Marcy Lindheimer, a Senior Trainer in the Anat Baniel Method (ABM), specializes in working with children with special needs. She co-teaches all the ABM training programs with Anat at the Anat Baniel Method Center in San Rafael, California. Previously a college professor and voice teacher on the faculty of several colleges and music conservatories in New York, her practice is now devoted to children who have cerebral palsy, brachial plexus injury, torticollis, scoliosis, genetic disorders such as fragile X syndrome, spinal muscular dystrophy, cerebellar hypoplasia, Angelman's Syndrome, Down's Syndrome and various other neurological difficulties. Marcy is also a Guild-Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner and Assistant Trainer.
"Sergio, our older son, was always early in his gross motor skills development. Before 11 months he was perfectly walking and by the time he turned 1 he ran all around. We were sure thrilled when he met all these milestones, but there were many other 'minor' accomplishments that we just took for granted. I never noticed when was he able to bring himself to sitting or when he started to side-sit. I didn't even know that was such a major accomplishment until little Lucia came to this world and we met Marcy.
Lucia had a major in utero stroke that affected the territory of the left middle cerebral artery of her brain and thus caused her right hemiplegia cerebral palsy.
We were devastated and as any other parent were desperate to search for more certainties about her future. Was she going to talk, walk, run, jump, play with her brother? We live in Ecuador and medical resources (exams especially) are still very limited so we didn't think twice about bringing her to the US for a second opinion. We were blessed to end up meeting a wonderful neurologist at Yale, who through her experience tried to transmit us some degree of peace and positiveness about Lucia's future. She gave us the plan of action for our new life: therapy therapy therapy. She should start with Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy and in the near future we were to evaluate Swallow therapy and Speech Therapy. Aqua Therapy was also mentioned.
Neurologists, psychiatrists, developmental pediatricians, orthopedists and therapists all agreed that the degree of cognitive and physical damage is completely unpredictable. We were given the 'most likely' answer for all of our questions regarding her future and to trust that the power of brain plasticity in little people will do its magic over Lucia's brain. She will most likely walk, most likely talk, most likely will not have major cognitive problems. As of now we know for sure that the movement of her right side of her body is affected, hand and foot.
We went back home and started physical therapy, swallow therapy and sensory integration therapy. Despite having seen all the doctors and therapists that I could possibly think off, the search for answers continued. I think now it is just a new state of mind. In this search, a friend was kind enough to share her wonderful experience with her daughter and the ABM method. We contacted Marcy and decided to take Lucia to NYC for an intensive therapy plan of 14 days, two sessions per day!!
Lucia was working very hard in all her daily therapy sessions in Ecuador. Most of the days she had two sessions per day. She was sitting unassisted with very good balance since she was 6 months old, but that was pretty much all that she was able to do. I would put her into sitting and she would play in that position without moving one inch. Despite all the therapy she was having, she wasn't improving much. It was truly heartbreaking to see her cry through her lessons as they tried to make her roll over to one side and roll over to the other side, like a puppet pushed side to side. They told us that with repetition the brain will learn to do the stuff we wanted. So we spent our days rolling over and bearing weight and opening her hand and stretching her tiny muscles to prevent contractures, but very sadly, we saw very few improvements.
Unfortunately, again things were not as planned. Lucia has came to teach us that planning is just temporary, and that there is no better plan than the adjustable plan!! Lucia developed a severe form of epilepsy called infantile spasms and without thinking twice we were back at Yale treating her for this terrible seizure disorder with a very strong medicine. We were again devastated. The medicine side effects could be very harsh on Lucia and she was most likely not able to tolerate therapy because of the irritability it causes babies. We canceled her scheduled therapy sessions with Marcy and were back again in a dark blurry spot with very little hope.
Lucia reacted very well to the medicine, her seizures stopped and her degree of irritability was perfectly manageable by mama and papa and grandmas playing and holding her throughout the day. We emailed Marcy and asked her to have us back!! The neurologist gave us permission to go to NYC as it was within a reasonable distance from New Haven and we could bring her back if something major happened.
Meeting Marcy in the middle of this nightmare was a relief for Lucia and me, and for all our family. Everything was unexpected since we first met her. For the first time, we were told it was important to make Lucia feel comfortable with the therapist's presence, instead of throwing her into a strangers hands to invasively make her body move. Lucia and I moved gradually towards Marcy, exploring some wonderful old school toys and these new hands that were going to work with her.
Lucia was not easy to work with as she was very resistant to being put on a laying down position, either on her back or on her tummy, but Marcy was able to find her way through. For the first time I felt that they were working with a little person called Lucia with a brain, a heart, a personality, not only a diagnosis of CP and spasticity. For the first time we were not invading her body and her soul, but with her permission Marcy was helping her discover that movement was possible. Lucia was pampered during therapy! If Lucia was having a bad day, Marcy was so wonderful and would even allow Lucia to nurse while she worked on her. One by one our family members came with me to her place to meet this wonderful woman who was finally helping Lucia to understand that she can move! And was doing so in such a loving way!
She slept a lot in between lessons as she was processing all that she was so magically learning. The first 10 days of lessons passed by very fast and we saw major changes in Lucia. She was no longer feeling frustrated for her lack of movement and thus stopped biting a lot! She was also less resistant to being put in a laying down position, as she was discovering that she could move out of it!!
We finished the first wonderful days of lessons and went to a hotel in the beach to rest a little from NYC. Things with her epilepsy were not as controlled as we wished and we were told that we had to stay in the US for at least one month more. After four or five days of the therapy break, Lucia's aunt and cousin began yelling with happiness as she finally was able to roll over and sit up by herself!!!!!! With a lot of effort her brain finally connected the dots and was able to figure it out!
We didn't think twice and emailed Marcy to schedule a second set of intensive lessons. We counted the days to see her again. This second time, Lucia felt as if she was at home. She was very lovable and affectionate to Marcy and they both worked wonderfully. This time they were exploring more of that movement feeling and were trying to incorporate her right arm into the picture. Again we were thrilled with the results. Lucia was understanding that she could move her legs!! She was side sitting to both sides, even to her affected side. This position was allowing her to feel that she could move. The constraint we were doing to her arm was gentle and was slowly working also. She was understanding that her right arm could also randomly move and actually could help her with movement.
Again the days of lessons flew by and Lucia kept improving. It was very sad to say goodby to Marcy but we were very happy to be able to go back home soon. We agreed to see her again in December. After the third day of break again Lucia's brain did the connection!!! She moved her legs and suddenly began scooting on her bottom!! We found her in the hotel bathroom messing with the toilet paper. It was the best mess I have ever seen!! And the most rewarding moment of my life. Lucia was able to move, and she and Marcy achieved it so without pain, without frustration. They both did it with a lot of love and fun. This wonderful lady who loved her and sang her happy birthday and make her feel at home changed our lives. "
- Fernanda, Ecuador, October 2014
"We are so deeply thankful that Marcy Lindheimer became part of our son's life seven years ago. We have been seeing Marcy since our son was three. We refer to her as the Miracle Worker. The changes that she can produce in our son in only one session are hard to believe and yet it happens everytime we see her. After our sessions with Marcy, our son moves with so much ease, fluidity, speed and confidence. This ease of moving and heightened balance also allows for freer speech and deeper thinking where he does not have to work so hard to stay upright.
When we first saw Marcy our son was not walking independently and we were not sure what to expect. Through Marcy and the ABM lessons, our son came to embrace movement rather than fear it and we as parents learned that there were no limits to learning. Today, while not at level with his peers, he loves gym class and will tackle any activity from gymnastics to soccer and even loves skiing.
Marcy, through her work, has also taught our son to be self-aware and attentive. These are lifelong skills that contribute each day to his approach to learning.
We are so grateful for Marcy, our Miracle Worker, for not only contributing to our son's development as a whole person but to her years of wise guidance and incredible dedication to our family. We would not be where we are today without her."
- Sally, mother of Kayden. September, 2014
"We first found ABM therapy about one year ago and immediately saw the encouraging differences in our daughter Vivienne with practitioners in Phoenix, Denver and San Diego. Vivi made it clear to us ALL to discontinue traditional PT. The more we got to know ABM, friends and ABM practitioners encouraged us to go "see Marcy." What an understatement! Marcy has and is such a gift! There was quick chemistry in the room between them. Marcy's work has helped Vivi to become more vocal, more precise in her movement and a calm comfort within her own body. It immediately showed in Vivi's quick response to the intense detailed focus of Marcy's work. Back at home she has been more fluid and so engaging. Vivi loved all the action of the city too! We are already planning our spring visit back to NY for more lessons. Thank you so much!"
- The Kratzer Family, Colorado. November, 2013
"We have a 10 month old baby girl with cleft palate and a severe vomiting problem since birth. It was very tough to feed her. Her development was severely behind, possibly due to her vomiting and cleft palate. When she was six months old, the doctors said it was unacceptable for her not to be able to sit, turn, hold her head up when on her tummy, not to be able to grab things, have lack of eye contact, not to be communicating, etc... We were planning to have her cleft palate surgery in NY anyway and we decided to have her examined when we were in NY. In April we came to NYC and had those examinations. Her diagnosis was normal apart from having a “very mild injuncture in her white tissue in the brain”. The neurologist said this may or may not have caused her to be approximately 50% behind her age. Just 5 days before we returned back home, we decided to try the Anat Baniel Method (ABM) which Marcy Lindheimer was highly recommended for. That's how we met Marcy. We were amazed with the outcome after even only one session. Right then our baby could hold her head straight when she was on her tummy. We could obviously tell that she was even enjoying her time with Marcy. We took pictures of her during the sessions and emailed them to our family at home. Everybody was surprised with joy. After 10 sessions in 5 days with Marcy, we came back home with much progress. Now, thanks to ABM, I am enjoying my baby girl. She became a happy baby, smiling, communicating, holding her toys, controlling her head very well, and now she can catch her feet and rolls. The improvements are great. I have to say that after experiencing what ABM can do, we are touched with the outcome of this method. We will be back to have more ABM sessions with Marcy. I had hated physical therapy because our baby was not happy with it at all. The Anat Baniel Method proved to me that I was right with my feelings about physical therapy. I feel grateful to Marcy, especially for giving her full-heart when she is implementing the method."
- Eda Okay, Istanbul
"I absolutely LOVED Marcy! She is one of Anats right hand people and she actually helps Anat with training new practitioners. Our son laughed and played the whole time with her. It was so different compared to when he received typical PT and he was doing so much more after 2 lessons with Marcy compared to a year of PT! We purchased the Children's with Special Needs DVD set before attending the Practicum in San Rafael and receiving lessons from Marcy and our son was already begging to stand flat footed, lay on his tummy with reciprocal leg movement and his spasticity and high tone in his legs was reduced! After the lessons he was side sitting, standing flat footed, trying to stand on his own and he now (with my continued work with him and I am not a practitioner) is cruising, standing out of his chair with no help and he had just begun transitioning from chair to wall to play with the light switch. Every child is different in their progress and results but I have yet to hear if a child this did not help. I give our testimony all the time to whomever will listen!! It's just amazing!"
"Marcy, thank you for everything you have done for my family and Carter. Seeing your work is incredible. You truly have a gift. I really can't describe how fortunate we are to have the opportunity to have you work with Carter. I have thought about this a lot. I truly believe that you and Anat have the ability to change the future for millions of children forever. I can't reiterate enough how fortunate we are. It is one of my personal goals to help you and Anat in any way possible to share your work. I can see the possibilities of what you do helping endless children. We look forward to visiting you in NYC."
"I cannot tell you how much my family loved the lessons you gave Cypress. He is so much more... everything! He is saying complete sentences, walking on his knees, climbing on things he couldn't, counting to 10, and generally seems more mature. Such HUGE changes! Even Cypress' babysitter is amazed at how much he's changed since last week."
- Amy Buzick
"Chloe's 3 years old with Prader-Willi Syndrome. She's been getting ABM from local practitioners since she was 6 months old (rolled over within 3 days after her first ABM lesson). But in regards to Marcy's recent lessons with her; she's been pulling up into standing for awhile but primarily using her arms. She's never been able to get to squat on her own before, but after her lessons with you in Chicago I watched her get into squatting from "bear walking" for the first time. It was truly beautiful and effortless for her. I know that Chloe's brain has learned many new things and it is that same brain that will continue to learn. I just have to patient, trust the process and enjoy the journey."
"Charlie is doing so well, I am just so thankful that we got to see you as much as we did. He is moving like crazy and is just so happy. It is wonderful. He stretching his arms above his head, he does it and starts to laugh! He also is going into side sitting much more now when he reaches for toys, it is amazing and wonderful. AND it is all because of YOU!"
"As soon as you put those hands on Nathan, you literally began to bring his body to life. That sweet little body and nervous system was just not quite free to do what it needed to do; as soon as you began to upload your invaluable input into his brain, it was amazing to watch him take off and start to roll and twist and luxuriate in his newly discovered spine. It’s a riot and a thrill to see him in his crib now…in the past, when we would put him down for a nap, he’d lie there quietly and be asleep in no time. Now, she puts him down and what you see over the top of his crib is arms and legs flying about, burp clothes flying, stuffed animals emerging and disappearing, outstretched arms reaching to activate his mobile. Nothing but joyous and liberating movement, and when he sleeps…he REALLY sleeps. The night after his second lesson, he went down at 8:00PM and didn’t wake up till 9:00 the following morning. All yummy stuff. Best of all, he is a happier baby…it was so apparent how much he loved every minute of those three remarkable lessons. His grandfather has already put in his order for lessons from you for all of his grandchildren."
"Daniya was diagnosed at five months with a rare seizure disorder called Infantile spasms. The seizures left Daniya with developmental delays in her speech and overall cognitive abilities. At first we tried the EI system of PT, OT, and speech. As time past I realized valuable time was being wasted. Then when Daniya turned 18 months, a friend told us about The Anat Baniel Method based on the work of Moshe Feldenkrais. We gave it a try and my husband and I instantly saw changes in Daniya.
We were encouraged to see Marcy Lindheimer because we were told she was very good with speech. Daniya had nine lessons with Marcy this summer and we were thrilled with the changes in our little girl. She started self feeding, which was so huge because we worked on it for so long without much success. The changes in her speech were very exciting. She started to make different sounds and babble more. By the end of the nine sessions, Daniya had a more of a spark in her eye. She showed fear for the first time, and stranger anxiety, she was becoming more aware of her world.
Daniya loved her lessons, and she would show affection to Marcy by snuggling up close to her. She would really pay attention to what Marcy was doing to her body. Our experience with Marcy was amazing."
"I just wanted to update you on what we have seen since your lessons with Jack. Jack has been talking up a storm. He has been adding several new words every day and having an easier time imitating verbal models. He also has been more responsive, answering almost every question that is asked of him. This past weekend he tried a new food and ate it as well as tolerated an outdoor shower when previously that type of water pressure had not been tolerable."
"Thank you for giving us a glimpse into our daughter’s true potential. Anahita is 6 years old and we have tried every imaginable therapy for our beautiful autistic, developmentally delayed child. No other standard or alternative treatment has worked so simply and quickly as the transformation that took place in the week she worked with you. In the few days you touched her life, you gave us a hint of the magic that you have performed with countless other children. Conventional wisdom gives our daughter a bleak future. As parents, we’re ecstatic that you have refuted the predictions of our physician colleagues. You have given us hope for the first time. Thank you."
- Shahrzad Sheibani, MD
- Yujen Wang, MD
"I wanted to share this with you both...today Annabelle said "I love you" two times to her Daddy. She has never said this before. What a wonderful gift for Christmas. We are eternally grateful for your effort, love and support and GIFTED hands... (She also has been repeating words and phrases that are new to her for the past 24 hours...amazing!)"
"My daughter, who is now a toddler, has been seeing Marcy since soon after she was diagnosed with a neurological condition that results in low muscle tone and global gross motor delays. Marcy and her implementation of the Anat Baniel Method has made such a difference in the progress for my child. I see a marked improvement in some way every time we have a session, and especially when we have intensive and/or consecutive sessions. Marcy has helped increase my child's awareness of her body, movements and positioning, and has helped to facilitate fluidity of transitioning between positions. My child has benefitted from the Method's belief in fostering progress at the stage at which a child is neurologically ready without forcing positioning that a child may not be developmentally ready for, but instead promoting growth to the next stage and milestone when indicative and appropriate. I am an advocate of the spirit behind this approach, and have seen the positive effects on my child. For any parent who is searching to find alternatives to what might be considered conventional therapy, and is instead looking for that which is forward-thinking and applies principles of human physical potentials and the stages through which a child should progress, Marcy's practice of the Anat Baniel method is an answer to that quest. Marcy is a guardian angel for special needs children like my child."
"We are so excited to see you tomorrow! I can't tell you how much of a difference I see in him, it makes me sooooooo happy. I am not good at expressing it to you but I am beyond thrilled. Every doctor can see a difference and it just gives me hope that he will one day be able to walk and run...which means the world to me.
I was so depressed before meeting you. I thought he was never going to get better and that my poor Carl would never have a normal life..BUT not anymore, thank you so much."
"My son learned more in 4 days of lessons with Marcy than a year of therapy."
"Marcy, you wouldn't believe me if I told you how he is speaking since you saw him. He's speaking in three and four sentence paragraphs. It is simply thrilling for all of us, especially Evan. He is the happiest I've ever seen him. He said, "Evan wants mommy to take him to the Thomas store today to get some candy." And later, "When I grow up, I'm going to Thomas college." This totally cracked us up."
"We want to thank you for the lessons that you have given Eli. I birthed Eli into this world and you helped birth him into his body. Before his lessons, Eli was frozen energetically and showed only little curiosity to the world around him. This was most evident in his fisted hands and pulled-in bent-elbowed arms. During the two weeks he spent with you, he became more and more open physically enabling him to explore with his hands and reaching with his arms. I appreciate the rapport you created with Eli. He trusts you and communicates with you. Many times I knew that you and Eli were having your own conversation without words. Your attention and ability to be so present with him created a safe environment to allow his learning to bloom. You have a talent and a gift with bringing the Anat Baniel Method to Children. It was amazing to watch my child develop in your hands and bring joy and ease to his energy. His pediatrician noticed an immediate change in Eli and has since referred many of her patients to the Anat Baniel Method."
- Tasha, mother of Eli
"As a result of the treatment that Eli [my patient] has received through the Anat Baniel Method [with Marcy Lindheimer], he is able to crawl with freedom in his spine and hips. His spine is now straight and in healthy alignment. His stomach and gut are no longer bloated and distorted and he is able to gain access to those muscles. He is progressing beautifully towards sitting up and walking unassisted. He has never regressed in his gross motor skills."
- Lindy Woodard, pediatrician
"Everytime I look at my daughter, I see the miracle you performed with your hands."
- Hannah, mother of child with brachial plexus
"Sebastian is doing great. It's amazing how much progress we see after our
sessions with you."
- John, father of child with Angelman's syndrome