If you’ve never heard of the Feldenkrais Method, you’re not alone. Among all the techniques and therapies designed to improve the functioning of the human body, it’s definitely one of the lesser known. However, if you’re interested in natural therapies that make use of the body’s own logic to improve functioning and reduce pain, then this may well be the method for you. So let’s take a quick look at exactly what it is …
The Feldenkrais Method
Here are five facts that summarize the Feldenkrais Method:
- It was developed by Moshe Feldenkrais, a physicist, engineer, and judo master, during the 1950s. The Feldenkrais Method aims to train people to move their bodies in healthier ways through kinesthetic self-awareness and subtle adjustments to movements. The method is designed to reduce pain and discomfort associated with specific movements, to increase range of motion, and to promote overall physical well-being.
- One component of the Feldenkrais Method is “Functional Integration.” This involves a practitioner physically directing the joint and muscle movements of a patient, to facilitate the learning of healthier kinesthetic patterns. Functional Integration is achieved through touch but is considered less therapeutic than pedagogical.
- The main component of the Feldenkrais Method is “Awareness Through Movement.” This is a teaching situation where a practitioner leads several patients through a series of movements. The patients are instructed to perform the same simple movement slowly and repeatedly, while paying attention to the associated physical sensations. The practitioner may eventually instruct one or more patients to make a subtle adjustment and then become accustomed to the new kinesthetic sensations.
- The Feldenkrais Method has been used by patients with chronic pain, brain trauma, stroke, arthritis, and multiple sclerosis. It is sometimes considered as a type of “complementary medicine” or “integrative medicine.” However, the medical efficacy of the method has not been fully assessed, as too few studies have yet been completed.
- Practitioners (also referred to as teachers or instructors) acquire the qualification of Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner (CFP) by completing over 700 hours of training in the method. The Feldenkrais Method is now taught in 17 countries, including the United States.
The Feldenkrais Method has quite a low profile at the moment, but that may change as more studies are done and more health professionals learn about the method.