Exploring better ways to move, exercise or sustain physical resilience with mobility challenges is a constant source of interest for me. I recently discovered the Feldenkrais Method, with the help of Stacy Barrows, PT, GCFT, CPI, a physical therapist, Pilate’s instructor, and passionate practitioner of the approach. We explored some of the benefits for persons with disabilities. The main distinction of this form of movement therapy is its engineering viewpoint on understanding the body, “How do all the parts of the body work together? It's less of a cause and effect mindset,” Barrow notes.
The exploratory nature of this method is one unique feature. “I find that patients lose an internal sense of their bodies. If you can visualize a baby experimenting and exploring movement in an organic way, that's the spirit of Feldenkrais," says Barrows. The goal is to re-discover movement that eliminates unnecessary energy expenditure and increases efficiency. “I've worked with many patients who have given up or reached a plateau in their range of motion. Exercises such as the pelvic clock renews a patient’s center of gravity
and establishes a new feedback system,” notes Barrows. Research on Feldenkrias is emerging, but is now widely utilized for a variety of medical conditions ranging from cancer to athletic injuries to chronic pain. In her own research, Barrows notes that patients have reported pain reduction, sleep improvement, and a sense of renewal. Her sessions include a hands- on or hands- off approach. “The hands are more for listening," says Barrow. “We get on the floor, practice some puzzles, and come up with new tools the client
can use to take care of themselves."
The hands-off aspects are implemented in classes, where a practitioner leads attendees are led through a series of gentle micro-movements done while sitting, standing, or lying down. “This work is not about reversing pathology, but about optimizing function”. We discover more than one way of moving, and the patient then decides what works for them; Feldenkrais can enhance traditional approaches to recovery and rehabilitation.” says Barrows.
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