Marty Weiner on Feldenkrais: Limitations of The Medical Model

I read an interesting post recently on the FeldyForum [No longer in existence], an international Yahoo Group of Feldenkrais Practitioners and students that is moderated by Feldenkrais Practitioner Ralph Strauch The FeldyForum post was written by noted Feldenkrais Practitioner and sculptor, Martin Weiner, of Ojai, CA. [Note: Marty passed away in 2011]

I spoke with Marty on the first two podcasts that I conducted: Conversations with Martin Weiner.

I like to stay in touch with what Marty is doing as I find him a rather interesting fellow. Below, he speaks to the limits of the medical model. I did not change or edit a single word of the post, but I did change the spacing to make it easier to read on this page:

I have often talked on the forum about how seeing things from a medical model limits our capacity to see what is there. I had an experience with a young woman the other day that I'd like to share in this regard. A woman called me on the phone and asked if she could come see me. She said she had very severe pains in her neck that woke her up many times during the night. She also had numbness in her hands.

She had gone to a chiropractor who took an x-ray of her neck and freaked out. He was so anxious for her that she had to quiet him down. He sent her to an orthopedic surgeon who had the same reaction and said she needed surgery immediately to fuse three of her cervical vertebrae. She was supposed to have the surgery next Monday. She is a mother of two toddlers and said she is very active. I said, "Let me get this straight. You are not paralyzed or crippled or hobble about. You run after two little kids and exercise regularly. Your only problem is pain in your neck and numbness in your hands. Aside from these two guys freaking out you would have no idea that there is an emergency going on in your body?" She said,"That's right".

So I told her, "Great, I'd love to see you." My point here is that these two doctors looked at x-rays and did not see her. She is an active woman who runs around all day long. Instead of seeing her vertebrae they should have seen her and realize that these vertebrae live in this woman and she is pretty healthy. They saw what they saw which is conditioned by their training. Moshe trained us to see the world differently and to interact with people from a non-mechanical orientation. We have the capacity to help those who many others can't because we do not get seduced into diagnostic categories. She came to see me last Saturday and we worked. Today she came back to tell me that she has been sleeping through the night pain free and that the numbness is now down to just a little spot. She cancelled the surgery and is looking forward to feeling better without it. As Hippocrates said, "Don't tell me what someone has. Tell me who has it." See the person and not the so called "disease" or problem.

Cordially, Marty

I think Marty's post speaks for itself. I hope you enjoyed reading it. - RN