Growing up I was never well coordinated, or good at sports. My body wasn’t something I was paying much attention to. I certainly never imagined that I would become a physiotherapist and movement educator. In my teens I was far more interested in the human brain. I was fascinated by how the mind works and indeed I still am. So following highschool I studied psychology at the University of Western Australia.
The decision to transfer to physiotherapy happened almost by accident. During my second year of psychology I decided to do a massage course, and discovered I loved working with my hands. Despite my general lack of coordination, I learned that I was a very tactile and kinaesthetic person. So I became focussed on helping other people, by working with their bodies, but still paid little attention to my own.
In my mid twenties and still a physiotherapy student, I hurt my back playing squash. So began a crippling period of lower back pain and sciatica. I went to see a man who was supposed to be the best Physio in the state. He cracked my back and told me he didn’t think there was much more he could do for me. Convinced by an expert in the field that there was no solution, I learned to live with daily pain for the next decade.
As often happens over time the back pain expanded into neck pain and finally regular headaches, often lasting several days. All of this was exacerbated by an intensely physical job and the stress of being an isolated young mum living in the country town of Bunbury.
Back then, the Feldenkrais Method was still very young and relatively unknown in Australia. The first Australian workshops began to run during the 80’s. When I heard about a form of somatic therapy that integrated the mind and the body I was instantly curious. After all it married my two fields of interest together. I began with audio lessons on cassette and eventually decided to undergo formal 4 year training as a Feldenkrais practitioner in 1995.
Initially, I told myself it was about enhancing my career and practice as a Physiotherapist, still focussed entirely on helping others. Deep down, I hoped it might finally lead me to some relief.
Six months into the training I realised I was having some periods pain free, half way through I was almost totally free of pain. And perhaps what was more transformational, I was now not only aware of my own body, but had finally given myself permission to take care of my body and my mind.
I developed a sense of autonomy and self care. Instead of just treating my pain, I developed a deeper awareness of my body. I was able to give my body the attention it needed to feel comfortable and free.
The Feldenkrais method also transformed my entire practice. I became more than a therapist providing treatment and short term pain relief. I became an educator, helping others to help themselves. This has been incredibly rewarding.
I am so grateful for the tools and skills I developed during my Feldenkrais training. No matter what happens in life I now have confidence in my ability to adapt and thrive. My wish for you, is to experience the same freedom and comfort so that you can navigate through life’s challenges with ease and grace.