Body Awareness as Healing Therapy: The Case of Nora is Moshe Feldenkrais’ classic study of his work with Nora, a woman who has suffered a severe stroke and lost her neuromuscular coordination, including the ability to read and write. Feldenkrais uses rational and intuitive approaches to help his student relearn basic motor skills. One can observe here the groundwork of Feldenkrais’ extraordinary insights which became known as the Feldenkrais Method. We follow his detailed descriptions of the trial and error process which led him to see the ingredients that were needed to help Nora reshape her attention, perception, imagination, and cognition.
…an important literary and scientific achievement that reveals Feldenkrais’ bold and original insights about learning and the brain. Nora’s story is an inspiring account of the nervous system’s ability to heal from trauma and the remarkable human capacity to learn.
Feldenkrais Trainer, co-author of Relaxercise
Table of Contents
- Foreword to the Second Edition by Walter Witryol, M.D.
- Preface to the Second Edition by Elizabeth Beringer and David Zemach-Bersin
- Who Is Nora?
- A Way Out of the Maze
- Mistakes: Part of Learning
- Improving vs. Curing
- Talking without Words
- Sensing to Understand
- The Essence
- Questions–and avoiding answering them fully
Moshe Feldenkrais deals with man as a totality: physically, mentally, and psychologically, and concentrates on self-image, which is often hazy or distorted. Through his exercises, one learns how to reduce force and increase sensitivity.
Preface to the Second Edition
Originally published in 1977, Body Awareness As Healing Therapy: The Case of Nora is widely recognized as a classic in the field of somatic education and therapy. It is the dramatic story of a woman recovering from a cerebral hemorrhage which had left her with enormous physical and and psychological problems. Moshe Feldenkrais leads us step by step through the extraordinary process of her recovery as she gradually relearns many of her lost abilities.
The account is an example of the approach to improving human functioning through movement which has come to be called the Feldenkrais Method®. Although Feldenkrais wrote many books and articles, this is his only written account of a clinical case study. He had planned for this to be the first in a series of case studies entitled “Adventures in the Jungle of the Brain.” Unfortunately, his extensive teaching schedule prevented him from completing the second book in the series before his death in 1984.
Body Awareness As Healing Therapy: The Case of Nora is written in the anecdotal style of the two great clinical neurologists, A.R. Luria and Oliver Sacks, in which subtle details of the patient’s life are included, bringing unusual depth and dimensionality to a clinical study. Feldenkrais admired the writings of both Luria and Sacks, feeling their approach to the case study was more congruent with the philosophy of his work than the more academic style in which the patient is seen as a representative of a category of pathology or disease.
One of the most fascinating elements of this book is the extent to which Feldenkrais recounts his own thinking as his work with Nora progresses. He is simultaneously detective, teacher, and therapist, and brings us so intimately into his thought process that we find ourselves asking, “What will the next step for Nora be?” We are led down the pathways of both Feldenkrais’ brilliant successes and his dead ends, giving us a unique glimpse into the questions he asks himself and the distinctions he makes as he works with Nora.
Before he died, Moshe Feldenkrais trained a small number of practitioners in his approach. Since then, the Feldenkrais Method has continued to spread and garner worldwide recognition. Today, there are nearly two thousand practitioners located throughout North and South American, Europe, the Middle East and Australia.
Elizabeth Beringer and David Zemach-Bersin
From Body Awareness as Healing Therapy: The Case of Nora by Moshe Feldenkrais, published by Frog Books/North Atlantic Books, copyright © 1977 by Moshe Feldenkrais, Copyright © 1993 by Malka Silice. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
I’m always happy to see that Moshe’s book, The Case of Nora, is still being read. But I am unhappy that it never got renewed in his original title. Even the original publisher never got past the first edition with his original title. Moshe really did not like or would want to consider his Method with the words healing or therapy and now they appear on the cover of his book. The original title was Adventures in the Jungle of the Brain – The Case of Nora. It really is his best book as it was written in ‘one go’ in a matter of 3 weeks in Switzerland. All of his other later books were written over periods of starts and stops.
…a rare gem. This book has inspired my students and me for over a decade with its intimate revelations detailing how Feldenkrais went about solving the problems of his case. It is of interest to medical practitioners who work directly with the body, as well as educators and psychotherapists.
Don Hanlon Johnson
author of Body, Spirit and Democracy