What is the Feldenkrais Method?
The Feldenkrais Method is based on our current understanding of the processes involved in learning movement skills. It is a systematic approach to improving human movement and general functioning. The Feldenkrais Method uses simple, gentle movement lessons to reorganize posture, flexibility, strength and coordination, and relieve pain.
Named after Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, an Israeli physicist and engineer, the method offers a novel approach to pain relief treatment and disability. Feldenkrais uses our nervous system's capacity for self-organizing and self-regulating to improve the quality of our actions, a process called neuroplasticity. Improving movement quality allows the body to function more efficiently. This efficiency creates environments for chronic pain and injuries to heal, and opportunities for athletes and others to excel.
Most Feldenkrais lessons are based on developmental movements and routine functional activities, e.g. reaching, bending, lying to sitting, and turning. Other lessons are based on more abstract explorations of joint, muscle, and postural relationships. There are thousands of lessons, varying in difficulty and complexity, for all levels of movement ability.
What happens in a Feldenkrais lesson?
The Feldenkrais work is done in two formats. Functional Integration is performed with the student fully clothed, usually lying on a table. It is a hands-on form of therapy using gentle movement and touch. In Functional Integration the practitioner develops a lesson tailored to your unique organization, and this lesson is based on the specific outcomes or needs you have.
Awareness Through Movement leads you verbally through an active movement process with the goal of learning to move more comfortably. Unlike other kinds of exercise or therapy, you explore at your own pace, according to your unique needs and abilities. The “lessons” are not exercises; the emphasis is on moving gently, slowly, easily and painlessly. You will learn to come up with effortless solutions to everyday movement problems.
What will my first Feldenkrais lesson visit be like?
Your first Feldenkrais lesson at the Center will last about 90 minutes. Bring or wear comfortable clothes. After reviewing your new patient information form, a complete history of your problem will be discussed. A functional examination will be done to assess your pain, and your body’s general level of organization for movement. Your particular pain and problem(s) will be the focus as we decide on the best course of action to permanently relieve your pain.
Your Feldenkrais pain relief session will last about 45 minutes. You will receive both hands-on work, as well as perform gentle movements yourself with my direct supervision. If you are motivated to rid yourself of pain quickly, I will provide homework. Your home Feldenkrais program will be easily explained and can be informal. If you prefer to move toward pain relief and ability even more quickly, guidelines in the form of audio lessons (USB flash drive) will also be given to you to continue your pain relief treatment progress formally at home.
How are Feldenkrais practitioners trained?
All Feldenkrais practitioners must complete 800 hours of training over a 4 year period. Trainees participate in Awareness Through Movement and Functional Integration lessons, lectures, discussions and group process. Trainees are taught how movement and function are learned and organized. Eventually students teach Awareness Through Movement and Functional Integration under supervision. After accreditation from the Feldenkrais Guild® of North America and the International Feldenkrais Federation, practitioners are prepared to work with the public.