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By Paulette Dolin, GCFP
The effects of breast cancer treatment can be challenging. For many years, Feldenkrais® practitioners have successfully been working with cancer survivors with great results. Now, a research project is underway in the Northern California/Northern Nevada Region of the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America that has been designed to measure the improvements while providing a service to local communities. Practitioners throughout the area are offering a series of five Awareness Through Movement® lessons to people recovering from breast cancer.
The first set of classes is already underway in Half Moon Bay and more classes are being organized in other locations. Participants are given self assessments and will be tested for range of motion both pre and post the lesson. Susan Miller, who is teaching in the Half Moon Bay series said, “I have been pleased with the response to the Breast Cancer Research Project that I have offered on the coast of Half Moon Bay, California. I have five participants in the study and they tell me that they are so encouraged to have a sense of hope for returning function and use of their affected arm/arms.”
These lessons were pre-selected from the Unbound!™ series developed by Alice Brydges, a Feldenkrais practitioner who has been teaching classes for cancer survivors for several years. “[The] Feldenkrais [Method] offers a surprising approach to movement- that of ‘pleasure and ease’ rather than ‘no pain, no gain’. Its gentle exercises help me move without discomfort,” said Julie Barrow, a Breast Cancer Survivor and one of the participants in the project.
The gentle movements of Feldenkrais lessons provide many benefits for women recovering from breast cancer surgery, treatment and breast reconstruction.
Women who have participated in Awareness Through Movement® classes have reported these results:
-Greater comfort and ease in everyday activities
-A greater sense of vitality and well-being
-Improved range and quality of movements
-Deeper relaxation and fuller breathing
-Relief from post treatment symptoms such as numbness, fatigue and lymphedema
Preliminary results will be compiled in time for the Feldenkrais Method Annual Conference in Boulder, with more complete results written up in time to have press releases for Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. Our hope is to expand the project to other Regions.