Most perspicacious, George! I especially like that you make the distinction between "treatment" (= therapy) and "lesson" (= learning). That's a key point. Likewise, Kay's (instructor Kay Pepitone) point about accessing the nervous system, though it's actually done more through the skeleton than the muscles; the skeleton is really the "point of entry." You'll notice that in a lesson, while I may do some kneading of the muscles, it's practically never the first thing I do; there's a lot of work with "bones" that comes first, and which continues throughout a lesson.
Awareness during a lesson is important (though falling asleep is excusable -- sometimes that's simply what you need to do). It's clear that you've been paying attention when you note that sometimes I grasp an arm or a leg that is contracted and "press" it so it is fully contracted. That's in keeping with one of Moshe's great discoveries, which is a fundamental principle of his work -- that "going with" a student's natural "pattern" conduces to creating a new pattern. I like to think of it as self-acceptance at the neurological level. We can talk a bit about this if you like. Probably more than anything else theoretically, this is what excites me about the Feldenkrais Method. I've seen it work time and again.
Some provisos and faint damns:
-- You may recall that, on occasion, I've asked you to move in a certain way. So I'm not always "doing all the work." Truth to tell, we should be doing more of this. But generally, what you imply is correct -- that you don't have to "help." This is a point I wish some of the other students could understand, but it may simply be that their bodies (for any of a number of reasons) won't let them. For those folks, that's their primary subject matter in a Feldenkrais lesson -- learning how to let go, give up control. You seem to be a natural at this!
-- Kay's partly right about Moshe's curmudgeonliness. In his old age, he became more and more that way, in part probably because so many people wanted (often adamantly) his time and attention. But for many people, he showed other sides too (though I suspect everyone "got it" from him at least a few times!). One thing's for sure though: he loved the limelight in terms of recognition and respect for his work, and his own genius. In part, his surly side was a response to the obtuseness and willful exclusiveness of the medical and other "establishments" in failing or refusing to give him what he believed to be his due.
DisPatches table of contents
Disabled Students home page