The medical world (with physiotherapy as one of its most important aspects) continues to be dominated by a largely mechanistic and fragmentary self-world view (physicist David Bohm). The consequences are deplorable for both physiotherapists and patients:
“The illusion of techniques distracts us from how we treat each other” (psychologist R.D. Laing).
How often does a kind and sensitive physiotherapist feel obliged to say to an already frightened patient: “Sorry, it may hurt a little, but we have to get this joint moving again”. How often does a patient swear never to go back to a physiotherapist “because they don’t really help, they only hurt me”.
(Of course many doctors, therapists, nurses, healers, and other health care specialists acknowledge and support the active role patients can play in their own healing process. But such ‘enlightened’ people don’t as yet form a ‘critical mass’ for bringing about a shift in general attitudes and practices)
The Oxford Concise Medical Dictionary gives two definitions of the term “rehabilitation”. The first captures the understanding most physiotherapists have of their task: (in physical medicine) the treatment of an ill, injured, or disabled patient by massage, electrotherapy, and graduated exercises to restore normal health and functions or to prevent the disability from getting worse.
Physiotherapists who have discovered the Feldenkrais Method as an invaluable extension of capacity to really take care of themselves and their patients would probably prefer the second definition:
'any means for restoring the independence of a patient after diseases or injury...'
Physiotherapists all over the world are finding what a Swiss colleague put in a nutshell when asked what the Feldenkrais Method is adding to his professional training:
“This Method gives us a different approach. To say it simply: instead of putting something right, we look how it is, and give this information back to the patient by way of experience. The person’s nervous system can then judge and work with that. That’s quite a different way of thinking and interacting with the patient”.
Physical Rehabilitation: the Importance of Knowing HOW