The @anatbaniel method is bullshit (or is it?)!

A friend sent me a link to this. The jury’s out, though leaning toward this is a mix between yoga and The Secret.

Lots of stretching and moving. She doesn’t make any claims that are specifically, directly untrue, but I’m very skeptical in a sort of correlation-causation way. The whole bit on imagination and dreams grabbed my attention.

“Imagination is your brain figuring out how to do something before you actually have to perform. It’s safe and it is ingenious. Dreams call upon us from our future. They give us our unique life path to follow and guide our brains as to where to continue growing and developing.”

–Anat Baniel

That whole dreams-calling-from-the-future thing made me a little nervous. I’m sure she doesn’t literally mean that our dreams reside in the future and contact us in their past. I’m sure it’s a bit more metaphorical than that, but it still feels very Secret-y.

She features Dr. Michael Merzenich, who’s definitely a legit, peer-reviewed, award- and grant-winning scientist. And what he says makes sense of course, but there’s still that lingering “hmmm.”

I think the issue I see is that, like The Secret, there seems to be this assertion that if you dream it up, it’ll happen. That cut and dry. And obviously, this isn’t true. If it were, all that these kids featured would have to do is think about being able to move better, think better, or whatever. And that would be the end of it. But clearly, the brain is more complicated and nuanced than that.

Oh, and she cites no scientific studies of her method.

So that’s it. Not sure it’s literally horseshit, but not sure it isn’t.

6 Responses to “The @anatbaniel method is bullshit (or is it?)!”

  1. My wife and I have been using ABM on our son who has cerebral palsy. I acknowledge that there is no peer received research that supports it, it made it really hard to give it a try. After a year or so of using it I would say that while it is not a miracle cure or anything, it is noticeably more effective than traditional PT. Thats been my experience, YMMV.

    • Anton A. Hill Says:

      Hey Matt,

      Glad to hear it’s worked for you, though I find it interesting that you acknowledge the lack of peer-reviewed research supporting the method. What convinced you that it would work? How do you know that it does (as alleged and that it isn’t something else that’s working)?

      Best,

      Anton.

  2. Anat’ s method is basically Feldenkrais with a New Age wrapping, as far as I can see. She studied under Dr Feldenkrais but doesn’t necessarily give him credit these days. Feldenkrais is a very sophisticated and excellent methodology, designed by a scientist as it happens!

    • Anton A. Hill Says:

      Yeah, looks like Feldenkrais’ pretty much works. The “New Age” wrapping is what bothers me. I say call it what it is.

  3. I have been through Anat movement session (demonstration for professionals, parents, and caregivers) and can personally attest to a change in my brain processing after it. I caught myself reacting faster to a change in an expected driving routine, which I used to react to past fact. I also spoke with multiple parents (about 5) present at the session, who all claim significant benefits for their children of diverse ages and conditions from this intervention. Since then we have had additional experience with a practitioner trained in both Feldenkrais and Anat techniques with noticeable gains.
    As for peer-reviewed research, which peers in what disciplines would be qualified to review it? Scientific research typically involves a controlled experiment, designed to demonstrate a one-to-one correspondence between a specific observable outcome and a given input. This expectation is contrary to the method itself, which acknowledges that which we do not control and can observe only on a limited scale – individualized differences in brain structure and function. I did not study enough of either her or Feldenkrais method to compare their techniques with confidence. Feldenkrais, a physicist by training, likely got more inspiration for his method from his practice of judo than from physics. I do not expect to glimpse sufficient insight from promos and videos, or even reading materials, since I frankly got convinced only by hands-on.

    • Hi Natalya,

      How do you know that your perceived “change” in “brain processing” 1. actually occurred (not some sort of power-of-suggestion thing) and 2. did so as a result of the method? How did you determine that a claim of “significant benefits” means that such occurred?

      I’m unsure of which peers from which disciplines, but I’d start with neurologists since the claim is about neurology. While there are “individualized differences in brain structure and function,” all human brains share enough commonalities that they can be tested. As you suggest, a control group and a test group.

      Further, your point seems to be that since we can’t find a reasonable method by which to test the method… we shouldn’t?

      Finally, I’m curious: what convinced you?

      Thanks,

      Anton.

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