Fibromyalgia is the most common cause of severe musculoskeletal pain in persons seen by rheumatologists and other physicians. Those with fibromyalgia often display musculoskeletal pain, chronic fatigue, and sleep disturbance. Other symptoms may include morning stiffness, headaches, depression, gastrointestinal problems, and thyroid problems. Emotional stress, noise, trauma, and even climate have been known to exacerbate symptoms.
With the numerous treatment options available for those suffering from fibromyalgia, there is still many who still struggle with fibromyalgia symptoms on a daily basis. However, one specific method has been showing steady promise in decreasing these symptoms; The Feldenkrais Method. The Feldenkrais Method was created by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, a Russian-born physicist and educator who developed his technique in response to his own diagnoses. This method works by increasing the person's sensitivity and awareness of physical movement. This method has grown in popularity. The goal is to reprogram the sensorimotor learning ability of a person’s central nervous system, basically the body relearns the patterns in which we should move, as well as how our bodies control these movements. This method is based on principles of physics, kinesthetics, and biometrics. The Feldenkrais method encourages practitioners to work alongside patients in an “instructional” manner, instead of just attempting to correct them.
So what’s it all about?
Medical practitioners who use the Feldenkrais method typically ask patients to come in as a group or individually. Practitioners help to correct improper posture or movement by moving parts of the body slowly into positions that help with flexibility and coordination. The biggest part of this method is proprioception, which is being aware of the movement and strength, in conjunction with position and placement. Sessions may last 30-60 minutes or longer while clients are sitting, standing, or lying on the floor. Practitioners often use pillows, rollers, blankets, or other props that support the posture of the patient and help facilitate proper movement
What Are the Benefits?
Besides research-based reduced symptoms of fibromyalgia, there is a multitude of benefits that accompany the Feldenkrais method. For starters, those using the Feldenkrais method often report less stress, tension, fatigue, and pain. Improved breathing, as far as lung capacity and breathing techniques, is also a major perk of this method. You can also improve your coordination, and stop what they call “parasitic movement” (movement of the body that is incorrect and causes more problems for the body). However, one of the biggest benefits from Feldenkrais for those with fibromyalgia is the way you start to trust your own body. You begin to feel more confident in controlling your body and the pain that you feel from fibromyalgia. You begin to trust your own abilities and experience. No two cases of fibromyalgia are exactly alike, and through Feldenkrais, you learn to trust your own needs. This places your focus on your individual needs, not the collective needs of a thousand patients who show up at your doctor’s office every year.
The goal of the Feldenkrais method is to teach movements that are more functional and to discover the quality of positive change that is happening within your body. Fibromyalgia patients may find exactly what they are looking for in the Feldenkrais practice, and it never hurts to try.
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