Regaining Balance
Friday, January 1, 1999

Section: Recovery

She couldn’t run. She couldn’t keep her balance. Even walking became difficult. For the last 33 years, Holly S. has suffered from a disease that attacks the nervous system, causing extreme incoordination of the limbs.

“At first I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, but then my doctors discovered I had Friedreich’s Ataxia,” says 78 year old Holly. Not wanting to rely on a wheelchair, as do most with this disease, Holly decided to try the Feldenkrais Method®.

After more than twenty Functional Integration® lessons with practitioner Paris Kern, she joined an Awareness Through Movement® class. Holly found that she could loosen her muscles, create new patterns of movement and then allow her nervous system to recapture balance. “These exercises carry over a lot into my day to day life,” says Holly. “Before I started them, I would lose my balance and fall a lot, but now I rarely do.”

“I once enjoyed walking, but began to detest it as my disease progressed, so I started to use a wheelchair more and more,” she explains. “I now enjoy walking again after taking the Feldenkrais class.” Holly walks between an eighth and a quarter of a mile a day to visit others in her retirement community who can’t leave home. She still relies on canes for support.

“One reason I chose this method is because it’s not invasive or medication - it’s just a way to help the muscles to do their job more efficiently,” explains Holly. “I only wish I had tried it sooner.”

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