Steve was only in his mid-forties, but he arrived in my practice bent over his special walking stick like an old man. All his articulations – and especially his neck – were so swollen that he found it hard to move. To begin with he was unable to lie down. Sitting on the Feldenkrais table was alright though. He actually felt rather comfortable with his hands and arms resting on a big softly-supportive oval ball lying across his thighs; and he positively enjoyed the minimal movements - ultimately of his entire torso - when the ball was rolled a little forward and back. After a while Steve began to sense how his swollen joints were getting looser and his whole body somehow lighter. I myself watched with amazement something I could hardly believe at first. The puffiness around the articulations in Steve’s fingers and wrists began to shrink visibly and their bony structure started to re-emerge a little.

Within a few “supported by air” sessions Steve began to straighten up. And gradually he returned to his natural height, finally extending his adaptable stick by three or four inches. A thank-you note from his wife concluded: “He’s like a young man again.”

It wasn’t long before Steve found it easy to lie on the Feldenkrais table – often with his legs nicely supported by a big EGG ball. By gently pushing into this or rolling it minimally forward and backward I could achieve exactly the same effect (reducing swelling round his joints and articulations) as in the first lesson when he was sitting with his arms resting on such a supportive air cushion. Later I could even begin lifting his legs with the help of the air balloon and found that demanded hardly any effort from me. I simply had to use my own body weight skilfully and Steve’s legs would virtually float up.

Steven Shafarman writes in his book AWARENESS HEALS: “Research is beginning to verify the importance of aware, efficient movement for all healing. – Awareness and efficient movement facilitate recovery from any injury, illness, disease, or difficulty, while stiffness or immobility exacerbates most problems... The immune, nervous, and endocrine systems depend upon movement and muscular action for the flow of lymph, cerebrospinal fluid, and other materials.” (p. 177, See Resources, Books about the Method).

Alleviating rheumatoid arthritis