Feldenkrais Shoulder-Spine Integrator

This exercise is taken from the Feldenkrais Method devised by Moshé Feldenkrais (1904-1984). This exercise is particularly good for anyone who is stiff or restricted in movement of the spine. Many people I see in my clinic or at class have some kind of spinal restriction. It is beneficial to anyone who plays sport that requires integration of the shoulder and spine, such as golf, tennis or any throwing sport. It can help golfer's elbow (medial epicondylitis) and tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) to heal - these syndromes can be caused by lack of rotation in the spine leading to overuse of the elbow joint causing irritation.

Feldenkrais - Level I

Level I (left) The support under your head should be high enough to lift your head parallel to the floor in the start position - a couple of telephone directories will do for most people - it doesn't have to be a roller as shown.

Breathe in as you turn to look behind you - allow your head and shoulders to turn. Keep your eyes open and register what you can see. Breathe out as you return to the start position. Your hips and legs should not move at all. If the top leg slides back over the bottom leg as you turn then push it slightly forwards to prevent it moving.

Feldenkrais - Level II

Level II (Right) Starting with the hands together. Slide the top hand, dragging the fingers up the underside of the underneath arm, across the chest onto the shoulder as you breathe in. Reverse the movement as you breathe out, making sure that you maintain the contact of the moving hand with the body at all times. The head and shoulders should turn smoothly so that you look behind you. As with level I, the hips and legs should remain static.

Although I have labelled the exercises as two different levels, I suggest that you try both and see which suits you best.

Try to use the least possible energy to make the movements and aim for 10 - 50 or more repetitions on each side. The stiffer you are the more you will need to do. Regular practice is often necessary to establish and then maintain spinal mobility.