Feldenkraise Method is a system designed to promote bodily and mental efficiency and well-being by conscious analysis of neuromuscular activity via exercises which improve flexibility and coordination and increase ease and range of motion.
The Feldenkraise Method is not a treatment or cure. Rather, it is a type of supportive therapy that can help in any situation where improved movement patterns (and awareness of those patterns) can help with recovery from illness or injury. Practitioners consider it useful for many types of chronic pain, including headache, temporomandibular joint disorder, other joint disorders, and neck, shoulder and back pain. It is sometimes used as supportive therapy for people with neuromuscular disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and stroke. It is also helpful for improving balance, coordination and mobility; many athletes, dancers and other performers use the Feldenkraise Method as part of their overall conditioning.
Procedure of Treatment
The Feldenkraise Method has two components; you may use either or both of them, depending on your needs. One component, called functional integration, consists of hands-on sessions with a Feldenkraise practitioner, who uses touch to help you sense and improve your movement patterns. As you sit, stand or lie comfortably, the practitioner may gently manipulate your muscles and joints. Unlike some forms of body work, Feldenkraise manipulations are all within the usual range of motion, without pain or 'cracking' of joints. The second component is a type of training called awareness through movement, which focuses on slow, non-aerobic movement and specific motions from everyday life, such as sitting and standing. Practitioners consider the two components to be equivalent, complementary ways of achieving the same results. Loose, comfortable clothing is worn for both. Practitioners emphasize that the method does not involve traditional calisthenics.
Treatment Time: Functional integration sessions typically last about 45 minutes. Awareness Through Movement sessions run 45 minutes to an hour.
Treatment Frequency: Both Functional integration and awareness through movement are typically offered in a series of four to six sessions, meeting once a week.
The Feldenkraise Method aims to help you re-learn how to move your body, replacing old ways of movement with new, more efficient habits. It focuses on improving flexibility, coordination and range of motion. Feldenkraise practitioners do not make any extravagant claims that the method will cure a specific ailment. They do not say that it helps people become aware of how they move, and teaches them how to reduce stress on joints and muscles, and how to move more comfortably. Feldenkraise practitioners believe that people develop habits of movement as young children, and retain those patterns for life. If the movements are adequate for daily life, the patterns remain unnoticed, even if there are more efficient, comfortable ways to move. But if the patterns are not adequate, or if the body is stressed through illness, accident, or simply age, they argue that the body will become stiff or uncomfortable, or experience pain. For people trying to optimize their movements, such as athletes or dancers, the most efficient method of movement is of paramount concern. The method was developed by Russian-born Israeli Moshe Feldenkraise (rhymes with rise), a scientist who was himself recovering from an injury. A life-long athlete and martial artist, he began synthesizing his knowledge of anatomy, physics and psychology when his own doctors could not fully restore movement of his injured knee. The method first became popular in the U.S. during the 1970s. With its emphasis on the importance of making movement a conscious act, it is similar to other mind-body therapies, including the Alexander Technique.
Who Should Avoid This Therapy?
The Feldenkraise Method is generally considered safe for everyone as a supportive form of treatment.
There are no know side-effects of the Feldenkraise Method.