Feldenkrais FAQs - The Feldenkrais Method Explained and Everyone Benefits
This article answers the following frequently asked questions about the Feldenkrais Method:
o What is the Feldenkrais Method?
o Who can benefit from the Feldenkrais Method?
o What happens in a Feldenkrais Method session?
o How does the Feldenkrais Method differ from massage, chiropractic, and osteopathy?
o How are Feldenkrais practitioners trained?
o Who was Moshe Feldenkrais?
What is the Feldenkrais Method?
The Feldenkrais Method is named after creator, Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, D.Sc. a Russian born physicist, engineer, martial artist, and educator.
A gentle systematic method to improve human movement and general functioning, The Feldenkrais Method uses simple movements to reorganize posture, flexibility, strength and coordination. More efficient use of self creates environments within which chronic pain and injuries can heal. Intelligent, effective actions feel good, and enhance the enjoyment of everyday activities.
Who Benefits from the Feldenkrais Method?
Anyone can benefit from the Feldenkrais Method. Feldenkrais is helpful if you are experiencing acute or chronic pain. It also helps healthy people who want to enhance their abilities. The Method has been used with people suffering from back pain, arthritis, sciatica, TMJ, fibromyalgia, whiplash, polio, stroke, and other disabling conditions. Athletes and other artists have experienced improved performance as well as a faster, more complete recovery from acute injuries. Seniors can enjoy a renewed ability to move without pain or strain.
Lessons in the Feldenkrais Method can help you enjoy an improved ease of movement, increased vitality, more complete relaxation, and a sense of being more centered and balanced. Seniors, golfers, runners and walkers, anyone wishing to feel more balanced and energized will love the Feldenkrais Method.
Celebrities having success stories include Norman Cousins, Margaret Mead, Helen Hayes and Whoopi Goldberg. Professional athletes have enjoyed the benefits of Feldenkrais, including basketball star Julius Erving. Famous musicians receiving the work include violinist Yehudi Menuhin, and cellist Yo Yo Ma. Even the former Prime Minister of Israel David Ben-Gurion loved his Feldenkrais lessons.
What happens in a Feldenkrais Method Session?
A lesson generally lasts from 30 to 45 minutes, and consists of comfortable, easy movements that gradually evolve into movements of greater range and complexity. Most lessons are based on developmental movements and ordinary functional activities (reaching, standing, lying to sitting, looking behind yourself). Other lessons are based on more abstract explorations of joint, muscle, and postural relationships. There are hundreds of lessons, varying in difficulty and complexity, for all levels of movement ability.
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 communication through gentle touching and movement. In Functional Integration the practitioner develops a lesson for you, tailored to your unique organization, and relating to a desire, intention or need you have.
In Awareness Through Movement (ATM), you are led verbally through an active, exploratory 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 and feeling better.
How Does the Feldenkrais Method Differ from Massage, Chiropractic, and Osteopathy?
The similarity is that all practices touch people. However, Feldenkrais practitioners are functionalists. In massage, the practitioner is working directly with the muscles and soft tissues; in chiropractic and osteopathy with the bones. These structural approaches seek to affect change through changes in structure (muscles and spine). The Feldenkrais Method works with your ability to attend to and coordinate movement (the nervous system). This is a functionalist approach in that you can improve your use of self despite any structural issues which may be present.
How are Feldenkrais Practitioners Trained?
All Feldenkrais practitioners must complete 740-800 hours of training over a 3 to 4 year period. Trainees participate in Awareness Through Movement and Functional Integration lessons, lectures, discussions, and group process. Trainees gradually acquire knowledge of how movement and function are learned and organized. Eventually students teach Awareness Through Movement and Functional Integration under supervision. And finally, after accreditation from the Feldenkrais Guild of North America and the International Feldenkrais Federation, students are prepared to work with the public.
Who was Moshe Feldenkrais?
Feldenkrais was born in the Ukraine in 1904. At the age of 14 he left home and traveled alone to Palestine, where he worked as a laborer and tutor in mathematics. He became active in gymnastics, soccer and jiu-jitsu. During his mid twenties he left for France and enrolled in school. He graduated from the l'Ecole des Travaux Publiques de Paris with a degree in Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, and went on to the Sorbonne in Paris to earn a Doctorate of Science in Physics. It was in Paris where Feldenkrais assisted 1935 Nobel Prize winner Joliot-Curie in early nuclear physics research.
Feldenkrais also met Jigaro Kano in Paris, the creator of modern Judo, and in 1936 Feldenkrais became one of the first Europeans to earn a Black Belt in Judo. After suffering several crippling knee injuries, Feldenkrais used his knowledge and deep curiosity about biology, child development, cybernetics, ethology, and psychology, and taught himself to walk again. In the process, Feldenkrais developed a systematic method for accessing the power of the nervous system and improve human functioning. Feldenkrais returned to Israel in 1949 where he continued to integrate and refine his ideas into what is now known as the Feldenkrais Method.