The change that changes one’s mind.

Sometimes, it’s not what you’re doing, its who you’re doing it to. I was up visiting my sister and her family, and talking with my brother-in-law who’s a GP about studies. We were talking about how I might be able to, in time, get some studies going with Feldenkrais in order to faciliate it being offered on the NHS (one should think big right?). Anyway, I had 40 minutes before getting my train, and I offered to show him (my cynical also consultant doctor sister was sat on the sofa listening and playing with my nephew.)

My offer was declined as my brother-in-law didn’t fancy being touched that morning, but unsually, my sister proffered herself in his place. This is one of the most intelligent, but deeply cynical people I know. And I know she isn’t so interested in what I’ve been studying for the last four years. I was nervous- more nervous than when I had to work with my teacher for the first time.

So I thought I’d start with her feet.She’s on them a lot at work, and is a mother, so on them at home too! I had an audience, and not really enough space, but thought I’d just get on with it. At least I wasn’t worried about touching her feet- I’ve known them a long time, and she’s not very ticklish.

I started work, with regular questions from the GP on the sofa, about what I was doing- he commented that it all looked like diagnosis, and other questions about what I was looking for, we talked about how it was a conversation- that I was helping her feel herself, feel her own habits through the medium of the feedback from my touch, and the questions I asked.
Twenty minutes later, I asked her to get up and walk around. One foot looked wider, and flatter, and softer in reaching and leaving the floor. My brother-in-law noticed it too. At that point my sister was aware that it felt more relaxed, but not much more.
On the second side I also worked on differentiating the bones of the foot, and with them the musculature- in all the different directions, helping the muscles relax so the foot had more softness and bony-ness. I find it fascinating how the toes often have very different movement patterns to each other.

I made small movements connecting the foot to the ankle, knee and up to the hip, so we could feel how she transmits force up her skeleton. Sadly there wasn’t enough time to do more, but I was pleased (and relieved) to see a big change in her walking when she got up from the floor, as did her husband, and more importantly, she really felt the change herself, how the foot pushed away from the floor, and that her feet felt more connected to her hips and the rest of her skeleton.

My brother-in-law wished he’d volunteered- “such small slow movements, it looks really nice: my turn next time! “

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