Functional Integration® for Rehabilitation

What Functional Integration Is For
Functional Integration (FI) teaches your body and mind to work well together.  FI works with the habits of movement that have caused damage to your system over time.  Frequently we are unaware of the effects of habitual patterns of body & mind until the damage is done, and we are recovering from surgery or injury.   It is our old habits that prevent or slow the healing process.  FI unties the physical & mental blocks of your old habits, freeing you to move with ease, efficiency & coordination.

How Functional Integration Works
The movements you do are directed by your nervous system.  Old movement habits are actually neural maps created by repetition.  This is similar to a path worn in the grass by repeated use.  Functional Integration uses gentle movement with hands-on or verbal guidance to help your  nervous system release habitual patterns & create new pathways for more effective action.  While exercise is about moving strong, these lessons are about moving smart. You no longer have to take the worn out path that causes pain, instead you learn to move with ease in everything from the most ordinary activities to high performance sports.

Who Functional Integration Lessons Can Help
These lesson can help anyone whose ability to move has been restricted by aging, injury or illness.  Injuries including whiplash, fractures, sprains and ligament tears, as well as chronic or acute pain of the back, neck, shoulder, hip, legs or knee can benefit.  Patients with illnesses and conditions that limit movement such as stroke, brain injury, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy find relief from pain, regain lost function and improve balance, flexibility and coordination.  People who have arthritis learn to move in ways that don’t stress the effected joints so they find more comfortable and safer ways to do what they want to do.

Functional Integration Lessons can help you improve virtually anything you do.  Daily functions like rolling over in bed, reaching for something on a shelf, sitting comfortably, or getting up from the floor, a bed, or a chair, become easy.  You will find that activities which you wish to do, such as hiking, running, skiing, horseback riding, skating, playing a musical instrument or dancing, become attainable without pain.

During the Lesson
These lessons are done fully clothed in different positions – lying on your back, on your stomach, your side, sitting, or standing.  The positions we use depend upon what is comfortable for you and what needs to be learned.  Do not endure or push through pain or strain – both are counter productive to the lesson.  It is best to bring a relaxed attention to your experience as the lesson progresses.

How Functional Integration Works With Other Therapies
These lessons will help you integrate the work that Medical Doctors, Chiropractors, and Physical, Cranio Sacral, or Massage Therapists are doing with you. It is essential that we integrate the changes we experience into our whole system so that we heal thoroughly.  Functional Integration trains you to integrate the changes in your body & mind so that the results are long lasting.

After the lesson
You will be given specific movements to practice during the time between lessons.  If you do not understand the instructions, please tell the practitioner so they can communicate more clearly.

Quite simply the best way to keep your brain and body learning after a lesson is to bring awareness to your experience of movement during your day.  A good way to apply what you learn is to ask yourself questions while doing specific everyday activites, such as:

*Do you feel relaxed and supported while driving or sitting at your desk?

*Are your legs, pelvis and trunk moving with you as you reach for something on a shelf?

*Are you keeping your back extended and long as you pick something up from the floor?

*Is your whole skeleton involved as you get up from a chair?

*Are you supported as you bend over the sink to wash your face?

*Are your trunk and pelvis moving as you walk?

Movement and emotion are closely linked and some people experience an upsurge of emotions in the days after a lesson.  This is a normal part of the unwinding of old habits and tensions and it is important to experience them but not be overwhelmed. If you experience an upsurge of emotions, please do mention it to the practitioner.

Copyright© Unfettered Movement, Jeff Bickford, GCFP, 3-22-11

Unfettered Movement offers Awareness Through Movement® & Functional Integration® Feldenkrais Method® in Colorado & at Peak Peformance PT