In 1995 I was stopped at traffic lights in my car when the car behind me failed to stop. I sustained whiplash and concussion as a result of this accident. I had soft tissue damage from C1-C3 and C6-C7.
My left rotator-cuff was torn and pressure from the muscle spasms in my back and shoulders resulted in numbness in my middle to little fingers on my left side.
Ten years post the accident I began a whiplash rehabilitation program when the resultant migraines, loss of movement and quality of life became overwhelming. I slowly began to regain movement and discovered that many of my learned behaviours to protect myself from further injury were causing other debilitating symptoms. I was experiencing extreme visual disturbance (nystagmus, nausea and dizziness) that was affecting my life more than I realised.
After several months of the rehab program my physiotherapist found that I needed something more than her training could offer and thus I was referred to Madeleine Edgar for lessons in the Feldenkrais Method. After the first session I regained almost full movement in my neck, something I had not experienced in more than 10 years. My nystagmus disappeared and I did not experience nausea or dizziness. The numbness in my left arm ceased. My ability to move my neck has not regressed to the former state at any time.
My pain levels have decreased significantly, to the point where medication is rare, rather than at the maximum daily allowance that I was taking prior to commencing Feldenkrais lessons. Until I thought about how I was moving, I did not realise quite how much my body had changed to cater for various injuries, not just my whiplash.
The pain relief and regaining basic movement of all of my body has changed the way I do everything in my daily life now. For 10 years, throughout the majority of my 20’s and early 30’s I struggled with chronic pain. I believed that this was the way I was always going to be. My only regret is that I did not commence rehabilitating my body/mind sooner.
Jennifer Storey, Parkwood, Qld.
27 July 2005
My theory about Jennifers’ response to the Feldenkrais lessons is that the proprioceptors in her spine and other areas of her body were blocked by protective movements from her old injuries, not giving her brain the feedback to stabilise herself, so her eyes were compensating to give her the feedback, hence the nystagmus.
I gave her a first lesson in sidelying to differentiate her spine, shoulders, ribs, pelvis including same and opposite movements of the head and eyes. Many of the muscles which were overworking then released, allowing the proprioceptors to do their job! We were both surprised at how quickly she learnt after such a long time and how her pain decreased immediately and even more after several lessons. She continued playing with ATMs at home. A year later she had her first child!
Madeleine Edgar, Coombabah, Qld
This is a Research project I did on the Gold Coast in 2015 with a Grant from the Gold Coast Primary Health Network. The Results were published in the International Feldenkrais Foundation Research Journal No. 5 Article 7
Madeleine Edgar, Greg Anderson and Neil Tuttle (Griffith University)
Effects of a 12-week series of Feldenkrais® Awareness Through Movement® classes on functional ability, quality of life, and kinesiophobia on retirement age adults
It did show that the ATM Classes improved the quality of life in the participants. They certainly enjoyed the classes and adapted some of their activities in a more efficient way.
I would like to recommend my friend and Feldenkrais colleague, DonnaRose McAneney, to whom I refer clients now that I have retired. DonnaRose has a general practice in Labrador on the Gold Coast, and sees a variety of people for their particular needs in improving movement and comfort. She also has special interests in working with children with mobility problems. Here are some photos of her working with children in Hong Kong recently. You can find out more on her website www.thebodymoves.com.au.
I will be posting some Marvellous Movement Feldenkrais Tips on Video from time to time to give you some shortcuts for making your daily activities easier and more efficient.
Of course seeing a Feldenkrais Practitioner is better if you can do it, or doing the short movement sequences in my Marvellous Movement books at home will help to increase your awareness and offer you more choices through playing and exploring non-habitual movements. I’d love to hear about your experiences with the FM!
This Video is about Getting out of Bed in spiral movements to protect yourself in the most efficient way. It is so much easier and safer to let your body lift your head than the other way around!
The next one is about Going up and down Stairs again in the easiest and most efficient way. Let your big pelvic muscles lift and lower your skeleton instead of hauling yourself up by bending forward!