Category Archives: bones for life

Bone Mineral Content And Fractures: Are They Related?

The Job of Congolese Women and Girls Is To Car...
Image by Woody Collins via Flickr

In a previous post on the relationship between structural “deviations” and pain symptoms we discussed how specific issues such as “disk protrusions” and “torn rotator cuffs” are not necessarily related to pain symptoms – regardless of what well-meaning health practitioners may tell us.

Now, let’s talk about a related idea we first touched upon in our podcast with Ruthy Alon. Namely, is low bone mineral content the cause of bone fractures?


Bone Density and Bone Fractures

It is well established that most women lose bone density as they get older (Citation: Hip and calcaneal bone loss increase with advancing age.) But what is puzzling is the fact that bone fractures – presumably related to bone density and bone mineral content – varies among populations. For example, African American women have much lower rates of bone fractures than do Caucasian women.

Why? Is it because African American women have stronger bones? Do they have slower mineral loss? For the U.S. population, I have not seen an answer. However, I was intrigued by this comment by Ruthy Alon on a Facebook post (African Women Walking):

“Comparative research shows that African women, who carry massive loads on their heads
with effortless grace, are one hundred times less liable to fractures than women in the West,
despite the fact that their bone density is lower than that of Western women.”

Could this be true? Do African women, with dramatically fewer bone fractures than Caucasian women have actually have lower bone density? If so, what accounts for the differences in fracture rates?

Bone Density Research

According to a study in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research Ruthy is correct. The study compared Caucasian women and African women on a variety of factors including bone density, age, and weight. Surprisingly, not only did the African women maintain bone density at a similar rate to Caucasian women, but they actually had LESS overall bone mineral content than did the Caucasian women. Got that? Lower bone density and fewer fractures.

According to the researchers,”These results challenge the concept of BMC [Bone Mineral Content] as a primary determinant of fracture risk.”

If bone density is not the “cause” of fractures, then what is? How do African women avoid fractures? What can Caucasian women learn from them? Would anyone like to share a theory? If you are a Feldenkrais Practitioner or Bones For Life Practitioner, you likely have an opinion on this. Yes?

I’m listening.


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Ruthy Alon: Talking To The Bones

ruthy_alon_jumpI recently caught up with Ruthy Alon while she was in preparation for an upcoming 4-month international trip to teach Bones For Life and Feldenkrais. One of Moshe’s original “gang of 13” students, Ruthy speaks not only about the development and origination of her own work – Bones For Life – but also her beginnings with Moshe Feldenkrais.

In this podcast, you can find out how Ruthy got the idea for Bones For Life, how she integrates Feldenkrais principles into her work, and how she originally “found” Moshe. Ruthy also shares a wonderful story about how she approached Moshe with the idea of teaching his work at an Israeli University. This was at at time before he had conducted a formal training or was even calling what he did “ATM” or “FI”….

Much more that I could say, but let’s have the conversation speak for itself:


*When you click the link, the file should open automatically and play in another browser window. If not, you may need to download it to your computer. Also, if you use iTunes, you can go to the iTunes store and search for “Feldenkrais Podcasts” and each episode will download automatically.

“Ryan, Keep Updated On The Work of Feldenkrais and Related Thinkers!”

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Is “Bones For Life” Feldenkrais?

I’ve heard some conversations recently in which people ask, “Is Bones For Life® Feldenkrais®?” or simply state, “Bones for Life IS NOT Feldenkrais!!” Neither statement makes any sense.

Here’s an idea. How about asking questions about the “new” methodologies in a way that is consistent with Feldenkrais learning principles? How about asking what will help people to develop organically in the way that is most satisfying for them. So that they can develop in accordance with their own needs, their own desires, their own abilities and at their own speed.

Sound familiar?

The labels are irrelevant, the persons needs and desires are not. Better questions to ask:

Would it be useful for me to learn Bones For Life?
Would Bones For Life add to what I know about myself?
What would BFL add to what I know about the Feldenkrais Method?
Would it be useful for my students or for my practice?

It seems to me that those are worthy questions to consider.

As for FGNA not accepting Bones For Life as “continuing education”? No offense to the Guild, but who cares? Personally, I’m not organizing my learning activities in accordance to the external requirements of the FGNA. No guild is going to set my learning agenda. Those of you who are worried about meeting continuing education requirements might take a moment to consider your own self-directed learning activities:

Do you regularly do self-application of ATM?
Do you work with the Alexander Yanai lessons?
Do you engage in study groups?

All of those activities count as continuing ed, keep track of them, count them as your continuing hours and go take any damn training that you want to.

cheers – Ryan

By the way – I have not taken a Bones For Life training. I am not endorsing Bones For Life. I AM endorsing organic development and the desire for intelligent life on planet earth. If not you, then who? Who?!

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