaxation.
Feldenkrais therapy methods combine anatomy, physics, biology and physiology with the elements of the ‘judo’ to educate the mind and also the body. Habitual patterns that are negative will lead to stress and strain in muscles. So you have to learn to ease the tension and neck pain; Feldenkrais movements will help you on the same.
Feldenkrais suggests realigning your body so that you can move efficiently and effectively. This will help in decreasing neck pain. Align the back, neck and the pelvis posture and this will significantly improve the muscle strength and remove tension or stress from your muscles.
Feldenkrais movements to increase the balance are simple and effective. The breathing exercises that are included in the Feldenkrais training method focuses on body parts and positive thinking for strengthening pelvis and for improving balance. Below are some exercises that you can perform for attaining good balance and to help easing neck pain.
Relax your shoulders and neck. Pay attention on the tension in your upper body. Lift and then lower down one of your shoulders slowly for duration of one minute. Just concentrate on this specific movement. But always keep the range of motion small.
Roll the neck. Do small circles using head from one side to the other. Roll the head slowly and gently towards back and then to the other side. Press your ear to your shoulder as far as you can and bring it around to front, lowering the chin towards chest. Keep on repeating this for duration of a minute. This movement in the Feldenkrais method is designed to lessen the tension.
Do ear to the shoulder exercise. In this, lower your ear to the shoulder and bring the head back to the normal, center position. Note which all body parts are involved in the movement. Do continue it for duration of one minute and then switch the sides.
Lean the ear to the shoulder as given in the step above. Then bring the head back to the center position. This time, do lift the shoulder to the ear and then return it to the center. Alternate the steps for duration of one minute and then repeat the same for opposite side. Don’t strain while doing this exercise.
Feldenkrais is aimed on retraining your mind and your body to a state of better health. Initially pay attention on simple things like how you are standing, your posture and breathing.
You can then practice Feldenkrais methods at your home with the help of tapes having your favorite instructor guiding you. If you cannot find an instructor for home training you are welcome to join the classes.
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