The body is not an "if...then" statement, or why I love Feldenkrais

It is easy to want direct answers to questions, problems and concerns. This is certainly true when one is physically injured or are in pain. When we are suffering we go to an expert - our doctor, physical therapist, or even the trainer at our gym. Sometimes they are helpful, sometimes not. I would propose that the cases where we are not helped it is because we are often treated as an "if...then" statement. If you experience lower back pain then strengthen the abdomen muscles. Or, if your elbow hurts then you get a shot. But, each person is uniquely different and not one of us is an "if...then" equation. Why your lower back hurts may be entirely different than why my lower back my hurts. One elbow may be in pain because of an isolated, traumatic injury and another because of inefficient use of the whole body. To try and "fix" a person based on formulas may work in some cases, maybe even in many cases, but they will not work for everyone. Nor will they address larger systemic issues that may be effecting an individual's pain and discomfort. One must pay attention to how the whole works together, how the parts integrate into a whole.

This is why I love The Feldenkrais Method. A person is never treated as a symptom nor as a set of parts. We do not look at a person and think, "If A hurts then do B". We certainly consider a person's pain, but we explore how that pain fits in to their overall organization and functioning. When someone's lower back hurts you must look at the organization of the pelvis, the spine and head, their hip joints and even how they stand on their feet. And each individual's organization is going to be unique, so their path forward will also be unique. This approach is more complex and doesn't always yield simple answers. But it does give an opportunity for lasting and profound change in someone's organization and greater freedom in their movement.

When we approach the body as an "if...then" statement our understanding will be limited; if we approach the individual as a complex, integrated whole we arrive at a fuller and more satisfying place.

photo by Christine Stone Martin

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