In 1995, nearly four months after complex spinal surgery, Susan, an interior designer with a long history of crippling backpain, came to me for her first Functional Integration lesson. She arrived at my door in the wheel chair she was then using to get around town. The first session resulted in a kind of miracle. For the first time Susan didn't experience any problems during an evening out, nor did she feel "awful" the following day. Family and friends noticed a vast improvement in the way she moved and walked.
After a subsequent lesson she found that she could suddenly open heavy doors at the swimming pool where she had previously had to wait until somebody opened them for her. Then came the day when Susan began dancing quickstep "only the feet didn't move so well in turning"... For several years Susan just phoned occasionally to let me know that she was still making fabulous progress completely on her own; or she sent me news with an acquaintance who might benefit from Feldenkrais sessions. Eventually she began having one "top-up" lesson per year. After her 10th session Susan wrote the following little text for the www.feldenkraisnow.org website.
"For me Feldenkrais has been the most effective and most enjoyable therapy: minor movements - major effect. Some conventional methods had completely failed me. Conventional physiotherapy was far too aggressive for me, but Feldenkrais is very gentle and unobtrusive, and I needed to remove nothing but my shoes.
I've had 10 Feldenkrais sessions in 10 years following major spinal surgery when discs were removed and my spinal cord repaired in the lower back. In some areas my brain had completely shut down - unable to accept movements that had been so painful prior to my operation. Ilana called the sessions my "neurological diplomacy days," re-educating my brain to accept those movements again - and how true that was.
The actual treatment session is so relaxing (and can easily send you off to sleep) and was sometime like magic: 'Now you can't do it - now you can'; and ever more benefits were realized weeks or even months later. The tiny and short gentle exercises that Ilana gave me to do in my own time at home have been invaluable.
I can never sufficiently thank my friend who introduced me to the Feldenkrais Method. It has transformed my life."
Susan Charles, January 2006
I transformed My Life