Cambridge Centre for Lymphology and Feldenkrais

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Testimonials and articles

This is what students from our Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement classes are saying ...

"Feldenkrais has been an essential part of my life as a classical guitarist. I repeat my lessons to start the day, in between practise sessions, recording sessions and before a concert. I've been truly enjoying Tina and Katharina's lessons for the last three years."
D. Rossi

"It’s the best hour of my week.
"I love to come because I simply enjoy the classes and the people there. In my frantic life it makes me slow down ... I don’t have to think and can just follow the instructions. The exercises are so gentle that my body can finally let go of all the stress.
"Feldenkrais makes you think about things that you take for granted - when we learnt how to roll it made getting out of bed so much easier. I hadn’t realised how tense my shoulders were until after I’d done Feldenkrais and found they felt so much better. This was an important discovery for me because it was then that I realised that Feldenkrais constantly improves the quality of my life."

Jane Ryall

"After a session, all the joints in my skeleton feel as though they’re back where they should be, particularly my neck and spine. And I’m walking taller!"
C. Price

"Doing Feldenkrais has made me feel freer and more graceful. It’s like something in me has been loosened."
V. Kenny

"I find that doing Feldenkrais has greatly helped me do heavy jobs e.g. in the garden, both whilst working - I assume because I am relaxed - and afterwards, by not having aches and pains."
J. Sutcliffe

"FK has helped me to let go, to relax, to recognise my limits and respect them and to be more comfortable inside my own skin."

"Through FK classes I have learnt that very small movements make very big differences.

"It is interesting that the lessons can be done in the mind as well as physically with equal or even better effect (a good way to help you fall asleep)."
M. Martindell

"Feldenkrais taught me to relax and listen to my own body."

"FK has helped me to strengthen my back."
J. Bett

This is what our students say about Feldenkrais and Encephalitis:

"Feldenkrais has helped me following diagnosis of Encephalitis. It improved my co-ordination and balance. I feel less dizzy and fuggy headed. I am mentally sharper. It helped emotionally by restoring my confidence after such a traumatic illness. My teachers are very positive and supportive. The CCLF is a very beautiful, calming and relaxed environment where I feel safe and able to explore new ways of moving."
V. Kenny

After a serious brain illness Feldenkrais is helping me to regain movement and get back my confidence to start a new life."
K. Bainbridge

This is what a parent says about Feldenkrais and Dyspraxia:

"Friends in America recommended Feldenkrais lessons for our severely dyspraxic son. We have tried many therapies over the years and some have helped, but these lessons have made an obvious difference within a short time, to the way he walks, his posture, his body awareness, and his muscle tone. After 5 months, he now walks much more upright and his general appearance is much more ‘normal,’ which is very important when walking around town."
C. Armour

This is what teachers say about Feldenkrais in schools:

"These days children often lead passive lifestyles, but our nursery school, in addition to our daily out door play, have been given the opportunity for some of our children to attend Feldenkrais sessions. These sessions have brought a range of benefits to the children, which include increased body awareness and co-ordination, as well as social and concentration skills. The nursery appreciates this effective approach and above all, the children enjoy this special time."
Sandra Abutarboush/Sue Bainbridge, Colleges Nursery

This article is reproduced from Issue 23 of the Encephalitis Support Group magazine, with their kind permission.

What is Feldenkrais?

The Feldenkrais method is an approach for improving both physical and mental functioning developed over many years by scientific analysis of the ways by which we move by Dr M.Feldenkrais (1904-84). Persons are instructed as to the best way to use themselves with whatever capacities they have. It is always positive. For persons who have a certain disabling illness they may retain rather few capacities by contrast with a normal healthy person, yet there are always sufficient ways to permit substantial improvement in their well being. The brain has an innate capacity for learning and potential for lifelong development which is rarely fully appreciated, but of which the Feldenkrais method makes continual use. Feldenkrais consists of a series of lessons rather than a system of treatment and the Feldenkrais Practitioner is more a teacher then therapist. Lessons are imparted in two ways, as Awareness Through Movement (ATM) and as Functional Integration (FI).

During Awareness Through Movement lessons, participants are led verbally through a series of carefully designed movement sequences. These lessons are mainly taught to groups, but lend themselves equally well to an individual. In Functional Integration however, the needs of the individual person are provided by specifically designed lessons with hands on interaction. The quality of touch is not invasive but interactive. Both ways use movement as the means to promote changes in patterns of moving, thinking, sensing, feeling, and interacting with others.

Personal Stories

"I had ADEM Encephalitis and my immune system attacked my mid brain stem. I can't say how much Feldenkrais has helped me. In my confidence, my mental strength and my physical strength. Katherina and Tina Tribe my Feldenkrais Teachers, helped my right arm the first time I saw them. The saying 'no pain no gain' is total rubbish, in fact I believe Hospital Physiotherapy did me more harm then good. Hospital Physiotherapy was painful and made me very afraid. They did not listen to me when I tried to tell them how much it was hurting. I am now so much more confident with the help I get from Feldenkrais and Katherina and Tina helped my mum too. I could go on forever about how good it is and how bad my experience of Hospital Physiotherapy was for me. It was too violent and painful. Feldenkrais is very gentle and never painful, neither physically nor mentally. I am looking forward to the future and I will always have Feldenkrais."
Kate Bainbridge

"My daughter had spent two years in hospital recovering form ADEM Encephalitis. She was very disabled and frail, but worse was her anger and depression. Feldenkrais has been one of the biggest contributions to her recovery. From the start the emphasis was on what she could do and the gentle stimulation of all her muscles. In the last two years her confidence has grown and her anger is slowly subsiding. Her cognitive powers have increased and she now loves listening to CDs, watches TV, and best of all she can hold a book and read. The care that has been given to us through Feldenkrais has been wonderful and I am so grateful for all the support and encouragement. My daughter continues to improve both physically and mentally. She always looks forward to her two sessions of Feldenkrais every week. She would hate to miss them. The last two years have changed her form a frail girl propped up on pillows unable to do much for herself, to someone who sits up in her wheelchair and has good body movement."
Gillian Bainbridge

"Feldenkrais is helping me enormously. The class is geared towards my level, and unlike other therapies, whereby I often feel I am the 'patient' having things 'done to me', Feldenkrais has empowered me by given me many ideas and structured exercises I can carry out for myself at home. I feel I am involved in a learning process about my body and the benefits have included increased mental and physical functioning, less pain and stiffness, better balance and co-ordination and improved energy levels. Before I embarked on Feldenkrais my confidence was very poor, but my confidence about my body has grown as I begin to function better. Since I began Feldenkrais, I have started driving short distances, playing the piano again, and I have just finished a Masters degree, which I was mid-way through before the onset of my illness."
Vicki Kenny

Those who suffer form encephalitis are affected in different ways according to where the brain is damaged. Sometimes there is a period of coma. The Feldenkrais Method is unique in its approach to each individual's needs. Kate (28) was said to be in a "permanent vegetative state". Her parents unfailingly believed that this verdict did not apply to their daughter and searched for ways to help. The Feldenkrais Method is based on child development. A baby cannot stand before it can sit, cannot sit before it can roll over and cannot roll over before lifting its head. We start our work with people from the stage they are. As Feldenkrais Teachers we KNOW, that however hopeless a situation seems to be, there is ALWAYS SOMETHING we can improve.

When we first met Kate, she sat hunched and barely able to look up. Her whole body was spastic. She could not eat, or speak or move much. Therefore we would work with her as though she was newly born. But of equal importance to us in each lesson is to ask: "What is it YOU want to improve today?" Kate complained of pain in her right shoulder and wanted to reduce its stiffness. The first essential thing to do was to help her to sit more upright, breathe with more ease and: ease her right shoulder. By lifting it gently, holding it for a while in the lifted position, and then letting it slowly come down, her muscles learnt that they could let go. This immediately eased her pain. Kate suffered an extreme fear of falling. The cause was not clear. Her need therefore was to be shown, in time, that she could manage to move herself in safety and not fall. In order to sit straight, people need to be able to bend first. Babies play with their toes. Kate learnt to pull her knees to her chest and discovered - by herself and was able to point it out on her speechboard - that when she pulled her knees towards her, the small of her back moved downward and when she let her knees go away, the small of her back curved up. This made Kate sit much more upright. Easing her neck through many different approaches and relaxing her facial muscles finally got rid of the enormous spasticity in her neck and her face became more animated and extremely beautiful. We were elated! Gaining her trust, we were able to teach her that new and seemingly threatening situations could be joyful events. Learning with pleasure and joy is one of our main issues. Nothing we teach is enforced, but will eventually happen spontaneously and therefore becomes our students' own response.

Essential in all of this were Kate's parents. We gave each a Feldenkrais lesson so they could understand what it is all about. Feldenkrais has to be experienced in order to understand it. Kate's parents were once told that exercise would bring nothing in Kate's case. But learning to lift Kate's shoulder, easing Kate's muscles, stimulating Kate's whole body and a hundred other things, brought Kate to where she is now: Kate the painter, Kate the baker, Kate the gardener, Kate in charge of her electric wheelchair. We see a future of much more improvement. We don't know where too. There will be areas we might not be able to improve. But we will be able to show a way that Kate can function at her optimal potential.

With Vicki, our work also embraced what was essential to her. Mostly we gave her Awareness Through Movement lessons which were tailor made for her own needs as well as Functional Integration lessons. Of great importance is the participation of our students. Vicki does her lessons, plays around with them, improvises, improves, thinks about them and thus it has brought wonderful results. And the step by step improvements are a joy both for our students and ourselves.
Katherina and Tina Tribe, Feldenkrais Practitioners

This is what lymphoedema patients are saying ...

"I was referred by Mr Gaunt to CCLF in August 2003 with a leg ulcer which was 3 months old and showed no signs of closing. If anything, it was getting worse. Within 3 weeks of MLD combined with bandaging it closed, quite amazing. I cannot praise Katharina and Tina highly enough. I now know that if it returns they will work their magic again. Many, many thanks."
C. Hale, Venous Ulcer

"After being referred by my GP I have had several lymphoedema sessions with Mrs Tribe and her daughter and I would readily recommend them to family and friends for the excellent service they have given me. I think they should be recognised by the NHS."
R. Griggs, Chronic Venous Insufficiency with Lymphoedema

I was referred to Mrs Tribe by my doctor, as I had suffered from swollen ankles for many years, coupled with bouts of cellulitis over the last two years. The treatment has made a significant difference to the circulation in my legs and has virtually eliminated the swelling in my ankles. I can recommend Mrs Tribe's treatment without hesitation. It is a pity that it is not readily available on the NHS."
S. Armour, recurring cellulitis with Lymphoedema

"As I prepared to leave hospital after a very bad case of cellulitis, it was clear to me that all the experts had no advice nor help to offer me. Then I heard about Katharina - thank goodness I did. She has been a total godsend! Now I have no worries of further attacks and can get on with my busy life. I see Katharina once a fortnight for 'lymphing' which as well as helping my leg, relaxes all of me."
C. Wiedermann

"Is there any good reason why Manual Lymph Drainage is not recognised by the BMA? My wife who suffered from swollen ankles and legs for many years was on the recommendation of her consultant sent for a three week course of treatment at the CCLF in Cambridge. The results were amazing and I wonder why such an effective and long lasting treatment which is commonplace in most enlightened European countries is ignored here."
T. Withers

"For me Katharina Tribe changed a catastrophe into a miracle and with her skills gave me back a normal life for which I am so very grateful."
A. Drury

"The improvement in my arm resulting from expert attention to MLD and correct sleeve provision at CCLF has been remarkable."
C. Cottrell, Secondary Lymphoedema

"I would never had believed the difference having lymph drainage would make to my general health and mobility."
M. Edwards, Primary Lymphoedema

"I look forward to my visits to the clinic beacause I know I'm going to come out feeling so much more comfortable than before.
"Regular lymph drainage has meant that I am able to lead a fuller and more active life that before, and while I valued the help of the clinic, the CCLF is the place which really helps.
"Tina and Katharina are dedicated and professional in their work, but they make you feel as if you've dropped in on friends rather than gone for some intimidating consultation."

V. Williams, Primary Lymphoedema

"Lymphatic massage gives me a wonderful sense of wellbeing and seems to boost the immune system."
C. Vane

This article is reproduced with the kind permission of the Lymphoedema Support Group. It was published in the August 2001 issue of their magazine, Lymphline.


LSN member Melody Slinn finds out about the Feldenkrais Method

The Ealing Lymphoedema Support Group recently invited Katharina and Tina Tribe to come and talk about and demonstrate an exercise/movement therapy called the Feldenkrais Method, which aims to improve function and movement by becoming aware of our bodies - how we sit, stand and move - and how we feel about our bodies. Ongoing sessions enable a change in habitual patterns of movement, reducing unnecessary effort. One-to-one sessions can be given to work on particular problems, like a 'frozen' shoulder following breast cancer treatment and this type of treatment is very helpful where a non-aggressive approach is needed. Melody Slinn, a lymphoedema patient at the Meadow House Hospice Lymphoedema Clinic in Southall, took part in a class given by Katharina and Tina Tribe - a mother and daughter team - and LymphLine is pleased to pass on her comments and experience of this unusual and innovative therapy.

"Look right! Look left! Look right again! Sound familiar? Of course, the highway code. No, wrong. Simply a night out at Meadow House, home to the Ealing Lymphoedema Support Group.

"22nd May saw an extremely entertaining, interesting, inspirational and hopefully beneficial evening focused on the Feldenkrais Method. Katharina and Tina Tribe travelled all the way from Cambridge to introduce us to a new way of looking at ourselves. The aim of Feldenkrais classes is to alter habitual patterns of movement, thereby reducing unnecessary effort and enabling people to function in everyday life with greater ease and flexibility. It is non-strenuous (actually extremely relaxing zzzzzzzzz…) but helps lymphoedema patients focus on the body's balance and the way the swollen limb is held.

"Katharina and Tina had everyone turning their heads this way and that, sitting on our 'sits bones' and assessing for ourselves what we were actually doing with our bodies while we moved. Amazingly, the majority of us found that suddenly we could see further than before! Katharina then took us through a relaxation method guaranteed to promote well-being, a deep feeling that you are an individual person rather than a being with lymphoedema and many z'ds.

"Moving to the floor position, we were encouraged to lie on our backs and focus on how our bodies lay against the floor. Did this part of the body touch the floor, what about this part, and how did they rest on the floor? After this we all took up a near-foetal position and began gyrating! All controlled, of course. First the shoulders - up, down, back and to the front and finally making a circular movement. What is this all about? Then the pelvis - the same procedure - amazingly relaxing and totally self-focussing.

"Our backs made contact with the floor again and reassessed their relative feelings towards each other. The floor hadn't changed - but miraculously, most of us felt we were lopsided. Taller on one side, shorter on the other, one eye bigger than the other and, asked to move our limbs, a surprising reality that one was heavier than the other (and not always the one you would think!).

"The final session of the evening saw us using our imaginations to rotate the same joints on the other side of the body to even us up. It may seem unbelievable, but it worked.

"Katharina doesn't know why but the Method seems to alleviate the swelling in lymphoedema patients. But one thing that everyone from that evening would say is that, if nothing else, the class made everyone feel relaxed and a more balanced person. Certainly everyone came away feeling that they were a person who mattered - a person who had something else to offer the world than lymphoedema."

The LSN is indebted to Lymphoedema Specialist Nurse Lesley Watts of the Lymphoedema Clinic at Meadow House Hospice, who very kindly encouraged her patient Melody Slinn to write this fascinating account of a therapy that could be invaluable to lymphoedema sufferers. A special 'thank you' is also due to Melody herself for allowing us to include her excellent article in this issue of LymphLine. If you are inspired to take a look at the Feldenkrais Method, take a look at the website: or contact the Feldenkrais Method on 07000 785506 for further information.

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