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By Frank Wildman
Thousands of us undergo unnecessary surgeries in an attempt to restore pain free function to our backs. We suffer needlessly from pains in the neck and back, with irritated joints, sore muscles, and a feeling of stiffness. We spend thousands of dollars on pain medication, tranquilizers, or muscle relaxants, and countless hours on boring and ultimately ineffective back exercise routines that may leave us feeling as if we were robots or machines. Even worse, countless back pain sufferers live a shadowy existence in which quiet suffering seems like all that can be done about it.
We generally assume that all of our pain problems arise because our spine isn’t able to withstand the stress caused by a certain activities or because we’re not strong enough and don’t have enough stamina, or because the activity itself is too demanding. We try to remedy this situation either by making our bodies stronger and more flexible and increasing our endurance, or by avoiding the activity in question. When we reduce things to the spine, the back muscles, or any other bit and part of ourselves, we miss out on how our posture and our lack of awareness contribute to, or completely create our back pain. We deepen our understanding of anything by learning to make distinctions.
In order to become a good cook, for example, you must learn to make taste distinctions. Unless you learn how to make distinctions in tastes, textures, and temperatures, you will never learn how to cook, that is, how to make a good dish under any circumstances. I believe The Feldenkrais Method® is the most advanced and effective tool for improving the body’s own capacity to learn to move intelligently. The lessons include all body parts in every action. The movements do not require mechanical repetition. Their positive results donot depend on stretching or softening your muscles, but on improving the effectiveness with which the brain coordinates and controls movements.
The lessons are not recipes for “correct” movement, they do not tell you how to breathe or walk, how to sit or stand. They teach you how to become your own measure for efficient movement - how to make distinctions that canlead to a pain free back You will learn to perceive consciously how you move, where there is tension in your body, where you exert unnecessary effort, and when you are not making use of your full potential. This knowledge will allow you to develop new and effortless movements… If you find yourself smiling while you are doing a lesson, you will know that you are doing something right.