book class book appointment who's working today? WNT Logo A green on white buy gift voucher RSS Feed

Web feed

By West Norwood Therapies Team, Feb 13 2020 11:31AM

Feldenkrais teacher Jenny shares the first in her exploration of the Feldenkrais method using three case studies to illustrate how the method works and what you might experience in a session.




To explain a bit more about what the Feldenkrais Method is, I’m going to talk about 3 clients that I currently see, Steve, Hannah and Sara. (not their real names)

STEVE

I’m not doing it, he is discovering himself


Steve is 46 and works in the city. He’s married with a child. He came to see me because of what he called general stiffness, with niggling pains now and then in his back, neck and left knee. He’s fairly fit, running regularly and goes to the gym. These kinds of concerns are common with people I see. Only the details and size of the problem vary. First of all: my job isn’t to wave a therapist’s magic wand and make Steve feel better!


My job is to help him see what he’s doing - that he doesn’t know that he’s doing that is causing him to feel stiff and in pain. It goes without saying he’s stressed and anxious a lot of the time.


So I observe how is he holding himself, how he sits and walks. How does he respond when I gently do certain movements? Are his joints having a conversation with each other, or are there habitual unnecessary muscular tensions stopping the flow of this conversation ?


This might sound a bit strange, but let’s look at it this way; there are several hundred joints in the body, and they’re all connected both anatomically and bio mechanically. In Steve’s case, the pain in his neck is related to how he holds his shoulders, how he has discomfort turning and looking to one side and over one shoulder, how he uses his eyes, what’s happening below in the rest of his spine, rib cage, pelvis and 2 feet!


Yes! our skeleton is like a dynamically connected pearl necklace or a wonderful machine, each part having a knock on effect with every other part.


So I bring attention to different parts in Steve, getting him to sense how the parts do or don’t connect, where he is preventing movement, where he’s restricted and how we might lessen the load. This is done through gentle touch and often with talking also. This sounds like a lot of work, but it is in fact very relaxing! And it’s like waking something up in him.


So each week Steve comes to my practice and sits for 5 or 10 minutes and then lies down on a table for 40 minutes or so, and we explore all of these possibilities within him. I’m not doing it, he is discovering himself.


Gradually his stiffness is going, his gym workouts are improving, he has more time for his son, he feels less anxious with his work load, he feels taller walking down the corridor. These are things he has reported to me over the last 10 weeks.


And this is the beauty of the Feldenkrais method. Steve’s nervous system which is built for learning - is learning through gentle exploration, and through developing his attention to his own internal sensations, in the same way that a new born baby learns to roll, crawl, stand up, walk and run, all without a teacher!


I’m not imposing anything on him in the lessons. I’m helping him find an inner quality, which becomes a resource for the rest of who he is, and his life. And, helps his neck pain!



By West Norwood Therapies Team, Oct 1 2019 10:59AM

Feldenkrais teacher Jenny Hill shares her experience of discovering Feldenkrais and the shift it led to in her life.


It’s funny how people turn up at various points in our lives.


To cut a long story short, I had my first Feldenkrais lesson at a critical moment in my life.

I’d been living in New Zealand and was here on holiday visiting my mum. At this time she discovered she had breast cancer for the 3rd time. My holiday visit turned into my retuning home to the UK permanently.

I had no money, no job, seemingly no job prospects and virtually no friends. I’d split up with my New Zealand boyfriend. And I was no spring chicken.


I stayed with my mum in Cornwall. Every Tuesday I would drive to Exeter to take a Feldenkrais class. And every morning at home before breakfast, I repeated the lesson as we had done it in the class -until the next Tuesday, when we did a new lesson.


How I ended up attending a Feldenkrais class is a story in itself, but I won’t go into that now. Suffice to say after my 1st lesson, I felt as if years of tension and heaviness had fallen away from me. Tension and heaviness I didn’t even know I had. I felt light in my body, open, but grounded. I could breathe easily. I felt mentally calm and at peace, despite feeling my entire life was in a significant mess.


Although I’d had a professional dance training and martial arts background, the quiet potency of the Feldenkrais method and this morning practice changed my life. I began to learn what it means to be present; to feel my body, to feel difficult feelings I needed to feel at this time, to become more intimately aware of my breathing, to see how my thoughts were connected to anxiety, which was connected to my body. And to feel that my life was unfolding in quite an extraordinary way - in the midst of my mother dying. No body wants to deal with this. But connecting with this resource inside myself is something I will always feel gratitude for.


Without me realising it the next chapter had already begun.

There have been several chapters since then.

Maybe one of those will come up in another blog page!







By West Norwood Therapies Team, May 24 2017 08:00AM

Osteopath and yoga teacher Yinka Fabusuyi considers how gardening can give you some good exercise out in the fresh air at this time of year


Fresh air and exercise is for many people a great combination. Gardening is fantastic exercise and gets you out. Some gardening tasks are strenuous or require repetitive movement through the joints. Whilst most people will feel a little stiff and achy after a stint of gardening which quickly passes, others may find that they have prolonged pain in the lower back, knees or other joints. Osteopathy has a lot to offer. Treatment can reduce pain, improve mobility and get you on the road to recovery. As well as giving you advice and exercises which may reduce the chances of recurrence, my consultations allow time to explore your symptoms, offer treatment, and discuss ways forward.


The human body is strong and designed for movement, however there are some things to encourage, and things to avoid when gardening if possible.


1. When lifting heavy weights bend your knees and keep the weight close to your body in order to decrease leverage through the spine and joints of the arms.


2. Vary your gardening tasks to avoid overuse strains on your neck, back and shoulders.


3. Consider having raised beds made if you have chronic lower back pain.


4. Use mulch on bare patches of soil to discourage weed growth which adds more labour to your gardening tasks.


5. When using a spade or large fork, lean your whole body weight down through the handle rather than thrusting with your shoulders and back.


6. Keep your garden tools in good repair. Keep shears and secateurs sharp and get loose handles repaired to reduce strain to your back, wrists or shoulders. Independent garden centres sometimes offer a tool sharpening service. (My local one does).


Have a fruitful summer.


Yinka Fabusuyi




By West Norwood Therapies Team, Mar 1 2017 09:00AM

WNT founder and massage therapist, Jennie Duck, shares her experience of therapies and teachings from colleagues during her pregnancy last year


We have been planning a pregnancy information day (Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond) at West Norwood Therapies to share the broad experience our team has and the support we can offer people during their pregnancy journey. And this has led me to think back to my not-at-all-distant (but a lifeltime ago!) past and how I used the various therapies on offer during my pregnancy…

Acupuncture:

Acupuncture and pregnancy go hand in hand for me. I actually had acupuncture way before I was pregnant to treat polycystic ovaries. My sessions with Philippa cleared that up, regulated my cycle and I had an easy conception. I kept having acupuncture throughout pregnancy, mostly for general wellbeing, I found it very grounding and balancing (physically and emotionally). The therapist matters too, and Philippa’s steady presence, interest in my progress and thoughtful advice around diet, movement and labour was a good support.


She also armed my husband and me with some acupressure techniques and moxa. The former was my primary pain relief all through labour (secondary was 2 paracetemol around 2am!) and was a helpful way of involving my husband in birth preparation and supporting me through birth itself. Then we used the moxa a week or so after to help recovery (we were going to use it before too as my baby was breech, but he flipped himself a few days before) and I’ve since had some acupuncture to help full recovery internally – turns out that can all take a while to get back to normal, it’s quite a thing growing and birthing a baby!


Pilates

Pilates was another fantastic support to me from pre-conception right through labour. I had a mixture of one-to-one sessions and prenatal classes, both with Matthew before he joined WNT, and I felt so strong through my pregnancy and immediate recovery from labour. Though I work with bodies, working with your own is a different matter and I learned a lot from my sessions about how to move safely with a giant bump sticking out of me and to build strength in the most necessary areas to support both the baby and my body. More surprisingly, Pilates with Matthew also helped me relax - there was a good level of focus on the breath and some visualisations and relaxation exercises that really made a difference. We also incorporated some of the exercises in our birth preparation with my husband (lots of tandem squats!) and we now own 2 exercise balls - one at my desk and the other in the bedroom for bouncing baby Willow to sleep at 3am :-)


The concept of prenatal pilates was simple but powerful: Build enough strength to support the baby and help your body manage the extra weight safely, and be able to relax these same developed muscles to be able to get the baby out...it worked!


Massage

As a massage therapist I am obviously a big advocate of massage through all stages of life and I never go very long without getting on the massage table myself. During pregnancy the desire to have your muscles kneaded is especially acute and the relief to your lower back and shoulders is particularly sweet! Durning my last trimester my husband gave me a foot massage and lower back rub every evening. Unfortunately this hasn't become a permanent fixture, our baby is the only one who gets a daily massage these days...but that again was helpful for my husband to feel involved and for me to feel relief and connection to him. I saw my colleagues for fuller, professional treatment too - Veronica is a very understanding therapist around pregnancy changes and her treatments really feel nurturing which is what you need in pregnancy. I had some lovely deep massage with Erika too, in fact she helped Willow make his way down - I had a massage with her on Friday afternoon and went into labour the following Monday...


Osteopathy

While acupuncture, pilates and massage were regular fixtures for me during my pregnancy, I only saw Yinka for osteopathy a handful of times. This was of course limited by time and finance, I couldn't manage all 4 so regularly! But I did call on Yinka when I felt like things were getting a bit twingy. Once when my hip felt like it was a bit unstable, once when I had a twinge in my groin and another time in the early days when I fell off my bike and tweaked my neck. Each time it wasn't long to get back on track and any longer-term issues were averted. I find osteopathy helpful for getting a better understanding of pain and biomechanics and a really empowering treatment to have.


I know I am lucky to work in a world where I have this support structure around me and it may not be possible to have as many different treatments as consistently as I have, but I hope that sharing my experience will help other women on their pregnancy journey to see what support there is available and to make informed choices about what could best benefit you. Our pregnancy information day is being planned to this same effect, so do come along if you are interested to hear more.


More information about Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, our information day for women, couples and birth partners.


Jennie Duck is back from maternity leave, working a reduced hours and only seeing existing clients.



Welcome to our blog where we share tips, advice and thoughts from our fantastic team of experienced practitioners

Historic blogs can be found on practitioner profile pages - they are a great way to get to know us!

NB some old social media links bring you to this page, so please use tags or profile pages to find older blogs