According to Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, an increase in the proprioceptive or kinesthetic self-awareness of a person’s functional movement will lead to an increase in function, a reduction in pain, and a greater pleasure to ease the movement.
Thus, Feldenkrais is movement pedagogy which is educational and not a manipulative therapy.
The method adopted is experiential and provides the tools for self-observation based on movement inquiry.
The practitioners will direct attention to the habitual movement patterns that lead to strain and replaces them 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 the neck and shoulders can be either passive -performed by the practitioner on the body of the recipient or active – performed by a recipient who is fully clothed.
Correcting stressful movement patterns of this training helps in healing injury, physical dysfunction, and pain.
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Feldenkrais Method for Back and Neck Pain
Feldenkrais Method or technique is often referred to simply as the “Feldenkrais.”
It is a kind of somatic educational system which was designed by Moshe Feldenkrais.
The Feldenkrais therapy aims to reduce pain or any limitations in the movement of a body part, in improving physical function, and in promoting general well-being.
The basic target of the Feldenkrais Method is a movement with minimum effort.
Feldenkrais therapy attempts to teach the patient flexibility, balance, and coordination that will help to function and move without pain.
Feldenkrais Therapy Part 1
Part 1 of the therapy emphasizes the importance of the power of the mind over the body.
Moshe Feldenkrais says that what you are, is based on flexible brains and not on the 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 set a new habit, and fast exercises do not work well either. 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 lead 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 lifestyle demands more static movements than a dynamic one as we spend much time driving, sitting before the computer, etc.
So to get back the childlike flexibility, you have to establish 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 and throwing the shoulders back is a good posture:
Based on the movement adapted, posture should be changed.
Else rigidity will result, 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 the pain starts to get the best outcomes.
But Feldenkrais emphasizes movements that are only comfortable. When something starts to hurt, stop doing it.
Feldenkrais Method And Training Exercises for Pain Management
Chronic neck pain can make your everyday tasks too difficult. The gentle movements suggested in the Feldenkrais Method help reduce the pain and increase 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 on 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 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 focus on body parts and positive thinking for strengthening the pelvis and for improving balance.
Below are some exercises that you can perform to attain good balance and to help to ease neck pain.
Relax your shoulders and neck
Pay attention to the tension in your upper body. Lift and then lower down one of your shoulders slowly for the 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 the head from one side to the other. Roll on the head slowly and gently towards the back and then to the other side.
Press your ear to your shoulder as far as you can and bring it around to the front, lowering the chin towards the chest. Keep on repeating this for the 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 that all body parts are involved in the movement. Do continue it for a 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 the duration of one minute and then repeat the same for the opposite side. Don’t strain while doing this exercise.
Feldenkrais is aimed at retraining your mind and your body to a state of better health.
Initially, pay attention to simple things like how you are standing, your posture, and your 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.