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Feldenkrais Method

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The Feldenkrais Method is a therapy intended to give a greater functional awareness of the self via movement as the vehicle for learning. People who want to improve their movement repertoire such as dancers, athletes, musicians, and artists utilize the Feldenkrais Method. Others use Feldenkrais Method to reduce their pain or limitations in movement, or use the method as a way to improve their well-being and personal development. Advocates claim the Feldenkrais Method often improves movement-related pain (e.g. pain in backs, knees, hips, shoulders), and leads to better functioning in cases of stroke or cerebral palsy. A central tenet of the Feldenkrais Method is that improving ability to move can improve one's overall well-being. Practitioners of the Feldenkrais Method generally refrain from diagnosis, or referring to the Feldenkrais Method as therapy that centers on mind-body development.

The Feldenkrais Method was developed by Dr Moshé Feldenkrais (1904-1984), an Israeli physicist and judo martial artist. Feldenkrais asserted his method of body mind exploration resulted in better functioning individuals and helped to develop healthier, emotionally mature people. Feldenkrais' approach was more experiential, using self-discovery rather than manipulation of the body by a practitioner.

Awareness Through Movement lessons are intended to do just what their name says. They improve awareness by using and improving the student's ability to move, and they do this by way of demonstration with the practitioner.

In a Functional Integration lesson, the practitioner uses his or her hands to guide the movement of the student, while the student lies on a padded table or floor. All of the movements are done in a range and at a speed that is comfortable for the student. This allows the student to feel safe, and gives the student the opportunity to observe the movement in detail. Through precise touch and movement, the student learns how to eliminate excess effort and strain and thus move more freely and easily. Lessons may be very specific in addressing particular issues brought by the student, or can be more global in scope.

Author: Christopher Holder, ND Candidate '07



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