While medical technology excels in treating acute
trauma, it does not train physicians well to treat our most common chronic
illnesses. The treatment of many pain and stress problems therefore
One of the most revolutionary discussions of the
last few years has been about the relationship between posture, muscles,
and the inner workings of our minds. Most people, including medical
professionals, tend to isolate the mechanics of their bodies from emotional
and other physical responses. This is only natural since Western science
traditionally focuses upon isolating what is particular and separated
from the whole.
But science is changing. Today, we increasingly address
the relationship between the immune system, the neuromuscular system,
and the environment which may include influences from family, personal
relationships, and one's place in the community.
Now, we know that exercises that improve neuromuscular
functioning and muscle tone can stimulate blood and lymphatic circulation,
which stimulates endocrine output. This effects a balance in the autonomic
nervous system between the sympathetic (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic
(rest or recuperation) immune stimulation responses that can be of immense
benefit to patients with a broad range of diseases. Take the case of
terminal cancer patients who find pain and lassitude among the worst
experiences of the disease. A few find they obtain relief by using gentle,
easy exercises that improve respiration, blood and lymph circulation.
Pain is decreased as muscular stress is reduced throughout the body.
In addition, the exercises promote recuperative powers by affecting
the neuro-endocrine system.
almost fifty years, Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais developed a series of gentle
and fascinating movement lessons that have proven invaluable
in physical rehabilitation and pain relief. Psychologists
use these sensory-motor exercises to give people a means to feel more "in
touch" with themselves and to achieve deeper self-realization. They
are also used by Olympic-calibre athletes to improve performance and
by those who simply wish to move more easily and efficiently. The Method
is becoming paramount among physical therapy applications with a wide
range of orthopedic and neurological disorders. This breadth of application
has made the Feldenkrais® Method one of the most revolutionary developments
offered in modern times. Some people consider the Method
to offer the theoretical and technical tools to connect
virtually every discipline now isolated in separate buildings
in our universities. Its benefits are enormous, not just
to cancer patients, but to many elderly and infirm people and those
suffering from acute pain problems due to injury.
Feldenkrais said, "The
body reflects the attitudes of the mind. Improve the
function of the body and you must improve the state of
the mind. The movements are nothing. They're an idiotic thing.
What I'm after isn't flexible bodies, but flexible brains. What I'm
after is to restore each person to his human dignity."