What is Feldenkrais? What are the benefits? How is it taught? What is Awareness Through Movement® and Functional Integration®? Get answers here.
WHAT IS FELDENKRAIS®?
The Feldenkrais Method is a remarkable approach to movement, learning and change. Based on the sound principles of physics, neurology, physiology and the martial arts, the Method improves posture, flexibility, and coordination by addressing the nervous system directly. The Feldenkrais Method helps those with restricted movement, chronic pain, tension and other common problems, as well as neurological and developmental difficulties. Continue reading…
WHO DEVELOPED THE FELDENKRAIS METHOD?
The Feldenkrais Method was originated by Moshe Feldenkrais, D.Sc., a pioneer in movement science and the innovator of therapeutic and educational approaches. Feldenkrais was born in Russia in 1904 and emigrated to Palestine at the age of 14. As a young man he was an excellent athlete, and through the influence of a British officer, learned jujitsu. He was both a very physical young man and an excellent student with a creative mind. Even at a young age he was interested in the inner development of the human being. He was influenced by Coue’s work in autosuggestion and early writings on both the unconscious mind and the self-image. Continue reading…
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM THE FELDENKRAIS METHOD?
Anyone — young or old, physically challenged or physically fit — can benefit from the Method. Feldenkrais lessons are beneficial for those experiencing chronic or acute pain of the back, neck, shoulders, hips, legs or knees, as well as those healthy individuals who wish to enhance their health and well-being. The Method has been very helpful in dealing with central nervous system conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and stroke. Musicians, actors and artists can extend their abilities and enhance creativity. Many seniors enjoy using it to retain or regain their ability to move without strain or discomfort.
Through lessons in this Method you can enjoy greater ease of movement, an increased sense of vitality, and feelings of peaceful relaxation. After a session you often feel taller and lighter, breathe more freely, and find that your discomforts have eased. You experience relaxation and feel more centered and balanced.
WHAT IS AWARENESS THROUGH MOVEMENT®?
Awareness Through Movement lessons are a series of verbally guided, gentle, slow and organized movements typically done on the floor. Lessons may also be done sitting or standing. These lessons guide your awareness toward sensing your own movement habits, exploring new ways of moving, and integrating more choice into your movement patterns. Nearly all the lessons in our books, audio programs and DVDs are Awareness Through Movement lessons.
WHAT ARE THE GUIDELINES FOR DOING AWARENESS THROUGH MOVEMENT?
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
- Do the lessons on a reasonably firm surface on the floor with a blanket or mat.
- Do the movements slowly and gently. Slow, gentle movements allow you to sense more precisely how you are doing the movement.
- Stay within your range of comfortable movement (don’t go for the “stretch”).
- Sense your skeleton and your skeletal contact as you do the lesson.
- Do as many movements as is comfortable for you — that may be two or it may be twenty — and then rest.
- Rest as often as you want or need to. Resting helps to refresh your attention and to integrate what you have been learning. If you find your attention wandering, or if the movement becomes messy or confused, stop and rest.
- If you feel pain during a movement, stop and rest. When you return to the movement, make it slower and smaller. Generally you can make the movement small enough that you don’t activate the pain response. If you still feel pain, use your imagination. You can do the movement in your imagination comfortably and easily, without pain.
- Give yourself some time to integrate the lesson afterwards. This is usually several hours after the lesson. Refrain from extreme effort or highly compelling activities. Dr. Feldenkrais in his book Awareness Through Movement recommends doing the lessons in the evening before bed.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I DO THE LESSONS?
Do the lessons as often you want. There are no set rules about how often to do them. It’s not like an exercise routine where you have to do so much in a certain amount of time. You may want to do one a day or one a week. Let your sensations and curiosity guide you.
WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF HOW THE FELDENKRAIS METHOD CAN HELP WITH DIFFERENT ISSUES?*
- A 42-year old computer programmer with incipient wrist problems is able to increase his speed on the keyboard after learning how to use his arms and hands more efficiently.
- A 28-year old woman goes through her third pregnancy — the first one without back pain.
- A 55-year old woman is able to lift her affectionate 2 year old granddaughter without straining her back.
- A 40-year old cellist becomes so creative in developing new, less strained positions to play in that she is able to extend her musical repertoire.
- A 9-year old with learning disabilities can read a full page competently and gains self-confidence in his intelligence.
- A 19-year old diver is able to visualize and perform the complex series of movements needed to accomplish an intricate maneuver more proficiently.
- A 78-year old man walks a mile daily, free of chronic knee pain he’s had for 30 years.
- A 32-year old man learns to reuse his hands after a crippling auto accident.
WHAT IS FUNCTIONAL INTEGRATION®?
Functional Integration lessons are a one-to-one approach tailored to the client’s unique needs and organization. Through skilled manipulation, the client is slowly and gently moved in ways that deeply influence their organization at a neurological level. Through these lessons, overall functioning and sense of well-being improve and problems diminish or resolve.
HOW ARE PRACTITIONERS TRAINED ?
The Feldenkrais Method is taught only by Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitionerscm who complete four years of training and are certified by the North American Feldenkrais Guild® and the International Feldenkrais Federation. Feldenkrais Practitioners are required to renew their certification and must meet certification requirements of continued study through advanced training. When finding a Feldenkrais Practitioner, make sure they are Guild Certified.
HOW CAN I FIND A FELDENKRAIS PRACTITIONER?
To find a practitioner in your area, visit the website of the Feldenkrais Guild of North America. www.feldenkrais.com