As runners we test our bodies daily. Through endurance, power, speed, and strength we are constantly challenging ourselves to withstand a lot of stress. The goal? So we become more efficient runners, so we can get from point A to point B faster than we were able to before. We put so much training in to our muscles and the nerves connecting to our muscles, but what about the brain? The brain and central nervous system, after all, is the center of our movement, telling us when and how to move. We train it a little through our day to day training, but there is a way that we can train our central nervous system better. This is the Feldenkrais Method, and it was developed by Moshe Feldenkrais.
I was introduced to The Feldenkrais Method through my mom. Like any mother, she is always worried about my health, and she knew that I was dealing with injuries that I claimed to have “under control”. Finally I gave in and saw Nicki Fauble, a certified Feldenkrais therapist (also mother of Scott Fauble, the NAZ Elite runner who almost beat Mo Farah that one time). I was immediately impressed.
The theory behind this method is that our brain is constantly learning and re-learning, and through gentle movement we can train our brains to move our bodies more efficiently. One of the greatest feedback our brain receives is pain. Your brain wants to avoid pain, so it controls our bodies’ movements in a way that minimizes pain. We all know this-we hurt a foot, and we limp. However, your brain also makes subtle changes that remain even after we have “healed”. We may no longer experience pain in the foot, but our brain has already adapted in a way that we move a little differently, avoiding the injured foot a little greater than the foot that was always healthy. This is what happened to me. After one session with Nicki I immediately realized that not only I felt more stable on the foot that was injured, but I was moving more fluidly all together.
No other training teaches the body to move like The Feldenkrais Method does. Whether you’ve been injured or not, The Feldenkrais Method can help by increasing the central nervous system’s awareness of each muscle and movement, and helping to integrate these movements. This not only increases the efficiency of your running, but also keeps you injury free, and improves your day to day movements.
I highly encourage all runners to check out a Feldenkrais therapist by you and give it a shot. For those in the Denver/Lakewood area, Nicki Fauble will be teaching a class through the City of Lakewood this summer specifically for runners, instructing on how you can practice this therapy on your own to increase your running efficiency (see flier below).