Bones For Life is a method that is believed to facilitate harmonious movement within the body and align posture in order to promote bone strength as the body ages. This is based on the Feldenkrais Method for the re-education of movement habits, and the idea that having a lively walk can increase blood flow and allow oxygen and nutrients to permeate the bones.
The Feldenkrais Method was developed by Moshe Feldenkrais, a believer in there being no distinction between mind and body, and that learning to move in a more consciously beneficial way can improve a patient’s overall well-being. It is based on self-awareness that is gained through movement, and is not only aimed at people whose lives are centred around the way they carry themselves (dancers, actors, musicians and so forth), but also to assist those with very little physical activity in their life. It is therefore applicable to circulatory complications that can arise from restricted movement. On a psychological level, the Feldenkrais method is aimed at promoting a self-awareness that leads to expanding a patient’s responses and choices in everyday situations.
Ruthy Alon is a qualified trainer in the Feldenkrais Method. She was an attendee of Moshe Feldenkrais’ classes in Tel Aviv, where she learnt the guided movement process called ‘Awareness Through Movement’. Later, she decided to train practitioners in this method of hands-on teaching. She was the first practitioner to follow Feldenkrais to the US in 1972 in order to spread his therapy of movement. Thus, Feldenkrais’ method was a central inspiration to her initiation of the Bones For Life program. She applied the somatic learning principles of greenhouse conditions from the Feldenkrais Method to the dynamic movement created through standing, which is required for stimulating bone strength.
Bones For Life is centred around the idea that walking style can affect bone strength through stimulation. The rhythmical pulsations of lively steps are believed to enable the blood, which carries nutrients and oxygen around the body, to penetrate the solid tissue of the bones, and in turn encourage bone hardening. This can be achieved through a well-aligned posture and harmonious co-ordination of movement. Bones For Life offers assistance in improving posture and movement by offering a series of movement processes that improve the body’s overall co-ordination. By organising the skeleton into a safe weight-bearing posture, the body is able to sustain springy pulsations of force throughout the body, which are believed to help maintain bone strength and suppleness.
These movements are modelled after the primal patterns of motion in nature. They are re-learnt through the program in conditions of gradual practise that are adapted to the patient’s own ability. The method uses simple tools to help develop a controlled resistance to pressure, like using a strip of cloth as a harness, pushing against a wall, or lifting weight. It is believed these exercises can increase the bone density of patients who practise regularly.
Osteoporosis is a degenerative bone disease that afflicts the elderly; however there are studies that aim to demonstrate this is not a natural part of the ageing process. It is purportedly the result of inactivity, and is believed to be prevented through exercise. The Bones For Life method of treatment is recommended for patient prevention of osteoporosis; as the vibrations are believed to combat the degenerative loss of bone mass that characterises this ailment. There have also been cases where Bones For Life treatment is believed to be responsible for the reversal of the osteoporotic process.