The end of noise: how Feldenkrais (which is to say Valerie) saved the day

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Readers of this blog know that, beginning in early March, a drummer took up residence inside my right ear and rarely ever left. Sometimes I called it a jackhammer. Doctors called it a geiger counter (they could hear it, apparently, with ease). It was loud. It was mean. It was endless, save for the four or five hours each month when it miraculously stopped, only to gear up and start again. Sleep was a challenge. Thinking, writing, reading—the tools of my trade—required enormous I'm-not-listening focus. And it was exhausting.

A week ago I mentioned, on Facebook, that I'd been granted a few sweet hours of silence. A friend—Valerie Grant—commented quickly that I should come and see her. Valerie Grant, the award-winning posture coach of the Philadelphia area, a pilates instructor, the mother of two sons who went to school with my own. Valerie Grant, neighbor and friend, who traveled to Nepal not long ago to help peasants straighten their spines and ease away from their pain.

"Come see me," she said, and I—who rarely make time for those parts of me—said yes. I was desperate. I couldn't think. I had used up all the noise on the white-noise machine. And I know Val. I know her. If anyone could help me, it was her.

In addition to her many skills, Valerie is a practitioner of Feldenkrais, a method of somatic education. From the web site: 

The Feldenkrais Method is for anyone who wants to reconnect with their natural abilities to move, think and feel. Whether you want to be more comfortable sitting at your computer, playing with your children and grandchildren, or performing a favorite pastime, these gentle lessons can improve your overall well being.

Learning to move with less effort makes daily life easier. Because the Feldenkrais Method focuses on the relationship between movement and thought, increased mental awareness and creativity accompany physical improvements. Everyone, from athletes and artists to administrators and attorneys, can benefit from the Feldenkrais Method.
I deliberately read nothing about the Method before I arrived at Val's. I wanted to hear from her about it. I would submit. I will tell you now that this method involves quiet touch. Unobtrusive touch. Fingertips that speak to muscles that speak to the central nervous system.

Five hours later, the noise inside my head was gone. Gone. It threatened to return a day later, but soon it was off again. On this third day post-Method, there is still silence in my head—unbelievable silence—so much so that I just called the third specialist who was to see me Friday and said, I'm not sure I need to come; the noise is gone. I told that specialist about Valerie. Please, I said. Tell others who might be suffering.

As I am telling you. If the noise returns, Val will be there. Even without the noise, I will be returning to Val. There are plenty of ways that my body is out of sorts (let's begin with my posture). Val is going to give this vessel of mine a gentle talking to.


Michael G-G said...

How wonderful! It must be such a relief to have the jack hammer/geiger counter off.

Serena said...

So wonderful! I'm glad that Val could help and that the remedy was easily accomplished. Keep up the good work taking care of you. Have I not said you need to make more time for you! It's good for your well being.

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