A Celebration Story: Gaining Physical & Mental Flexibilty

HI Students:
Following is an Occupational Therapist’s celebration story about how she learned to enjoy her athletic adventures again without pain.  Enjoy reading!
~Donna
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rene1“I saw Donna for a total of 10 individual sessions and complimented with a couple of weekend Awareness Through Movement classes.  Overall, it was truly amazing. Within 2 sessions, my lower back was basically completely better and has stayed that way for about 2 months now.  We moved on to work on my shoulders and feet a lot which is where more of the trouble seemed to be.  It all seemed totally counter intuitive and in opposition to most of what I have learned throughout my life playing sports and using my body, but at the same time makes so much sense to me intellectually and, obviously, physically as well. I tended to think about tensing and using the “right” muscles in the “right” way all the time.

Donna had me focus more on using my muscles only when I needed them trusting that I have the neurological intelligence to move correctly when I am not in pain; then relying on the skeleton to do the work of support and give my muscles reprieve when they are not truly needed.

I would walk away from the sessions feeling somewhat dazed, and very “loosy-goosy” in my body–at first that was scary because I had been doing so much holding and tensing to feel secure.  After a few sessions it just felt good, such a relief.  Abandoning my patterns, such as holding my abs in tightly and my shoulders back firmly, was something of an emotional process.That was something else great about Donna, she demanded candidness with her questions and calm nature.  The work was letting go of not only the physical but the emotional and intellectual as well. I gained physical as well as mental flexibility in the process!  I am not sure if that is unique to the practitioner that she is, or part of the Feldenkrais package.  I suspect a bit of both?”

“Donna recommended that I 2008-04-04_Rene&Matt_Engagement-089take a break from my normal exercise routine so that my body would have a chance to integrate the new learning without old patterns taking over. That was a bit of a bummer to feel like I was getting out of shape for almost 6 weeks, but I was pain free and comfortable for the first time in months! I was certainly nervous to reintroduce activities.  Not to worry!”

“We arrived in Idaho for the start of our trip a week and a half ago; and since we have been home I’ve been tele and cross-country skiing, hiking, to many yoga classes, this gravity training workout class my sister does and even a Kettle-bell class.  I am sore, but in my muscles (some that I haven’t been able to feel for years–like my hamstrings!!) and no pain or aching in my back. I am kind of blown away, but SO grateful I figured it out before our big trip! There is always more to learn and necessary maintenance, of course, but I feel SO much better, it’s awesome!”

“I asked Donna lots of questions and liked to discuss what was going on during the sessions.  She was very tolerant of that, and what knowledge I gained, makes so much sense to me and has changed the way I think about my body in each of the activities that I do!”

Rene Thomas Smey,
Occupational Therapist

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