by Dee McMath
Feldenkrais Method (ATM - Awareness Through Movement) is a learning process, which helps you to understand your body and explore the way you move so that you can correct yourself. It aids mobility and flexibility and treats conditions such as sport injuries.
Feldenkrais was developed by Moshe Feldenkrais (1904 - 1984). This Russian doctor was a black belt judo player who was plagued by a recurring knee injury. It was in his determination to find a cure for it that he found a method of understanding your body to correct your movements. He found that by learning how to use the body's framework properly, many injuries could be improved and often corrected.
The method teaches you firstly to pay attention to the way you move and make changes so that physical movements are more comfortable. In the process, better breathing and relaxation habits are formed and you naturally become more graceful.
Classes on this method are offered at some of the large hotels in the spa and massage area. This is mainly to be found all the year round in the well-known hotels on the Costa del Sol and sometimes courses are offered in spring, summer and autumn in health resorts and holistic centres in other parts of the Malaga province as well as in villages around Granada.
This method is usually taught in group sessions (known as Awareness Through Movement), although an initial one-to-one (called Functional Integration) is useful to start with, to allow assessment by the teacher. You will be guided through a series of movements, the teacher noting both flexibility and stiffness in certain areas. You will be made aware of your habitual patterns - how to recognise and replace them with more comfortable ways of moving.
All the movements are slow, with small movements to begin with, building up the moves as you progress. You will lie down for most of the session - your body being supported by the floor. The therapist will work with you using touch and manipulation, bearing in mind your own needs, found during assessment.
Sessions are normally weekly until you have formed new patterns, which are of benefit to your body and have improved your condition. It is a good idea to keep going every month or so after that, to avoid you falling back into the old bad habits again.
The Feldenkrais method is well used in Andalucia by many English speaking residents who have sports injuries, back problems, shoulder and neck pain, arthritis, rheumatism and stroke-related problems such as poor mobility and flexibility. Since often offered in the pleasant sub tropical, surroundings of an Andalucian five star hotel, it makes the whole process both pleasant and rewarding.