These 45 minute sessions are traditionally referred to as a Functional Synthesis Lesson (FS) and they are performed by an Anat Baniel Method NeuroMovement™ practitioner. Often they will be called lessons or sessions for short. FS lessons integrate Anat Baniel NeuroMovement ’s™ 9 Essentials for healthy brain change (neuroplasticity). These essentials are foundational to neuroplastic change and ABM NM™ work. They help the brain to form new connections and overcome rigid habits providing more freedom in movement, eliminating pain and improving physical and cognitive functioning. I will be writing more about each essential in detail over the next few months.
- Movement with Attention
- Flexible goals
- The Learning Switch
- Imagination and dreams
I will discuss each of these more in future posts. But for now I will summarize by simply stating that these gentle lessons aim to wake up your brain to new possibilities by using the 9 essentials. The lessons are done by way of touch and gentle movements that are specifically designed to communicate by way of your nervous system. They can benefit those impacted by strokes, brain damage, special learning and developmental challenges, or other injuries and FS’s can equally benefit healthy individuals and athletes.
What you need to know before your lesson:
You should arrive at your lesson dressed in clothing that is comfortable and easy to be moved in. Remove jewelry, belts, and tie your hair up high or at the nape of your neck. Wear socks and shirts that cover your chest and shoulders if possible. This work is not to be confused with a massage. This is a movement lesson and the practitioner is often referred to as a teacher and the client as a student.
Prior to the lesson the teacher will ask you a few questions about your health and injury history. Share freely any experience you feel may be important for the teacher to know prior to touching and moving you. Medications you are taking may be of importance as well.
The lesson will usually be done lying on a table, sitting in a chair, or occasionally in other positions. During the lesson the teacher will use their hands to move you in a variety of ways. Usually the movement will be quite slow and gentle, exploring your movements while at the same time bringing awareness to variations and areas that could participate more or less. Often there is little to no talking but feel free to ask questions or speak up if something bothers you. The goal is not just to “relax”, you will benefit most if you pay attention to the lesson. Try to pay attention to the movements and how they feel, what do you feel participating? Where do you feel restricted? Is there anything you could do to decrease the resistance? Are you physically helping? Could you do less? You may fall asleep inadvertently, often this work is quite tiring to the nervous system and you may sleep for portions and wake again and begin attending again. It is okay to fall asleep, usually your practitioner will not intentionally wake you til the lesson is over (even then students usually wake themselves).
On the other hand some lessons may be directed more through words than through touch. Again, pay attention to your self, your movement, how you could do less, what is participating and so forth.
If anything hurts, or feels uncomfortable immediately let your teacher know. This is a relationship built on trust and the teacher wants you to communicate and keep your best interests at the centre of the lesson. There should be no stretching or straining, again speak up if this is your experience. If you forgot to tell them about something mid lesson that is of importance, again speak up.
Usually it takes several lessons before you really start to see changes. However, it depends on both the teacher and the student. The brain is unique to each individual and some students may immediately feel impacted by the work. But it is best to return for several lessons before determining if it has impacted you. It is a new way of communicating with your nervous system and may take a while to adjust and start to notice the finer differences.
The work is very gentle, very slow and still can have a big impact. After the lesson you may feel asymmetrical or different in some way. Do not try to stretch or equalize this difference. Allow yourself to notice this difference as this is the foundation for your brain to change. Your teacher may not have even touched the side or area that you told them is injured/of concern. This is on purpose. Your brain is being woken up to a different way of moving and communicating with your body. The asymmetrical differences will be noticed by your brain and integrated.
Your teacher may not ask you about your experience after the lesson because the experience is yours and often is too complicated for you to have the words to express. Sometimes the differences or changes are not noticeable for several hours, days or weeks. The work is very subtle but can be quite impacting. This is where the fifth essential: enthusiasm, comes into play. Take note of these differences, no matter how big or small, and allow yourself to be excited about them.
“Movement is Life, without movement life is unthinkable”