Work in Progress
An informal group of Feldenkrais practitioners has been meeting once a year in the French Pyrenees since 2007.
From the start the aim was to explore issues connected with the Feldenkrais theme of DYNAMIC EQUILIBRIUM – through seeking answers to the question : How and why does intelligent and focused use of inflatable balls prove to be so very effective in initiating and supporting organic/somatic learning in our work? Coming up with pertinent concepts and theoretical models that may help clarify this issue forms part of our endeavour.
An important aspect of the Laboratory Group’s first project has been completed with publication of the Ana´s and her Scoliosis case-study - in both the German Feldenkraisforum and in the French Feldenkrais Journal Corpus. A DVD showing sequences from five individual lessons with Ana´s, three before and two after her operation, will be issued in 2013. In addition work has already started on more general presentation of the Supported by Air approach both on DVD and in writing.
Ana´s and Her Scoliosis - A case-study by Ilana Nevill
On May the 30th 2011 fifteen year-old Ana´s had her spine straightened by a specialist in Toulouse, famous for such complex operations. He had kept the ‘evolution’ of Ana´s’s scoliosis under surveillance for almost six years, starting with prescription of a corset. For three quarters of a year the then twelve year-old tried in vain to get used to wearing this hard plastic corset regularly. It was finally decided that the young girl should be “left in peace” until she could be operated on at the age of 15 or 16. The professor advised her parents against the alternative of waiting until Ana´s was an adult on the grounds that most probably further deformations of her joints would occur and no longer be reversible. In addition any operation at that stage would involve the entire spine rather than just the twelve thoracic vertebrae.
In search of a possibility of sparing Ana´s such extensive surgery, her mother consulted a highly regarded local physiotherapist (a German), who recommended the Feldenkrais Method1 and gave Patricia my telephone number. During our first meeting (in April 2010) Patricia provided me with an overview of her daughter’s rather traumatic life. From the age of eight Ana´s had to cope with a metal appliance meant to widen her upper jaw. Initially it was thought that this device had contributed toward deformation of Ana´s’s spine, sparked off by sudden growth. Unfortunately the expectation that the scoliosis would recede once what the mother called ‘brutal’ correction of the jaw had been concluded (ultimately only at the start of 2010) was not fulfilled. At the time when Ana´s was prescribed the plastic corset she was twelve. Almost at the same moment her mother vanished into hospital for a cancer operation and had to stay there for several weeks. Two years later Patricia had to have a second operation so once again her frightened child with “too small a mouth” and an increasingly curved spine was left on her own.
X-Ray of Ana´s's spine before the operation...
Laboratory Group 2011
Here is the beginning of the Ana´s case-study. For an article about the cyberneticist Heinz von Foerster mentioned at the end of the text, see Archive/In-depth Article - Truth is the Invention of a Liar
Use of inflatable balloons as effective learning tools - individual Feldenkrais lesson with a young guitarist