The Purpose of Feldenkrais for Those Without Pain

"I'm not in pain, but you recommend I try Feldenkrais anyway. Why?"

It's true, most of the people who find me have been dealing with long term pain, have tried a million things, have had no luck, and are trying one more method because they are desperate for relief.

The Feldenkrais Method has another side though, appropriate for ANY age, with or without pain. Westerners are taught "I think therefore I am", but what if we tried out "I think and feel therefore I am"? We miss out on a huge part of the full human experience by disconnecting our thinking brains from our feeling selves (well, brains actually, since our kinesthetic, proprioceptive, and all other senses are processed there).

 Those blue lines are motor neurons, the tiny cells that control movement. Click on the image for more details. (Photo courtesy of www.brainfacts.org.)

Those blue lines are motor neurons, the tiny cells that control movement. Click on the image for more details. (Photo courtesy of www.brainfacts.org.)

Feldenkrais teaches us to listen to our physical selves. By honing our physical listening skills, we can discover all sorts of things about ourselves that we can't find by just learning about ourselves mentally. Here are just a few.

  • It's fun! We usually move the same way every day, year in and year out, and breaking out of those habits piques curiosity and allows for self-discovery.
  • Your body has a lot to tell you if you learn how to listen. That sore knee after a run wants your attention before it hurts all the time, not for you to ignore it until it does. Learning how to listen to its cues now, while you're not in pain, will teach you self-care skills for when things do hurt, and can help you prevent injury.
  • Every emotion has a physical manifestation. You can learn a lot about your emotional spectrum through methods like talk therapy, and learning about how those emotions feel in your body adds an extra layer of understanding and control when things get bad.
  • We all have muscles that work harder than they need to, usually subconsciously (all that jaw tension you've got going on, for example). By clearing up those blind spots and learning how to let those muscles calm down, you gain ease of movement, flexibility, more air moving through your lungs, better circulation, and a general sense of wellbeing.
  • [Edit, April 7, 2015 - I skipped one!] One of the most effective ways to increase your physical skill in an activity you love is to learn about and hone your movement in that activity. Skills in biking, dancing, swimming, running, playing a sport, among many other activities can all be increased by looking at how you do what you do.

You have a brilliant, neuroplastic brain. Don't miss out on all the fun and benefits it has to offer while you're not hurting.