Pain

A “Good-Bye Letter”

Discover Yourself with the Feldenkrais Method®

The following letter was written by a doctor who experienced a hereditary spine condition. He was a client of Carol Siddiqi, a trained practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method of Movement®. Carol worked with him for more than 8 years in the private Feldenkrais lessons called Functional Integration®. These lessons were tailored to his learning needs as Carol guided his movements through gentle non-invasive touching and words. The learning process was carried out without the use of any invasive or forceful procedure as he laid on a table or sat on a chair fully clothed. Over the many years working with Carol, his knowledge went far beyond the anatomy of his body. Read the following to hear his gratitude and the improvement of his physical condition.

Hi Carol,

This is a difficult note to write, but I’ve decided to discontinue our lessons. I find saying “good-bye” to you difficult because I deeply appreciate what you’ve taught me. You have inspired me and I respect and admire the person you are. Before I met you, I only knew I had ribs, shoulder blades, and a pelvis because I attended anatomy lab. Now, I can feel them and have techniques to free them up, not like you can, but I can “play” and make progress.

Some of the things I learned and am experiencing:
• I understand movement and walking so much better
• I can feel the unity of the body and the connectedness of the parts
• I’m always amazed how you work in one area and then I feel a softening and movement in another area
• I’m more confident walking
• Your stories of others striving to overcome disabilities, and seeing how you’ve responded to injuries has been inspirational

I’m so glad Dr. Feldenkrais devoted his life to developing these lessons, glad you found him and glad I found you. I feel the weight of responsibility to keep striving, playing, and working. I will keep you fresh in my mind as I do so.

I wish you the very best of health and satisfaction and trust you know what a wonderful difference you’ve made in my life and, I have no doubt, in the lives of countless others. For me, you’ll always be the woman who can make floors and tables soft.

Thank you, Carol

Charles

The Feldenkrais Method® is a form of somatic education that uses gentle movement and directed attention to improve movement and enhance human functioning. With this Method, you can increase your range of motion, improve your flexibility and coordination, and rediscover your innate capacity for graceful, efficient movement.

By expanding the self-image through movement sequences, the Method enables you to include more of yourself in your movements. Students become aware of their habitual neuromuscular patterns and rigidities, and learn to move in new ways.

The Feldenkrais Method® helps those experiencing:

  • chronic or acute pain of the back, neck, shoulders, hips, legs, or knees
  • central nervous system conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and stroke
  • musicians, actors, and artist can extend their abilities and enhance their creativity
  • seniors enjoy using it to retain or regain their ability to move without strain or discomfort
  • healthy bodies, but wish to enhance their movement abilities

Group classes are called Awareness Through Movement® where the Feldenkrais teacher verbally leads students through a sequence of movements in basic positions. These precisely structured movement explorations involve thinking, sensing, moving, feeling and imagining.  By increasing awareness, the student learns to abandon habitual patters of movement and develop new alternatives, resulting in improved flexibility and coordination.

“Make the impossible, possible; the possible easy; and the easy, elegant.”       – Moshe Feldenkrais, D.Sc.

Awareness Through Movement® classes: Mondays 5:45 – 6:45 pm

Feldenkrais Method of Movement® private sessions: 

Call Carol Siddiqi, BS, GCFP, RYT

610-618-0467 or carolsiddiqi@hotmail.com

Un-Forgiveness Hurts

Patterns-Training-Center-Loby Betsy Wetzig, BA, CCPT

Un-forgiveness hurts us both physically and mentally because the whole forgiveness process ( from the moment we receive the injury or loss, until the moment we can finally forgive) is a bio-electric process of our basic self. We each have a neuromuscular, bio-electric nerve-muscular-brain system.  It is our body-mind link.  It is what makes us psychosomatic, but its “not all in your head!”

1) We receive the hurt and react with our habituated stress reactions >. Might be tightening ribs, or back of neck or any place in your body you have often reacted to stress.  Our brain is put on alert… “Danger, Danger.”  Plus our old chronic pains often show up.

2) We are reminded or think of the hurt. > Our “gut” reacts. Emotions are both physical and mental. Our brain may get stuck in a loop of anger, depression, and fear.  Ye old chronic pains act up…backache, headaches or more.

3) We try to will our forgiveness but it doesn’t work because all behavior is both physical and mental and willing won’t make a difference without the physical half of our ‘self.” Un-forgiveness gets stuck in our whole being.

>>>GOOD NEWS…. Our forgiveness process is part of our DNA and can be fully accessed with the same bio-electric processes that get us stuck. Your Coordination Patterns and Dynamics are the bio-electric system of the mind-body and movement-mind link.

The Forgiveness Workshop on Dec. 2nd at Twin Ponds will teach you how to use this system with fun, simple movement exercises and understanding.

“For 10 years I could not completely forgive two friends who hurt me during my husband’s funeral,,,    but within the 3 hours of Betsy’s workshop the deed was done!” *Seattle, WA Workshop Participant.

 

Massage for Arthritis

massage-300x200by Jeanne Mancinelli, RN, LMT

Massage is often used to relieve common symptoms of arthritis by helping to reduce pain and stiffness, easing anxiety, improving range of motion in joints, and helping to promote restful sleep. People who experience the chronic symptoms of arthritis may consider using massage therapy regularly and even daily self-massage to help manage the joint pain and stiffness or help promote better sleep.

Massage is an ancient form of pain and stress relief that usually involves physical manipulation of the muscles as well as relaxation techniques. Swedish massage, the most common type of massage utilized for this, involves long fluid stroking of muscles and tissues to reduce soreness and stiffness in muscles and joints, reduce anxiety, and improve circulation. The therapist may utilize heat and cold applications to the muscles and joints. Certain essential oils may also be employed to relax the muscles or ease joint pain.

Be sure to tell your massage therapist that you have arthritis and point out the affected joints prior to the start of the session.  During the massage, the therapist should check in frequently with you to determine if the pressure is within your comfort range. If it is not, be sure to tell  them immediately.

Performing self massage can help manage muscle and joint pain between massage sessions. If done daily, you may be able to lengthen the time between massage sessions. Inform your therapist if you are interested in learning self massage. It is not difficult to learn and can be incorporated in your appointment. Before getting any type of massage, it is always best to consult your physician if massage is safe for your arthritis or any other health conditions you may have.

Call Jeanne Mancinelli today at 610-393-9676 for you FREE consultation!!!

Tai Chi / Qigong Saved Me from Fibromyalgia

By Carrie Lowry

Fibromyalgia for me was a slow starter and gradually got worse. It was clear to me that staying in bed all day should not be an option. Then I saw an article on the benefits of Tai Chi/ Qigong for Fibromyalgia and felt that this could be a good way for me to get back into living. I was middle aged and didn’t want to spend the rest of my life being miserable. I learned that it was important to get my body moving and just moving around the house was not helping at all. This was a real down time for me!
The common symptoms I was experience were:
• Muscle pain
• Extreme fatigue
• Sleep problems
• Bowl problems
• Depression

It took about 3 months before I could be diagnosed. My doctor tested painful tender points during an examination. He asked me about the exact pain I was feeling in certain areas such as over my neck, back, chest, elbows, hips, buttocks, and knees. These areas were small and much more sensitive than other nearby areas. The doctor also checked other points on my body that were not tender points to make sure I didn’t react to these as well.

Getting the diagnosis gave me some emotional relief because then I knew what I was dealing with. I’m big on research, so I got busy learning what I could do for myself. One of the important things I learned was that I needed to move. Yuck, just the thought of it at first made me cringe!

The research showed me that Tai Chi and Qigong are two mind-body practices that originated in ancient china and have been practiced there for thousands of years. People of almost any age or condition can participate.

One of the results of doing Tai Chi and Qigong are heightened feelings of well-being along with a variety of other health benefits such as:

Boost in energy
• Decreased pain and stiffness
• Better sleep
• Better physical and mental health
• Feeling better allows me to be more active – helps with depression

The research at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston reveal that a significant number of patients with fibromyalgia responded well to Tai Chi, experiencing alleviation of joint pain and other symptoms. This study is published in New England Journal of Medicine. I’ve also learned that trials have shown there were better results with Tai Chi / Qigong than reported in trials of drug treatments for fibromyalgia.

I was motivated and really engaged and after about two months started to feel much better. Improvement was gradual, but steady. Seeing the other students in my class, who I now consider friends, has also given me something to look forward to. My experience with Tai Chi / Qigong has been very positive, so I highly recommend it to all those who have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Check with your doctor who, I’m sure, will recommend that you do gentle exercises. Tai Chi is perfect for this.

I now understand why Tai Chi / Qigong have lasted for thousands of years in China. It’s greatly helping me and my friends in so many ways.

Join one of Crystal Klein’s 4 weekly classes offered at Twin Ponds Integrative Health Center of the Lehigh Valley, located at 628 Twin Ponds Rd., Breinigsville, PA. Call 610-395-3355 for more information.

Flexible Body, Flexible Brain

Feldenkrais Method® of Somatic Education

“What I’m after isn’t flexible bodies but flexible brains. What I’m after is to restore each person to their human dignity.”  – Moshe Feldenkrais, D.Sc.

Do you have a flexible brain?  If you are rigid in your body, you must be rigid in your thinking – not flexible. If you are rigid in your thinking, you must not be open to trying new ways to make your life betterIt may be pain that you are dealing with.Would you rather take a pill and hope the pain goes away? Some may call this laziness – or rigid thinking. If you can stop the pain by learning how to move more easily, why don’t you?

Is your inflexible thinking a fear that keeps you from believing that YOU can control your health and well being?  Where is that fear coming from?  Did you learn this from your parents?

So, now you know that one goes hand-in-hand with the other. Tight muscles, tight thinking! Both rigid!

Recognize the fact that you CAN be in control of your body and thinking – you can be open-minded. One way is to join a movement class and become aware of how your body works and how it can work easierAfter you have become acquainted with who you are by observing how you move, your mind will open up to all kinds of new possibilities. 

Learning how to move can be an essential addition to the treatment of neurological, orthopedic, chronic pain and stress-related conditions.

Jan Larus, who just turned 80, anticipated needing a hip replacement due to severe osteoarthritis.  Weekly Feldenkrais lessons contributed to her ability to avoid surgery:

 “Today I can walk and sit, usually with little or no discomfort, and I feel more flexible than ever. I no longer limp and I do not feel restricted in my daily activities.  That’s good because I anticipate many more birthdays.”

Attending Feldenkrais Classes will expand your awareness of how you think, sense, feel and move. The possibilities for personal improvement and human development are limitless… allowing you to reach a higher level of intelligence.

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.” – Albert Einstein

Carol Siddiqi, a Guild Certified Feldenkrais® Practitioner, was introduced to the Feldenkrais Method while attending Kripalu Yoga classes over 30 years ago. She pursued her interest in The Feldenkrais Method by enrolling in a four-year training program, which she successfully completed in 1999.

What is Reflexology?

A Form of Bodywork that Focuses on the Feet

Reflexology is the application of pressure to areas on the feet, hands and ears.  The theory behind reflexology is that these areas correspond to organs and systems of the body and applying pressure to these reflex areas can promote health in the corresponding organs through energetic pathways.  The results may include reduced pain, anxiety, stress, and depression; and enhanced relaxation and sleep.

A study in the American Cancer Society journal found that one-third of cancer patients used reflexology as a complementary therapy.  Reflexology is also used for post-operative or palliative care.  Several studies funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health indicate that reflexology may have many health benefits.

Reflexology should not be painful; however, some areas may be tender or sore, and the reflexologist may spend extra time on these points.  The soreness should decrease with pressure.

Reflexology may help with:

  • Stress and stress-related conditions
  • Tension headaches
  • Digestive disorders
  • Arthritis
  • Insomnia
  • Hormonal Imbalances
  • Sports injuries
  • Menstrual disorders, such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Digestive problems (constipation)
  • Reduced pain
  • Improved circulation
  • Soothed tired feet
  • Overall better healing

Most people feel calm and relaxed and even sleepy after a treatment. As part of the healing process, one may feel nauseous, anxious, or tearful, but this is temporary and considered part of the healing process.

Although reflexology is not used to diagnose or cure health disorders, millions of people around the world use it to complement other treatments when addressing conditions like anxiety, asthma, cancer treatment, cardiovascular issues, diabetes, headaches, kidney function, PMS, and sinusitis.

Reflexology is growing increasingly popular across Europe and Asia as both a complement to other treatments and as a preventive measure.  One example is Denmark, where various municipalities and companies have employed reflexologists since the early ‘90’s.

According to several studies, this practice in Denmark has resulted in reduced leave and absenteeism (and significant economic savings for the employers).  Employees have consistently reported complete or partial improvement in conditions where they sought reflexologists’ help and even relief for additional problems related to stress. In one municipal district, almost one-third of the employees reported greater satisfaction with their jobs after completing six sessions with the reflexologist.

If you are pregnant, consult your doctor. Reflexology is a complementary therapy and should not replace medical treatment.

 

Myofascial Release, Structural Integration (Rolf Method)

FASCIA  IS WHAT?

Do you know what’s holding your body together!  Think again, it’s not your muscles or skin.  They weren’t made to do that job, but the “fascia” within your body was.  By now you’re thinking, “What in the world is the fascia?”

Well, the fascia is a structure of fibrous connective tissue distributed throughout the body that surrounds our muscles, organs, blood vessels, bones, and nerves.  Together, muscle and fascia make up what is called the myofascia system. The function of muscle fasciae is to reduce friction to minimize the reduction of muscular force.

Does it sound like a well tuned state-of-the-art mechanism to you? It is, but it can go wrong!  For various reasons, including disuse, not enough stretching, or injuries, the fascia and the underlying muscle tissue can become stuck together resulting in restricted muscle movement along with pain, soreness and reduced flexibility or range of motion.

Symptoms may be:

  • Back pain
  • Headaches
  • Pelvic
  • Pelvic pain
  • Neck pain
  • Sports injuries
  • Chronic pain
  • Disc problems
  • Neurological dysfunction
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Adhesions
  • Carpal tunnel
  • Jaw pain (TMJ)
  • Painful scars
  • Scoliosis
  • Sciatica
  • Women’s health issues
  • …and more

Fascia Care:       

Move it: First thing in the morning roll around in bed and really stretch out

Stay lubricated: Drink, drink, drink! It works better, moves better and feels better when it’s wet.

Stretch your muscles: Keep the muscles from getting chronically tight.

Stretch your fascia: To stretch the fascia, hold gentle stretches for three to five minutes – relaxing into a hold.

Relax: Fifteen to 20 minutes in a warm Epsom Salt bath can coax tight fascia to loosen up – follow up with 10 minutes of light activity.

Use a foam roller: Be gentle and slow in your movements, and when you find an area of tension, hold sustained pressure for three to five minutes.

Respect your body: Even after your injury is gone, you may maintain that same movement pattern. That’s a recipe for an injury cycle. It’s better to take some extra time, see a fascial specialist, and join a movement class.  Don’t set yourself up for long-term trouble.

See a fascial specialist: Myofascial Release or Structural Integration (Rolf Method) practitioner.

Join a movement education class: The Feldenkrais Method®, Coordination Pattern™ Training, Tai Chi, Pilates, and Yoga are highly recommended.

Especially Athletes! and All Others!

Diligent practice of hip stretches—what in yoga we often call “hip openers,” as though they are key to unlocking thesecrets of the hips—can dramatically increase your flexibility and range of motion around the hip joints. If you are athletically minded, this can be a good thing. But as with many good things, too much can be overdoing it.

The key for athletes is to develop or maintain balance between stiffness and openness: a balance of strength and flexibility in the muscles around the hips.This balance can change depending on both the athlete’s body and on sport-specific needs.

Depending on your sport, too much flexibility can be detrimental to your sports performance, as it can reduce your snappiness. Consider, for example the stiffness a runner needs for efficient transfer of energy to the ground. A floppy runner, one whose hips sag with each step, will have to work harder than one who springs lightly over the ground. But you need enough flexibility to move fluidly through your stride, without a hitch that can lead to an overuse injury. Poses that mimic the running stride, like lunges, can help you stay flexible through the range of motion used to run, and hip stretches that target the external rotators can help avoid overuse injuries like Iliotibial Band Syndrome and Piriformis Syndrome.

On the other hand, athletes need vastly more flexibility in the hips for engaging in activities like rock climbing, curling, or playing positions like catcher in baseball or softball.  A yoga practice for athletes in these activities can look very different from a practice for athletes who require more springy stiffness in their bodies; athletes who need to take deep squats can enjoy the full range of hip stretches, including poses that move deep into flexibility.

Consider where you fall on this spectrum. There may be a very good reason hip openers frustrate you, or a good reason for you to love and enjoy them. Either way, the process gives you an opportunity to consider what you can change and what you can’t, and to practice focusing your energy on creating useful change and accepting the unchangeable.

For all those who would like to improve balance and flexibility, reduce pain, increase range and ease of movement, and reduce habits of tension, consider becoming a student of one of the following: Yoga, Coordination Pattern™ Breakthru Training, Feldenkrais Method® of Movement Education, Personal Fitness Training, Pilates, Tai chi or Qigong,

How Could This Pain Have Anything to do With Stress?

Sarah took the Effortless Meditation™ course because she was intrigued by what she heard in the introduction session; however, her primary motivation was to support her sister who enrolled in the course. She knew her sister was in distress and she felt that her sister would be more comfortable taking the course if she participated with her.

The first four classes proceeded smoothly, and when they returned in two weeks for their fifth session, Sarah remarked that she hadn’t had any stomach pain in two weeks.  Since she hadn’t mentioned stomach pain as a concern, I inquired about it.  She explained that during the preceding two years, “I’ve had every test in the book to determine why I have pain every time I eat. It’s gotten so bad, I hardly eat at all.”  None of the tests have found anything abnormal and just last week, her doctor explained that he thought stress could be the culprit.

How could this pain be due to stress, she asked.  Sarah said she thought her doctor was crazy, but now she’s seeing that he was correct.  Her pain is real, it’s not in her mind.  Stress causes tension and muscle contraction.  Hold a tight fist for a couple hours and tell me it doesn’t hurt!  Under chronic stress, muscle tension cause headaches or pain may show up in our jaw, arms, abdominal area, anywhere in the body.

The deep rest and relaxation of Effortless Meditation was relieving the tension in Sarah’s muscles.  Deep rest is an antidote for stress, it relieves the stress response.  The proof, Sarah was without pain that had been plaguing her for years, and she was able to eat again incomfort!

Deepak Chopra, M.D. would explain that this wasn’t magic, it’s based in science.  Sarah was meditating every day as prescribed.  Her smile said she couldn’t be happier.

Greg Schweitzer, MBA, D.Ay., Director of Stress Reduction Resources and Effortless Meditation™ Instructor for more than 30 years

Moving with the Feldenkrais Method for Sciatica Pain

Proper body mechanics are important at all times, but especially when you are struggling with low back pain due to injuries like herniated discs or sciatica.

Medical experts will often prescribe gentle exercise, physical therapy or mind body practices like yoga or Pilates, before considering interventional treatments or surgical options. A recent press release in the San Francisco Gate announced the publication of a new book entitled Stop Sciatica Now, which teaches individuals struggling with sciatica symptoms how to use the Feldenkrais method to alleviate their pain. So what exactly is this and how does it work?

The Feldenkrais Method was named for its founder who was a physicist, mechanical engineer and judo pro who developed the technique to cure himself after sustaining a debilitating knee injury. He based his ideas on biomechanics, physics and human development. The concept is that people develop certain habits in how they move.

When a person sustains an injury such as a herniated disc with painful sciatica symptoms, he will start adopting new patterns to compensate for the pain. It is believed that over time these new patterns actually hinder recovery so that he must develop a new perspective on functional awareness and develop new ways to move that enhance coordination and flexibility and ultimately reduce pain. The student must develop new neuromuscular patterns to retrain his mind and body–searching for new ways to move naturally.

Consistent with the idea that this is an education, individuals practicing the technique aren’t referred to as patients but rather as students.

If you suffer with sciatica from a herniated disc and your doctor has suggested exploring ways to get active through gentle movement, the Feldenkrais Method may be something you want to learn more about. The Mayo Clinic indicates the Feldenkrais Method is utilized for neck and back pain as well as neuromuscular issues.

In a session, the instructor guides the student at first with verbal direction and then with a hands-on approach, through a series of gentle movements. The student may be lying on the floor, seated or standing as they learn how to develop an awareness of new movement patterns.

Carol Siddiqi, CYT, GCFP, has been teaching Yoga, Feldenkrais Method®:
Awareness Through Movement and Functional Integration® for more than 30 years