Feldenkrais ATM and Functional Integration
Sunday, May 05, 2013
I've been going to Feldenkrais "Awareness Through Movement" (ATM) sessions every other weekend. The particular sessions that I go to are for two hours. The practitioner talks us through movements designed to help us to retrain our brains to move in ways that are natural, easy and without pain. I've had mixed feelings about the sessions - which is kind of funny since I can only find 100% good reviews online. Let me tell you why my feelings are mixed. The sessions are supposed to be pain free. They aren't for me. And I don't know how to make them pain free because I walk into the room in pain. I lie down on the mat in pain. They tell me to put my feet in a certain position and I'm in pain - no more pain than before but still in pain. When I'm done, I do feel like I have a greater range of motion and mobility with slightly less pain. But then about an hour after I'm home, I start to ramp up in pain. And I start to run to the bathroom because it does something to my intestines. I've had friends ask me why I keep going back then. Well, because once that reaction is over, I am actually better than I was before I went.
Yesterday, I was given a free one hour "functional integration" session. This is what they call the individual sessions with a practitioner. I don't totally know how a "normal" session would be since I've only done one. We started the session by talking about the general principles of Feldenkrais. Then we did some general movement exercises. Then the practitioner had me get on a Feldenkrais table - it is a wider than "normal" massage type table. The practitioner worked on my bad shoulder for half an hour. It was very gentle. He worked at getting the shoulder to move more freely by working nearby muscles and by coaxing the muscles to move. The actual work did not hurt but after awhile I could feel that my shoulder was extremely fatigued. My guess is that it is because certain muscles were being worked for the first time in years. After the session my shoulder was in a lot of pain. In fact, even today, a day later, I was still in pain in the areas where he worked. I've paid for 5 Functional Integration sessions (they are cheaper if you buy them as a block). I hope that wasn't a mistake and/or a waste of money.
This afternoon I went to another "Awareness in Movement" session. The more focused pain subsided as we worked in a more generalized way on bigger muscle groups. Now I'm really really sore but I am moving a bit more freely overall.
I've gotten two books of exercises to do at home. I'm hoping that if I do things everyday that eventually I will just have the better mobility and range of motion without the soreness and pain. In some things my mobility has more in common with an 80 year old than a 49 year old. That makes me worried about how my mobility will be as I get closer to 80.