Feldenkrais

The Feldenkrais Method was developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, a Russian-born Israeli who earned degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering, and a D.Sc. in physics at the Sorbonne in Paris. He subsequently worked for a number of years in the French nuclear research program.  Physically active, Feldenkrais played soccer and, in 1936, became one of the first Europeans to earn a black belt in Judo. A chronic knee injury prompted Feldenkrais to apply his knowledge of physics, body mechanics, neurology, learning theory and psychology to the body and mind.  His investigations resulted in the formulation of a unique synthesis of science and aesthetics, known as the Feldenkrais Method.

The Feldenkrais Method is an approach for improving both physical and mental functioning through the exploration of body movement patterns and the use of attention.  It is based on the brain’s innate capacity for learning and the potential for lifelong development and growth.  Movement is used as the medium toward understanding habits and identifying, learning and acquiring alternatives that promote ease and well- being. The applications of the Feldenkrais Method range from reducing pain, improving neurologically-based difficulties and learning disabilities, and increasing mobility – to enhancing performance of professional athletes, dancers, musicians, and actors.  The Method’s two main modalities use movement as the means to promote changes in patterns of thinking, sensing, feeling, and interacting with others: Awareness Through Movement lessons are group sessions in which participants are verbally led through a series of structured movement sequences that utilize attention, perception, and imagination. As lessons progress, participants become more aware of their movement habits, affording new patterns of behavior. There are more than a thousand different lessons with movement ranging from developmentally based patterns to innovative configurations. The movements are usually done lying down or sitting, and in a manner that recognizes each participant’s own pace and range of motion. Comfort, ease, and the quality of movement are the main criteria used as one is developing more inner authority.  The other modality, Functional Integration, is a one-to-one, hands-on interaction specifically designed to meet the needs of an individual.  Through the use of noninvasive and interactive touch, practitioners guide students to a new and more varied use of themselves. Students usually lie or sit and are comfortably dressed.

Students of the Feldenkrais Method report results of increased vitality, enhancement of self-image, better breathing and posture, greater flexibility and range of motion, and reduction of pain. By bringing attention to the process of movement, students usually feel lighter and more graceful, and have greater ease and effectiveness in turning their intentions into actions.

 

 

Copyright 2007 Raquel Lazar-Paley