How many sessions or lessons will I or my child need?
The more lessons you do, the more improvement and benefit you or your child will get and the less you will tend to revert to disorganized and ineffective effort & movements.
Infants & children lesson plans are organized around an intensive model. 8-10 sessions over 1 or 2 weeks. We can continue this frequency for as long as your child is making progress. This is the optimal way to work with growing brains. For the adult, the lesson plan can be less intensive and depends on the needs of the individual.
Does Insurance cover this form of therapy?
Unfortunately, at this time, the Method is not recognized by the insurance industry, as it is a non-medical, learning-based approach to improvement.
Why is it called the Feldenkrais or Anat Baniel Method?
It is named after the founder, Moshe Feldenkrais. Feldenkrais was born in Russia. At the age of 13 he left his home and travelled alone for a year until he reached Palestine, where he worked as a laborer, cartographer and tutor in mathematics. He also became active in sports (gymnastics, soccer) and the martial arts (jiu-jitsu). During his mid twenties he left for France and eventually became a graduate of l’Ecole des Travaux Publiques de Paris, in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. Later he earned his Doctor of Science in Physics from the Sorbonne in Paris, where he assisted Nobel Prize winner Joliot-Curie in early nuclear research.
In Paris, Feldenkrais also met Jigaro Kano, the creator of modern Judo, and Feldenkrais became one of the first Europeans to earn a Black Belt in Judo (1936) and to introduce Judo in the West through his teaching and books on the subject. In the early 1940’s, while working in anti-submarine warfare for the British Admiralty, he patented a number of sonar devices.
After suffering crippling knee injuries, Feldenkrais used his own body as his laboratory and merged his acquired knowledge wit h his deep curiosity about biology, perinatal development, cybernetics, linguistics, and systems theory. He taught himself to walk again and in the process developed an extraordinary system for accessing the power of the central nervous system to improve human functioning.
Feldenkrais studied intensively in psychology, neurophysiology, and other health-related disciplines, and in 1949 he returned to Israel where he continued to integrate and refine his ideas into the system known as the Feldenkrais Method.(Watch a video of Dr. Feldenkrais here)
The ABM approach is named after the founder, Anat Baniel, director and founder of the Anat Baniel Method center in San Rafael, California. A clinical psychologist and dancer, she was also a student and protege of Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais. Ms. Baniel has articulated the Nine Essentials of Neuromotor learning, an important evolution of the work of Dr. Feldenkrais. (Watch a video of Anat here)
Why has my doctor or therapist never heard of this therapy?
Physicians gravitate to evidence-based interventions. As of yet, there have been no scientific studies on the ABM approach per se. And this is why mainstream Physicians have not heard of the ABM approach.
Nonetheless, there are decades of research proving Neuro-plasticity and Dynamic Systems Theory upon which the ABM model is based. Click here for a detailed list of research on these topics.
As well as the thousands of anecdotal, or outcome-based experiences from the families & therapists of children who continue to report significant changes from as little as 1 lesson.
This is a relatively new technology, and we feel it will be soon be breaking out more into the mainstream with the release of books and professional papers by practitioners & practitioner-scientists worldwide.
The Method is here now, and it’s highly effective for many children where other interventions have fallen short. Many parents are not willing to wait for corrobration of what they are personally witnessing with their children, in the form of a scientific research study.
Does it work with other therapeutic interventions like Physical, Occupational or Speech Therapy?
The Feldenkrais Method and ABM for Children, being a non-medical, learning and movement-based approach, can be in conflict with skill-based, milestone-directed physical therapy and other such goal-oriented therapeutic practices. In those instances we suggest to the client or parent to first consult with their medical professionals and than see if they can find a period of time where they feel comfortable suspending the other therapies for a few weeks in order to see if this method is beneficial for them or their child.
There are some therapies that work very well with this method: therapeutic horse back riding, homeopathy, computer based training of the brain, vision therapy, cranio-sacral therapy, and other gentle therapies.
How does this compare to massage or chiropractic?
The similarity is that both practices touch people, but beyond that our Method is very different. In massage, the practitioner is working directly with the muscles, in chiropractic, with the bones. These are structural approaches that seek to affect change through changes in structure (muscles and spine). The Feldenkrais Method works with your ability to regulate and coordinate your movement; which means working with the nervous system. We refer to this as a functional approach wherein you can improve your use of self inclusive of whatever structural considerations are present.
Will I lose my progress if I discontinue lessons at anytime?
Once the body and mind experience a more efficient way to move, the movement is patterned and wired. Stress and strain can cause you to revert to old habits so it’s better to continue visiting a practitioner, attending classes, or using DVD’s.
Attention improves from using this method, and the ability to self correct, or heal yourself when flare-ups occurs is done simply by doing an abbreviated lesson or even visualizing the movements you have learned.
Is this a fitness program?
This is a pre-fitness program. Most people find that the flexibility, coordinated action, strength, and pain-free action gained by participating in this approach lead them into participation in fitness programs.
What do the terms ATM, TML, FI, & NML mean?
Feldenkrais & the ABM for children approach are done in two different formats.
In group classes, called Awareness Through Movement, (ATM) or Transformational Movement Lessons (TML), the Feldenkrais &/or ABM teacher verbally leads you through a sequence of movements in basic positions: sitting or lying on the floor, standing or sitting in a chair. The teacher introduces new movement patterns to the body and mind, allowing people of all levels of performance to improve and transform their movement skills, flexibility and strength very quickly and without struggle. You learn to decrease injury while learning to improve strength, enhance flexibility and upgrade performance. This form is used with school-age children up to mature adults. Typcially, this format is not appropriate for infants and toddlers.
As Feldenkrais practitioners guide you through movement sequences verbally in Awareness Through Movement lessons, they also guide you through movement in Functional Integration lessons with gentle non-invasive touching.
Functional Integration (FI), or, in the ABM for children approach, Neuromeovement Lessons, are performed with the person fully clothed, usually lying on a table or floor. At times, various props (pillows, rollers, blankets) are used in an effort to support the person’s body configuration or to facilitate certain movements. The learning process is carried out without the use of any invasive or forceful procedure. With children, tos are frequently used to inspire action through play.
Functional Integration (FI) & neuromovement lessons (NML) are a hands-on form of tactile, kinesthetic communication. The practitioner communicates how you organize your body and, through gentle touching and movement, conveys the experience of comfort, pleasure and ease of movement while you learn how to reorganize your body and behavior in new and more expanded functional motor patterns.
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“Whenever I have had episodes of back,neck, hip, or knee pain, Pati’s work has helped to resolve those issues in a day or two. I have recommended Pati Holman’s work to friends and relatives. They have also derived great benefit from the process. I feel that we can all improve the way that we move and that moving can be more natural and effortless.”
– Cari Bravo-Fernandez, M.D.
“Life as I knew it changed after I was injured in two auto accidents. I turned to traditional as well as alternative methods to manage and cope with the pain. Nine months ago, my physician referred me to Patricia Holman. After the fourth lesson, I knew I had another tool to help me cope with my chronic pain. I’m learning how to be better focused and use my body differently. I’m also incorporating this new awareness of myself into my daily exercise routine & activities. This time, it is a positive lifestyle change for me. I can walk more freely without the limp I was becoming accustomed to, and my pain levels have diminished greatly. What a great feeling! I only wish I had known about the Feldenkrais Method before my injuries as I now know the power that brain/body awareness can bring to daily movement and life.”
– Marlene Wilde, Consulting Director to the IT Industry
On the drive home Friday after my Feldenkrais lesson I couldn’t believe how relaxed I felt. I haven’t felt that relaxed since I had acupuncture. I couldn’t believe how much movement I had in my shoulders & elbows. It was wonderful. During the whole ride we did not have one pulling match between us. He did not lean on me once. I could actually soften him to the left, his stiffer side, and use my left leg to move him to my outside rein. My left leg used to be so heavy that this wasn’t possible before. The whole left side of my body feels lighter & better!
– Mary Ann C. / Equestrian
I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease 10 years ago at the age of 45. I am a senior executive at an international manufacturing company and travel extensively. I have been under the care of an outstanding physician and have progressed through a series of drug treatments that have been effective in moderating my tremor and fine motor skills for 60 – 75% of my waking hours. I have tried other non-traditional therapies over the years with no resulting benefit. Last year I became aware of Feldenkrais therapy through an article written by Andrew Weil. It turned out that Patricia Holman was a 5-minute drive from my home so I decided to give it a try. Three months into treatment I am thrilled with the improvement in my overall movement and level of energy. While my tremor is still present, I feel like the length and quality of my “on time” has been improved and my rigidity has been lessened which has helped to significantly improve my sleep. Pati has demonstrated an amazing ability to “center in” on the needs of my body in any given session. Her commitment and passion are evident as Pati works to eliminate what she calls “parasitic resistance” to my body’s natural movements. While Feldenkrais may not cure my disease, it has certainly improved my quality of life. I am truly thankful to Pati for sharing her gift with me.
People & Culture Leader / Creation Technologies
“Given my mothers age and the severity of the stroke she suffered in January, ’09, she has been written off by the medical establishment. Because she was not ambulatory, she became Medicare ineligible in the nursing home setting in which she resides. Patricia has stayed with us through thick and thin. The result is that mom’s physician that has assumed responsibility for her medication says he can’t believe her progress. Her agitation is diminished and the movement on her affected side has continued to improve. Mom’s improvements are incremental milestones, nothing short of miraculous. Patricia finds the keys which unlock the door to movement. We appreciate her in ways she will never know. We are thankful for the spirit of Moshe Feldenkrais which lives in Pati through her perceptive awareness, caring touch, and kind guidance to relearn movement.”
– Heidi Stutzki
So, now the real test, on my horse after the Feldenkrais work. As I rode, I made sure to think about my pelvic and head movement with the horse. It really relaxed my back muscles. I exaggerated twisting to the left and then went back to the center. My feet were the same in the stirrups. I kept falling back into my old twisted body pattern, but caught myself and fixed it. I also kept thinking about how I lift my chin and kept tabs on that. After a while the walk felt good. Then I trotted. NO ankle pain, back still relaxed. Now, the canter……….It was wonderful. Clancy felt like he was moving differently. He may have been, but it was probably more that I was sitting centered and we were both more comfortable. For the first time in my 42 years of owning a horse, I believe I felt what centered riding is.
THANKS for helping me with that “feel”!!
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