Friday, November 28, 2008

Back pain? Just pay attention

I hear so many people complain about their sore backs and the many ways they try to alleviate it.

They go see their Massage therapist/chiropractor/Physical Therapist/Acupuncturist/herbalist/ect. ad infinitum.

While these methods all do wonders for temporarily alleviating the suffering and sometimes even long-term, none of them addresses the lifetime of habits that eventually led to this state of being.

I believe one of the most effective means is simply to pay attention to what you're doing. Once we begin to re-learn how to pay attention to how we do any action we then find how we incorporate (or not) the rest of ourselves in our actions.

The most efficient action is one where it's spread out evenly throughout the whole body.

Every action.

There is a reason Moshé entitled his last book "The Elusive Obvious." The Feldenkrais method is simple mechanics of efficiency, but this seems to elude most of us. If you want to watch a master at this type of learning look to the nearest infant, they're the most potent learners on the planet.

You can pay me (or the multitude of other LMP's) for a relaxing massage, or have a PT or physical trainer put you through the paces of strengthening your weak muscles, or have a chiropractor adjust your spine, or someone can balance your chakras, or do a voodoo dance to chase away the sore back demons.

But in the end did you learn anything about your habitual nature that got you into this condition in the first place? I do see the value in the other professions, I also believe that when the client feels they have control over their own healing, it's that much more powerful.

"If you know what you're doing, you can do anything." Moshé Feldenkrais

The next time you feel a muscular pain, whether it's your back, neck, shoulders, ect. pay attention not to the pain but rather to how you are using the rest of your body. How are you standing? Is more pressure on one foot than the other? Where on your feet do you support more of yourself? How are you sitting? Is there more pressure on one sitz bone (butt) than the other? Do you hold your breath during certain actions? Pay attention to excessive strain or holding patterns....etc.

You just might experience a little bit of your own magic (although I hesitate to use this word as it's really not magic just the nervous system responding to new information).

For more on how to apply this simple (fun and playful too!) yet very effective method for alleviating pain:

For more on the Feldenkrais Method® you can go to:

Erik LaSeur
Guild Certified Feldenkrais Teacher®

I'm currently teaching individual lessons on Alki.

No comments: