Feldenkrais for Fibromyalgia
How Feldenkrais Can Help Fibromyalgia
The Feldenkrais Method is a way of changing your habits in order to make movement easier, more comfortable and more enjoyable (while making your brain more flexible). Feldenkrais rhymes with ‘rice’ and is named after it’s inventor, Dr Moshe Feldenkrais. Read more about Feldenkrais here.
Hello, my name’s Jodie and I’m a Physiotherapist with over 25 years experience in working with people who have chronic pain, including many people, past and present, with Fibromyalgia. Read more about my work experience.
If you are battling with daily pain and fatigue, I can truly empathise. I used to laugh about the fact that I seemed to have had pain in every part of my body. I figured that it helped me develop new forms of self-treatment that I could teach my clients. I also felt that it made me a more compassionate therapist.
However it was a strange surprise when a few years ago I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia myself. Since my mid 30s I have used Feldenkrais, Pilates, diet, exercise, massage, medication and meditation to help deal with variable daily pain and fatigue. My rheumatologist suggested that the reason that my Fibro has not stopped me from having an active and satisfying life is simply good management. So now I am on a mission to share with you the things that have worked for me over the years.
Although I have tried many approaches, the Feldenkrais Method is by far the most effective and powerful tool I’ve discovered to help with the persistent and sometimes severe pain of Fibromyalgia.
Over the years, I have seen many people with severe pain and movement difficulties turn their lives around using Feldenkrais. One client who had not experienced even one minute without pain for over 20 years did Feldenkrais with me for 3 months before he experienced his first 2 hours of being pain free. The pain-free periods gradually got longer and more frequent. After one year he was pain free most of the time. When he experiences pain now he knows how to find his way out of it again using the Feldenkrais Method.
This leads me to share with you 6 reasons why the Feldenkrais Method and is so suitable for many people with Fibromyalgia:
- Encouragement – a sense of relaxation and wellbeing is often experienced from the very first time you do a movement lesson and the enjoyment makes you want to continue
- Slow gentle pace – the slow mindful movements make it safe and help avoid flare-ups,
- Energy conservation – the focus is on efficient movement and reduced effort – imagine how much more energy you would have if you could bring this approach to everything you did!
- Flexibility and adaptability – each person is unique and different, and the exercises are easily adapted to your particular situation and needs
- Prevention – you become more sensitively tuned into your body so that you realise more quickly when you are doing something that will end in pain later
- Autonomy – you can learn to do Feldenkrais for yourself, reducing the need for hands-on treatment
No matter what your pain is like, how long you’ve had it, or how severe it is, almost everyone can improve their pain by improving their movement. The latest neuroscience suggests that the pain in Fibromyalgia, is not due to a problem in the tissues themselves, but to a dysfunction in the way the brain and nervous system transmit and interpret pain signals. This results in an increase in sensitivity to pain and to pain amplification.
The movements in Feldenkrais can help to decrease pain and improve your ability to perform everyday activities. The gentle, mindful movements send new and different messages to your brain through pleasant sensations, changing the way your brain and nervous system function. You begin to understand how some of your movement habits may not be working for you and you discover new options. This is a learning process which includes your whole body and your mind, not just the parts of you that hurt.
If you’d like to learn more, you can view video of a talk I gave to the Fibromyalgia Support Network of Western Australia. This includes a short Feldenkrais ‘Awareness Through Movement’ lesson you can try while sitting in a chair.
As you may be able to tell, I’m passionate about the Feldenkrais Method, so I hope you will feel free to contact me at Free2Move if you have any questions or if you’d like to book in for an individual Feldenkrais appointment.