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  • Katie Giarth

The Language of the Heart

In a Feldenkrais Functional Integration lesson, there is a hands on technique that involves gentle touch. Gentle touch has been shown to help those with brain or other injuries regain movement. It also decreases stress, reduces heart rate, and calms down the nervous system.


I truly believe that the language that speaks to our brains, hearts and bodies is gentle touch. The body responds to gentle touch with pleasure and acceptance. In contrast, when we are forced to recover a certain way or we use manual or other manipulation techniques, the nervous system and brain do not engage in the same way. That's why getting a massage is great for temporary relief, but for long lasting change while feeling safe, gentle touch is what's needed.


Feldenkrais Practitioners spend a minimum of four years refining their touch and developing an awareness of how to co-regulate with another nervous system. When I am working on your body, we are working together. It's almost like a language or a dance.. I ask a question (through touch): would you like to move like this? And you respond. I feel your response by going so slow and gentle that I can notice where the resistance is and find another approach. A Feldenkrais Practitioner will never enter an area of resistance, which often can be very uncomfortable anyways and/or only temporarily satisfying. We find the best route to "speak" to the part of the body that is feeling less connected.


When you have pain or discomfort, you can do this yourself: light touch, making sure you don't label the pain (ex: "this is my bad leg"), feeling for connections between the pain and other parts of the body, and spending more time focusing on what feels good than what doesn't. And when people need help because the pain cycle continues, it's best to see a Feldenkrais Practitioner. We can remind you of how to move well and hopefully find the pathway through the body to move the pain.


My first experience after a Functional Integration lesson was magnificent. I noticed my body doing things with the least amount of effort and began to have more room to enjoy my life. After my second FI session, I decided to climb trees. It just felt so good to have my body back, working together and movement began to feel pleasurable after years of feeling less than optimal. I regained so much!


See if you can find a way to incorporate gentle touch in your life. Whether it's through the Feldenkrais Method or something else, it's a wonderful way to recover from a number of ailments.



Here is an article about the benefit of gentle touch: https://www.hearttouch.org/…/Nerves-of-Endearment-how-gentl…

This article by Marcello Costa, Professor of Neurophysiology, Flinders University, appeared in The Conversation. He examines C-tactile afferent nerves and expl

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