Solution Other the Casts
By Catherine Rosasco-Mitchell
Toe walking, knock-knees, and pigeon toed conditions are the most common orthopedic (muscular-skeletal) challenges in toddlers today. Many children grow out of these conditions as they learn to walk. Signs of improvement are visible by the age of six months by trained professionals. If there are no signs of improvement then drastic measures that are quite painful are often presented to parents as the only option. There are more options than surgery or braces.
“Braces, casts and surgeries are not the only options for orthopedic conditions,” says Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais who is the world-renowned physicist and professor of neurology, development and movement. This Nobel Prize assistant created a method called “Functional Integration® (FI) that is a sensory motor movement changing orthopedic conditions for a lifetime. Other colleagues agree, development is based on sensory perception inside the body and is a key to healthy functioning (See Society of Research for Child Develop, Teaching Institute 2015 Blog: http://wellnessthroughmovement.com/srcd-teaching-institute-presentation-philadelphia/) Pigeon toed children need training to feel their sensory bodies.
FI sessions use the sensation of motion and touch to build receptive impulses necessary for healthy alignment and development. The sequence of sensations in developmental movements is key to how information is processed and incorporated from-the-body-to-the-brain. In FI sessions sensations through motion integrate muscular and skeletal function. Movement between parts use the nervous system to correct alignment and balance. Results can be seen as early as after one session if there are no bone deformations.
How does it work? Sessions introduce missing stages of sensory-motor development. Correction of condition demands not just the mechanical function but also neurological intelligence (Goddard, 1957). The sensory integration is life changing with both psychological and emotional well-being, as well as physical pain and suffering. Does this sound too good to be true? Leading physical therapists are training with Feldenkrais work because of its amazingly quick and long lasting results. FI sessions take the suffering off the table. Instead gentle movement clarifies and utilizes the intelligence of the natural development. Movement it the tool to train systems through the muscular-skeletal systems to alignment, posture and position.
When pigeon toe (or flat foot) conditions in children correct themselves, it is because innate movement stages reeducate disfunction. It is nature’s way to correctly utilize the potential of a human body. Each stage of developmental movement creates the next stage forming building blocks for healthy function (Randolph and Heiniger, 1998). If any stage is missing the condition will not correct itself. The FI session introduces corrects missing stages.
For example, with in-toeing (pigeon toes) sensory impulses rotated bones of the tibia in a torsion affect the whole leg changing the pelvis and spine. Sensory motor reeducation gives the system the sensation of how parts are working and how to work better together. The method is enhancing what naturally wants to occur to correct conditions.
The Feldenkrais® Method was also foundational to the success of hundreds of children in the Wellness Through Movement programs (See www. WellnessThroughMovement.com). More information about the Feldenkrais® Method can be views at: www.FeldenkraisInterest.com.
- Bower, TGR (1941); The primer of infant development
- Feldenkrais, Moshe (1972); Awareness through movement; Harper and Row, San Francisco CA
- Goddard, Sally (1957); Reflex, learning, and behavior; Fern Ridge Press, Eugene, OR.
- Randolph, Shirley and Heiniger, Margot (1994); Kids learn from inside out; Legendary Publishing Company, Boise ID
- Ratey, John (2001); A user’s guide to the brain; Vintage Books, Random House, New York, NY