I have long been intrigued by this subtle form of retraining the nervous system, which I currently recommend to patients whose movement has been restricted by injury, cerebral palsy, stroke, fibromyalgia, or chronic pain. (I find it to be much more useful than standard physical therapy)
The Feldenkrais Method® is named after the Russian scientist Moshe Feldenkrais, D. Sc. (1904-1984). Feldenkrais applied his knowledge of physics, engineering, kinesiology and martial arts to a curiosity about how babies move and learn. After experiencing a debilitating knee injury, he began exploring these relationships eventually devising a method to teach himself how to walk again. Later, he started teaching the method internationally and brought it to the U.S. in the 1970’s.
In Groups: Awareness Through Movement® Classes
The Feldenkrais Practitioner® verbally proposes to a group of students (lying or sitting) to explore sequenced series of easy, slow, gentle, micro movements. Each student can perform the proposed movements physically or in their imagination. During the exploration of guided movements, each student attends to the process of the movement by bringing his/her awareness to their own motor sensory feedbacks
One-on-one: Functional Integration®
With Functional Integration®, the Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner® creates a custom tailored lesson for the specific needs of a person. The practitioner communicates verbally or non-verbally by gently sensing, touching and moving the person through specific skilled manipulation and passive movements on a table.
As we age, it becomes more important than ever to use our bodies more efficiently and intelligently. The Feldenkrais Method®, a somatic educational method teaches each how to move in our daily life in an easier and more efficient way.
First, this movement based method, whether explored in group or one-on-one, teaches people to experientially learn how to move their body out of pain or alleviate physical discomfort.
Second, the Feldenkrais Method® teaches people, through kinesthetic awareness, to unlock the still available but often forgotten whole movement patterns within each that can either improve balance issues or optimize postural alignment.
Third, people use the Feldenkrais Method®, to improve an athletic skill such as golf, for example.
Unlike physical therapy, the Feldenkrais Method® doesn’t focus on symptoms directly. Instead, this movement based approach works on evoking and improving the underlying body’s neuromuscular and skeletal organization of each to create more efficient and intelligent movement.
A typical Feldenkrais Method® session will include the following:
1 Explores slow, gentle, non habitual sensory motor exercises
2 Relies on kinesthetic imagination
3 Uses directed focused attention
4 Invites each to learn to sense, their whole self
5 Is process oriented and not goal oriented
6 Explores non habitual breathing patterns
7 Engages the brain and taps into the knowledge of the recent emerging field of neuroplasticity to better create new neural connections