Article written for the New Zealand News
New Plymouth, New Zealand, 1991 by Georgina Giles

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Feldenkrais instructor Felicia Trujillo demonstrates, using a skeleton model, how working on the nervous system can alleviate pain and improve posture.

Visitor has new treatment for stress, pain reduction

FELICIA TRUJILLO was born with spina bifida and cured herself. Then she received serious back injuries in a car crash—and cured herself again.

Despite all this the New Mexican woman looks far younger than her 42 years and says she owes it all to learning to use her body as it was designed to be used. She follows the Feldenkrais® Method—a theory developed by Israeli physicist Moshe Feldenkrais.

She is in New Plymouth this weekend to introduce the Feldenkrais® Method.

She will run workshops explaining the Feldenkrais® Method of improving posture, mobility, reducing stress and pain.

Before learning the method, Ms. Trujillo frequently needed a cane to walk because of her spina bifida, and was in a lot of pain. She also suffered from severe sciatica and back pain.

"After my first lessons in Feldenkrais® I was pain free and able to walk uphill and do things much more normally."

After two years of being able-bodied, Ms. Trujillo was in a car accident. She was bedridden for 18 months and told she would need spinal surgery, and was likely to be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life.

"So I started a training programme in Feldenkrais® and became mobile again. I use it daily to maintain mobility." It takes about 16 minutes a day to do the exercises, which have kept her mobile for the past 16 years.

  She believed the work could have a great following in Taranaki, because many farmers have back problems easily treated by this system.

She said the main benefits of the work were an immediate improvement in posture, a reduction in pain and better movement. It is all based on neurology (the nervous system) and involves no massage or adjustments.

In America and Europe the system has become very prestigious—hospitals have even begun to use the method to rehabilitate brain-damaged children.

Much of the theory is based on examining how babies move and teaching adults to move the same way because it is the most natural way. One of the basic treatments—enabling people to more easily raise their head when lying down—is modeled on how a baby moves its head from side to side in a crib.

"When you move your head from side to side while lying down you brain organises your muscles to be able to lift your head lightly and easily. The methods do not change you—they take you back to how you were in the first place."

Based in San Francisco, Ms. Trujillo teaches classes, workshops and private sessions about the phenomenon which has changed her life and many others. Ms. Trujillo said two New Zealanders were being trained, and they would be developing the method in this country.


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