What is Anat Baniel Method: Neuromovement®

Anat Baniel Method (ABM): Neuromovement® is a method for increasing brain plasticity and enhancing brain function through sensorimotor stimulation. ABM practitioners’ gentle touch guides clients to perform and learn various new movements which reprogram their brain into better functioning- this is “neuromovement®”.

 

This method is based on the Feldenkrais method and the ‘Nine Essentials’ that Anat Baniel, Moshe Feldenkrais’s protégé, had distilled from his method, defined and refined, and that their implementation in the learning process enables the achievement of incredible results. The Neuromovement® method is aligned with the latest neuroscience findings regarding brain plasticity and the effects of movements on cognitive and social-emotional development and behavior, from infancy to old age.

 

The ABM: Neuromovement® method enables people to realize their potential by finding the most effective way to move their body, considering each, their own specific abilities and limitations. Thus, ABM is effective for people of all ages, from healthy high performers to people with various neurological disorders.  By doing and exploring a variety of different new movements, people learn to perceive subtle differences in their body posture and movements. This acquired ability to differentiate between different body states enables them to learn how to move effortlessly, efficiently, effectively and without pain, leading to improvements in all aspects of daily function. Moreover, the brain spontaneously applies what it has learnt during the work with this method to other aspects of life, so that eventually one feels a distinct improvement not only in their motor functioning but also in their cognitive and emotional functioning.

 

You can find more details about this method, including the type of populations for which it is effective, more in-depth explanations and video testimonials on Anat’s website: https://www.anatbanielmethod.com/

 

For just one example among many success stories, you can learn about the story of Tessa, a young woman who suffered a massive stroke.

 

You can find a short description and explanation of each of the 9 Essentials at the bottom of this page. In addition, you can watch Anat being interviewed about these essentials here. Anat also wrote a book: ‘ Move into life – The nine essentials for lifelong vitality’, which explains in length the essentials and how to apply them in everyday life. A summary of this book you can find in this free eBook.

 

What my clients say:

When we started with ABM for Ojas, he was almost 3 years old, could not  take 3-4 steps without falling, non verbal, was always cranky, not eating well and was not good with expressing his feelings.
Just within a month of working with Tal, he started to express himself. He started showing his anger, happiness, pain and his preferences much more clearly. He is sort of awakened, more attentive, his appetite improved and definitely more stable physically. He can now walk without any support and does not keep falling. He has now started to work on his vocal skills.

Working with Tal has been a game-changer.

      Sumita Dahiya, Post Doctoral fellow

Since working with Tal, my posture and balance have improved. I am more aware of how I move my body. Working with Tal has given me hope.

    Sharon, a technical writer with Parkinson’s Disease

What defines Tal's approach is her awareness and respect to the individual own body and spirit.

A method that allows the patient to be thoroughly healed in a natural way.

Her intensity, knowledge and care creating a rare combination that makes her a truthful healer.

She is present a hundred percent during treatment.

Tal always leaves me with a feeling of hope and renewal capacity to get in touch with my body and my inner self. 

    Ophra Shemesh, Artist

 

I came to get Tal Shafir's treatment completely by accident. She saw me walking with severe pain in my knee and asked "What happened?". I explained. She suggested to try to help, and since then I have become addicted!!! I came twice a week regularly for the most helpful, pleasant, professional and relaxing treatment I have ever done. Today, after four months, I continue to arrive regularly!! It has been long since the knee recovered, yet the body begs not to stop. The effects on posture, calmness, balance, skeletal maintenance, and different pains and aches (which at my age appear occasionally with or without a cause) is huge. I highly recommend to anyone who can come, to try it and to keep coming.

      Dafna Keren, interior designer and real estate agent

 

For scheduling a one on one ABM: Neuromovement® session with me, please contact me through the contact tab in my website or email me directly to: gahl@umich.edu

 

Anat Baniel Method: Neuromovement® for children with special needs

Although this method is very effective for everybody and can be used to improve the condition and life of various different populations, personally I love children, am very interested to work with babies and children, and therefore I will explain with some more details the principles of working with this specific population.

 

Working with this method with children with special needs is based in addition to the principles I explained above, also on the following basic facts:

 

Every human being goes during his life through basically the same developmental stages.  Each stage leads to the next one, and is the base for its formation. Therefore, the type of developmental milestones and their order is similar for all people (for example: every person learns to sit before they learn to stand, and everyone has to be able to stand before they can walk), and only the duration that each person spends in each developmental stage and the speed with which they move from one stage to the next, is different from one person to another. If one skips a certain developmental milestone or doesn’t practice it long enough and doesn’t control well enough the skill that is learnt during a certain stage, this will reduce the level of his functioning during the next developmental stage. For example: A child that learned to walk before having enough experience with crawling and creeping, his coordination during walking will be inferior to that of a child that controlled creeping very well before starting to walk. Therefore, in ABM Neuromovement® we work on improving and making more efficient each of the motor skills which are learnt in each of the developmental stages, in order to create a strong base for learning the skills that are learnt during the next developmental stage. We never rush the child or force him to perform a movement that he cannot do yet, even if based on his chronological age he should have been able to do it already.

 

Our aim in Neuromovement® is not to “fix” the child and get him at all cost to a normative functioning level appropriate for his chronological age, but to accept him as he is, and help him to learn how to bypass his brain insult and create alternative neuronal pathways, which will lead to optimal functioning within the framework of his limitations. Instead of looking at what the child is not doing, we concentrate on what the child is doing, and from this starting-point we help the child’s brain discover by itself and create the motor solutions to the functional problems that the child tries to solve. Healthy typically developing infants are constantly moving random purposeless movements, which help them to map in their brain the relationships between the brain’s ‘commands’ to the muscles and their resulted body movements. This mapping enables the infant to gradually learn how to control his body parts and move in a way that will enable him to achieve a functional goal, such as grasping a toy or sitting up. Infants with special needs are often lacking these random movements, and using ABM Neuromovement® we guide them to experience as many variable movements as possible, in order to help them map in their brains the relationships between the commands to their muscles and their resulted body movements, so that they can learn how to control their movements within the framework of their limitations. When, as part of the “fixing paradigm”, we force children to practice again and again the same narrow range of movements which are the final result that we want them to achieve, and which they cannot yet do by themselves (e.g., walking or bringing a spoon to the mouth), we withhold from them the rich and varied motor experiences which are necessary for mapping in their brain the more basic movements that are the building blocks for performing later-on complex movements.

 

Moreover, when we practice with these children again and again movements that they cannot yet do by themselves (the fixing paradigm), they learn that no matter how much effort they put into trying, they always end up failing. This makes them feel inadequate, worthless and helpless; it reduces their self-confidence and may cause them to stop trying to do new things in order not to feel that they are ‘a failure’. In order to keep the child’s motivation to learn and develop, he has to feel successful.  Thus, in ABM Neuromovement® we pay attention and emphasize every new accomplishment, no matter how small it looks, because recognition of these changes and achievements paves the path to new learning. The most important thing for the development of the child as an independent and competent human being is good connection between the child and the parent, and once the child experiences success in what he is doing, and feels that the parent loves and accept him as he is, he feels good about himself, happy, and motivated to continue and learn new things.

 

It is possible to use ABM Neuromovement® with children with special needs starting from the age of a few days old, and the earlier we start, the higher are the chances to help the child reach a higher level of functioning.

 

The duration of each session with children is about 30 minutes and it lasts only as long as the child is attentive to the learning process. If the child is hungry, tired or crying I stop the session because in these conditions his brain is occupied by other needs and no learning can take place.

 

Watch how the work is done:

You can watch examples of the achievements of working with ABM Neuromovement® with children with various neurological disorders and syndromes in the following links:

Neuromovement with children with special needs:  general – 6:07 minutes

Neuromovement with Jonathan, a child with Autism – 5:07 minutes

Elizabeth’s story (global brain damage) – 7:36 minutes – At the age of 6 months Elizabeth was diagnosed as having a global brain damage and had no control over her movements, including eye movements. She started getting Neuromovement® sessions with Anat at the age of 13 months, and continued with them for many years. She started walking without a walker only at 9 years old, but continued to develop in all aspects of life until achieving a master degree at the university. In this video you can see Elizabeth at age 21 (14 years ago) as a fully functioning and vibrant young women.

Nash (global brain damage) – 11:20 minutes – In this video Allie & Wyatt, the parents of Nash, who had a global brain damage at birth, share the story of his development and the significant changes they saw in Nash when he started to get ABM Neuromovement® sessions.

Neuromovement with Dvorah, a baby with Brachial Plexus – 2:43 minutes – Devorah, an 8 weeks old baby, suffered from Brachial Plexus at birth which caused her left arm to be paralyzed. See how she starts moving her left arm a few minutes after the beginning of her first Neuromovemen®t session.

Grace (Brachial Plexus) – 27:34 minutes – At the age of 13 months Grace could hardly use her left arm because of Brachial Plexus injury at birth. See how she starts using her arm and fingers already at her first Neuromovement® session.

Grace (Brachial Plexus) at the age of 5 years old – 6:00 minutes – See how now Grace has full function of her hand and fingers.

Carter (Cerebral Palsy) – 33:00 minutes - Carter was borne as a preemie and was diagnosed as suffering from Cerebral Palsy and legal blindness. At 7 years old Carter was not able to stand, walk, use his arms or understand what is going on around him. See how he becomes a cheerful, mobile and intelligent child within several sessions of Neuromovement®.

Isabel (Cerebral Pulsy) – 27:00 minutes – Isabel was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and at the age of 15 months was not able to roll, stand or use her hands. See how she starts moving voluntarily for the first time in her life.

 

Applying the 9 Essentials with Children with special needs

Below you can see a summarized explanation of each of the 9 Essentials. To get a detailed explanation of how to apply these essentials with children with special needs, read Anat’s book ‘Kids Beyond Limits: The Anat Baniel Method for Awakening the Brain and Transforming the Life of Your Child With Special Needs’, or a very short summary of that book in  Anat’s  free eBook: How to use the 9 Essentials with children.

 

For scheduling a one on one ABM: Neuromovement® session for your child, please contact me through the contact tab in my website or email me directly to: gahl@umich.edu

 

The nine essentials for activating the brain

Automatic movement—movement done without attention—only grooves in the already existing patterns. When we bring attention to what we feel as we move, the brain immediately starts building billions of new neurological connections that usher in changes, learning, and transformation.

 

  • Slow your movements in order to overcome limitations and learn new skills.

Fast, we can only do what we already know. This is how the brain works. To learn and master new skills and overcome limitations, the first thing to do is slow way down. Slow actually gets the brain’s attention and stimulates the formation of rich new neural patterns. Slow gets us out of the automatic mode in our movements, speech, thoughts, and social interactions.

 

  • VariationIntroduce variation and playfulness into everything you do in order to create new possibilities.

Variation is the base for learning. Take everything you do and change it slightly: make a game out of it, make mistakes on purpose, explore it. Variation provides your brain with the richness of information it needs to create new possibilities in your movements, feelings, thoughts, and actions. It helps increase your awareness and lifts you out of rigidity (mental, emotional and physical) and out of being stuck.

 

  • Subtlety Reduce the force with which you move, think or act.

In order for the brain to get new information it has to learn to perceive differences.

 

  •  Enthusiasm tells the brain what is important to us and provides motivation for learning.

Enthusiasm is self-generated; it is a skill you can develop, choose to do and become good at. Enthusiasm tells your brain what is important to you, amplifying whatever that is, making it stand out, infusing it with energy to grow more. It is a powerful energy that lifts you up and inspires you and others.

 

  • Flexible goals Accepting the unpredictable and change of directions as a source of information that may be important for the brain.

“Keeping your eyes on the prize” is a great way for most people to fail. Freeing yourself from the compulsion to achieve a goal in a certain way and at a certain time keeps you open-minded. You are available to recognize opportunities you might never have noticed had you been fixed on a too rigidly set course. There is no way to know in advance the path that will lead you to achieving your goal. Know your goal and embrace all the unexpected steps, mis-steps, and re-routes. They are a rich source of valuable information for your brain to lead you to your goal. Flexible goals will reduce your anxiety and increase your creativity, resulting in greater success, vitality, and joy.

 

  • The Learning Switch Expect and look for what you can learn from every situation in your life.

The brain is either in a learning mode-the learning switch is on-or not. Healthy young children have their learning switch on and the dial turned on “high.” Their eyes are bright, their movement lithe, and they are full of energy. For the brain to properly do its job, the learning switch needs to be on. Repetition, drills, and everyday stresses, as well as habitual patterns of thought, exercise, and emotions, all tend to turn the learning switch off. When the learning switch is on, no matter what is your age, life becomes wonderful and full of movement, adventures, creativity and new possibilities. In order to turn the learning switch on, all that you need to do is to consciously try and learn something new in every situation.

 

  • Imagination & DreamsImagine how to perform your tasks and dream the highest number of possibilities to perform them.

Imagination enables the brain to find new solutions to problems and to create things that didn’t exist before.

  • Awareness to what you do, think and feel in any given moment causes our brain to operate at its best.

Awaring-the action of generating awareness-is to be knowledgeable about what you are doing, sensing, thinking, and experiencing at any given moment. Awaring is the opposite of automaticity and compulsion. It is a unique human capacity that can catapult us to remarkable heights. When you are aware, you are fully alive and present. Your brain is working at its highest level, noticing subtle nuances of what is going on around and within you, revealing options and potentials, greatly accelerating learning.

 

 

For scheduling a one on one ABM: Neuromovement® session with me, please contact me through the contact tab in my website or email me directly to: gahl@umich.edu