Friday, September 6, 2013

Flexible Bodies, Flexible Minds, Guest post by Julie Francis

Emotions are expressed through your body as a series of muscular contractions. When emotional states become chronic, your body learns that the corresponding contractions are "normal". In other words, the muscles develop a habit of contraction that equate to an emotional state. When this happens, it becomes difficult to tell if your emotional state is caused by an actual event or if it is the remnant of muscular contractions leftover from an habitual pattern learned during a time of significant stress. And, it's not just your emotions that are involved. When muscles are chronically contracted, they affect everything from digestion to posture to back pain. The same muscles that help you stand up are involved in breathing and digestion. When they are tightly held, your body can't function as it was designed to, and you start to develop symptoms of dis-ease -- headache, indigestion, low back pain, etc., etc. Working with a clinical psychologist can be extraordinarily helpful in identifying the cause of symptoms and in clearing the way for new healthier choices. To move things along more quickly, it can be very helpful to approach issues from a body perspective as well.

That's where the Feldenkrais Method® comes it. It is a powerful neuromuscular approach that uses gentle movement and touch to help your brain relearn its responses to life. As Dr. Low helps you to become aware of and shift your responses and reactions, I help you become aware of your movement patterns so you can get out of the movement rut you are stuck in. As your movement patterns change, you learn to let go of the excess contractions; movements become more supple, balance improves, and your muscles re-learn the ease and flexibility you were born with. Together we work to teach your nervous system (which includes your brain) that it has choices and help you get back on track to health and comfort.

Julie Francis is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner and Assistant Trainer of the Method. She maintains an office in Glen Ellyn and is now in her 21st year of helping people learn to shift unhelpful patterns of moving and being. To learn more about the Feldenkrais Method® and Julie Francis, check out

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