Feldenkrais Los Alamos Offers Innovative Way To Heal Pain

Feldenkrais Los Alamos Owner Judith Hoffman demonstrates some of the exercises featured in the Feldenkrais Method at her space in  557 Oppenheimer Drive, Suite 100. Hoffman offers both the Functional Integration and Awareness Through Movement modalities. To learn more, visit https://www.feldlosalamos.com/. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com

Feldenkrais Los Alamos Owner Judith Hoffman demonstrates some of the exercises featured in the Feldenkrais Method at her space in  557 Oppenheimer Drive, Suite 100. Photo by Kirsten Laskey/ladailypost.com

Los Alamos Daily Post

Perhaps the most notable thing about the Feldenkrais Method, a body-mind therapy used to treat body pains, is that it is practiced with such low intensity and passivity that it almost seems to operate under a cloak of invisibility.

While it may be so low key that some patients never realize that their session started until the Feldenkrais Method practitioner announces the session is over, the method does have noticeably positive results.

Judith Hoffman, a local practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method, can attest to that. After attending a four-year training program under Alan Questel in Santa Fe starting in 2016, Hoffman graduated in 2020 and set up her own practice, Feldenkrais Los Alamos.

“The part I like,” she said, “is I’m working with you, and you don’t notice any pain … no pain is a good thing.”

She explained that she follows the two modalities within the Feldenkrais Method. The first is Functional Integration (FI), which is one-on-one sessions with the client. She explained the patient lies, fully clothed, on a massage table and she gently moves their body in a small, methodical way to look for blind spots or places where the person cannot move at all. Hoffman said she looks at connections from the pelvis to the head and vice versa.

She also sees if a person’s ribs move as one unit or can move individually, the same for the shoulders. Hoffman offers FI sessions Monday, Wednesday and Friday by appointment only at 557 Oppenheimer Drive, Suite 100.

The other modality is Awareness Through Movement (ATM), which is done in a classroom setting. Hoffman explained there are more than 1,000 lessons to draw from. This is not a cardio class; participants are learning new ways to move. She explained some movements can be as small as flexing the wrists.

“It’s not called exercise,” she said. “It’s methodical movement to ease your pain. You don’t get hot and sweaty.”

Hoffman offers ATM 11 a.m. Mondays and 6:30 a.m. Fridays at SALA Event Center, which used to be the Reel Deal movie theater. Drop ins are welcome but people also can make an appointment.

Whether it is FI or ATM, Feldenkrais Method’s goal is to educate the nervous system to move more efficiently, Hoffman said. Feldenkrais focuses on the whole body.

“The goal is to get them to do activities that they currently can’t do,” Hoffman said.

She recommends going to at least five sessions to see if this method works.

Since the Feldenkrais Method focuses on the body’s nervous system, this can be effective treatment for a number of different issues from recovering from a stroke or dealing with Parkinson’s to back or knee pain.

Hoffman can attest to its effects. Before becoming a Feldenkrais Method practitioner, Hoffman was a first-grade teacher at Barranca Elementary. She suffered from sciatica but while attending an education workshop, she was recommended to try the Feldenkrais Method. Hoffman said she found a local Feldenkrais Method practitioner and saw results.

“I actually got rid of my sciatic pain,” she said.

Coincidentally, the method’s founder Moshe Feldenkrais, an Israeli physicist and engineer, developed this method after having a similar experience. He felt knee pain and wanted to explore why he sometimes did and sometimes did not have pain.

When the Los Alamos practitioner moved to Santa Fe, Hoffman decided to offer her services to Los Alamos.

It’s work she said she enjoys doing.

“…I’m a nurturer,” she said. “I love helping people – helping people is my core. Getting people to do activities that they couldn’t doing before – that’s rewarding.”

Hoffman has lived in Los Alamos since 1988. She came here to work at the laboratory as a computer programmer and even helped with its Y2K conversion. She moved on to teaching and began teaching first grade in Pojoaque before finally teaching at Barranca Elementary School. She has retired from that profession.

The cost to attend the 50-minute ATM class is $15 per class. A punch card can also be purchased for $75 for six classes. The cost for a FI session is $100 or a punch card for four sessions will cost $360.

The FI sessions typically last 50 minutes but the first session will be a little more than an hour.

For more information, visit https://www.feldlosalamos.com/ or email Hoffman at feldlosalamos@feldla.com


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