Why Would a Medical Doctor Get into the Feldenkrais Method?

Lori Malkoff, MD surfing in the annual Stone Steps contest finals 2013

Lori Malkoff, MD surfing in the annual Stone Steps contest finals 2013

I am often asked, "Why would a Medical Doctor get into the Feldenkrais Method?" Great question!!

It all started in 1993 on a surfboard. I was doing a drop knee cut back on a longer board, and I felt a pop in my left knee. My knee swelled up and hurt for a few weeks, but seemingly healed. That is unless I tried to do anything fun: run with the dog, play golf, basketball, SURF! In which case my knee would swell up and hurt all over again. I tried everything to make my knee better: physical therapy, massage, energy healing, rolfing, yoga, acupuncture, Pilates and finally SURGERY for a torn medial meniscus. Yes, I finally caved and let the surgeon in. That was desperate, and useless! Nothing helped the pain in my knee that I still had even one year after surgery. Nothing until I found a Feldenkrais Practitioner three miles from my Encinitas home, Dr. Mark Reese (RIP). Yes, I am a lucky girl!!  Not only did Mark Reese, PhD live close, he happened to be one of the best Feldenkrais Practitioners in the US. The Feldenkrais Method not only made all the pain in my knee go away, I felt better, younger and more vibrant! I was so amazed, that after several treatments, I decided to become a practitioner in 1995. I was going to be 4 years older anyway, I might as well be 4 years smarter with a certification and new level of expertise!! I loved my Feldenkrais Training with Mark, and I am proud to have graduated from his teacher training program in 1998.

In 1999, I hit a rock on my skateboard while simply cruising down my street. My left foot, the foot on the skateboard as I was pushing myself along with my right foot, came to a full stop, while my left femur (thigh bone) continued forward. Ouch, @#$&^, that hurt. I just knew I had really hurt myself. This time my knee swelled up immediately. Within one hour it was quite huge, and the pain was severe. I went to my doctor the next day, was examined (large + drawer sign) and immediately got an MRI. My ACL was completely severed, and the medial AND lateral menisci were torn. Wow, I had "blown it out"!  My primary care doctor offered me an orthopedic consult and physical therapy. But instead of conventional care, this time I used the Feldenkrais Method exclusively to heal my knee pain. After several table lessons and an immersion in Awareness through Movement lessons, two weeks later I was walking well and able to gently bike on level ground. Five weeks post injury, I was surfing. Yep, and without pain or fear of instability.

My last MRI was in 2010 after a minor skiing incident. The MRI showed that all the injuries I sustained during my skateboard accident were still present and accounted for. In fact, my MRI so confounds my surgeon given my age, activity level, and observable images of injuries, that "colorful" is the only word that comes out his mouth when he reviews it. But no new changes this time; yea!

Now it is 2017, many years post-injury. My knee remains functional and pain free!!  I still surf, play golf, and play just about anything I want. No, I do not jog. Why? Because it hurts: my body doesn't like it, so I just don't use jogging for my aerobic activity!! I do other things. My standing knee x-rays continue to show an excellent, well-preserved joint space, with a few arthritic changes.  And that's why I got into Feldenkrais...it is the most empowering decision I have ever made.

Feldenkrais for the relief of sciatic pain

In spite of the impressive number of treatment options available, most approaches to back pain often prove less than satisfying and the relief is usually not permanent.

Sciatica represents a degenerative process in the discs of the low back. Each vertebra is cushioned above and below by an intervertebral disc. Discs can degenerate and bulge. The bulging disc places pressure on nearby spinal nerves, and is felt as pain in the back, buttock, thigh, leg, or foot.

The Feldenkrais process creates an environment for herniated discs to heal. It produces a lengthening of the spine through the selective relaxation of back, abdomen and diaphragm musculature. Feldenkrais also organizes the spine for movement by integrating spinal movements with the head, shoulders, pelvis, and hips. Finally, the back understands the work asked from it, and degenerative discs can heal.

See what Feldenkrais can do for your sciatic pain. Call me for a free phone consultation at 760-436-2403.

Do you have spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is an arthritic condition affecting the inside of the spinal column

Narrowing of the spinal canal due to arthritic changes places pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves and can create several pain syndromes. Most commonly, lumbar spinal stenosis can cause:

  • Standing discomfort (94%)
  • Numbness in legs (63%)
  • Weakness in legs (43%)
  • Bilateral symptoms (68%)
  • Discomfort above and below knee (78%)

Many treatments exist for spinal stenosis, including epidural injections

However recent studies suggest that epidurals may make spinal stenosis worse...see more. It appears that physical therapy, including the Feldenkrais Method, that is able to correct posture has the most therapeutic value. Postural correction takes some of the pressure off the spinal nerves creating a relief of disabling symptoms. Do you have spinal stenosis? Contact me and see what I can offer you.