You've asked for it, so here is Maggie's Story. To Give Your Authentic Hope
Even with a combined half century as students of Feldenkrais Method® and the Anat Baniel Method℠, and a combined four decades as practitioners, we remain students of the work. We schedule private lessons for ourselves. We lie on the floor (or sit on a chair) to do classes and workshops. We get thrilled by new discoveries about ourselves--and the work,.
Yes, we love being students of the work, but the most important thing is how this means we are better able to serve YOU.
I tell my story because many of our clients come to us after being told by their medical providers that "there's nothing more we can do for you." Or, "you won't get any better functionally." Or, getting better seems impossible. I was one of those people. While my injury is extreme, my wish is that it provides you with authentic hope:
About Maggie: Short Version
I am thrilled to help you reclaim your life from pain, injury, anxiety, and/or stress. The Feldenkrais Method has been the foundation of my spinal self-care for 30 years. Without it, I wouldn’t be walking, or teaching. With an incomplete spinal cord injury, fractured vertebras, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, compression fractures, and arthritis, my neurologist describes my spine as “a structural train wreak.”
I couldn’t change the damage, but through the years, Feldenkrais helped me change how my body & brain responded to that damage. This is very important--most of the time we cannot change the fact that we have an injury or disorder BUT WE CAN CHANGE how our bodies & brains respond to that damage.
Gaining relief from pain, freer movement, soothing sleep, and control over my life. It supports what works for me medically. My body and my life has so much more comfort, flexibility, ease, and joy because of Feldenkrais. I am happy to share what I know with you. To help you live the life you want.
Maggie's Story: Longer Version
Twice I've been paralyzed and told I'd never walk again. And twice I figured that while I had great doctors and still needed them, they didn't have the last word.
The first time I kept searching until I discovered Feldenkrais, in 1987, about a year-and-a-half after suffering an incomplete spinal cord injury.
Until that time, and even afterwards, there were some truly dark stretches with severe pain, spasticity, and depression--because an incomplete spinal cord injury is a nasty neurological injury. Still, with that first Feldenkrais lesson, I knew immediately I'd found the answer to complement my medical care, even though the shift in improvement that first lesson was just a flash, like a comet streaking across the night sky.
But, I got consistent improvement with each lesson.
Because the Feldenkrais Method is based on neuroplasticity--the capacity of our brains to generate new patterns and pathways no matter the injury or age--meant is was the perfect approach for me. (You don't need an extreme injury like mine to benefit from Feldenkrais Method.)
To get the most intensive work possible, I did ten years of professional training. (It typically takes 3-4 years to become a practitioner.) There are still people in Morehead (KY) who remember when we first moved here, I was walking with two canes...and then one...and then none. Two canes was a significant improvement from not walking at all and a wheelchair. 15 years ago, if you didn't know my story, and just saw me, you probably wouldn't have noticed anything different. Unless I was very tired, and then I stumbled or got spastic. And once you damage the spinal cord, that is a central nervous system injury, so you will have pain.
Feldenkrais has helped me feel I have control over the pain--because I do. I have learned how to dial back the pain and get myself out of trouble. And when i cannot, I live with a practitioner (Ned)! And I have good doctors. Despite the damage, I have a remarkably flexible & healthy spine. Because self-care is a priority with me.
In the summer of 2013, out of nowhere, paralysis struck again. Within 24 hours, I was completely paralyzed with no reflexes in my legs and arms, had breathing difficulties and couldn't swallow. At first they thought I had Gullain-Barre. When I had a relapse, they were able to diagnose a rare neurological auto-immune disorder, Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)). Exactly what it says.
This time, I was ready for the paralysis. Twenty-six years of Feldenkrais self-care meant my body was primed for the best possible recovery; and, I knew what to do. My P.T.'s and O.T.'s at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital told me I got significantly more improvement than even they expected, because I "knew that the medical experts didn't have the final say" in recovery and "that the human body is capable of extraordinary things when given the right guidance." They knew about Feldenkrais and supported my use of it, as do my doctors now. For whom, I am very grateful.
Though one of the main treatments is prednisone, which made my body balloon into someone I don't recognize, as my main doctor says, "it keeps me alive and not paralyzed." I'll take that. And, Ned says, "I'd rather have you round and alive than skinny and dead."
Though CIDP is very different from an incomplete spinal cord injury, I knew how to navigate my way from paralysis to walking again. I still need a walker and even a wheelchair between IVIG treatments. I continue doing Feldenkrais daily.
But, I am able to give private sessions and teach group classes and workshops.
And, I bring all that I've learned from these two journeys back to walking from paralysis, back from dark times to living a joyful & meaningful life--to serve you. To figure out what will help you get to where you want to be. To help you to dial back the pan and sometimes even eliminate it. To improve function, even in "impossible" situations. To live the joyful & meaningful life you want.