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Feldenkrais Method

 

Feldenkrais Method

Feldenkrais illustrating the function of the human skeleton in sitting.

The Feldenkrais Method, often referred to simply as "Feldenkrais", is a somatic educational system[1] designed by Moshé Feldenkrais (1904–1984). Feldenkrais aims to reduce pain or limitations in movement, to improve physical function, and to promote general wellbeing by increasing students' awareness of themselves and by expanding students' movement repertoire.[2]

Contents

  • Approach 1
  • Scientific studies 2
  • Certification by Feldenkrais Guild 3
  • References 4
  • Sources 5

Approach

Feldenkrais taught that increasing a person's kinesthetic and proprioceptive self-awareness of functional movement could lead to increased function, reduced pain, and greater ease and pleasure of movement.[2] The Feldenkrais Method is therefore a movement pedagogy, similar to the Alexander Technique in being educational and not a form of manipulative therapy. The Method is experiential, providing tools for self-observation through movement enquiry.

Moshé Feldenkrais (pictured bottom) practising Judo, one of the major influences on his work.

The practitioner directs attention to habitual movement patterns which are inefficient or strained, and teaches new patterns using gentle, slow, repeated movements.[1] Slow repetition is believed to be necessary to impart a new habit and allow it to begin to feel normal.[3] These movements may be passive (performed by the practitioner on the recipient's body) or active (performed by the recipient). The recipient is fully clothed.[1]

Feldenkrais is used to improve movement patterns rather than to treat specific injuries or illnesses. This holistic focus means that the primary intention is not to treat injuries. However, it can be used as a type of integrative medicine because correcting habitual movement patterns can help heal injury, pain, and physical dysfunction.[4]

Feldenkrais demonstrating Functional Integration
Students at the San Francisco Feldenkrais Practitioner Training doing an Awareness Through Movement lesson (1975)
Moshé Feldenkrais being interviewed with Margaret Mead and Karl Pribram at the San Francisco Feldenkrais Practitioner Training Program (1977)

Scientific studies

In 2005 a systematic review of randomized controlled trials found six published trials of the Feldenkrais Method, which addressed varied populations and interventions. Of the six trials, five reported positive benefits, and one reported no change. Indications were for multiple sclerosis, and neck, shoulder, and back complaints. The review concluded that the emerging evidence at that time was "encouraging" but "by no means compelling," due to study design flaws.[5]

Certification by Feldenkrais Guild

To obtain the qualification of Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner (CFP), Feldenkrais teachers complete 800 hours of training over a 4-year period.[2] Professional standards are set internationally by the International Feldenkrais Federation. Feldenkrais practitioners are certified by a regional Feldenkrais Guild in one of seventeen countries,[6] and each guild maintains lists of practitioners.

References

  1. ^ a b c Levine, Andrew (1998). The Bodywork and Massage Sourcebook.  
  2. ^ a b c Claire, Thomas (1995). Bodywork: What Type of Massage to Get and How to Make the Most of It.  
  3. ^ Knaster, Mirka (1996). Discovering the Body's Wisdom: A Comprehensive Guide to More Than Fifty Mind-Body Practices.  
  4. ^ Herman, Carla J.; Allen, Peg; Hunt, William C.; Prasad, Arti; Brady, Teresa J. (2004). "Use of Complementary Therapies Among Primary Care Clinic Patients With Arthritis". Preventing Chronic Disease 1 (4): A12.  
  5. ^ Ernst, E.; Canter, P. H. (2005). "The Feldenkrais Method - A Systematic Review of Randomised Clinical Trials". Physikalische Medizin, Rehabilitationsmedizin, Kurortmedizin 15 (3): 151–6.  
  6. ^ International Feldenkrais Federation list of guilds

Sources

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  • Beringer, Elizabeth (2010). Embodied Wisdom: The Collected Papers of Moshé Feldenkrais. Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books U.S.  
  • Rywerant, Yochanan (2002). The Feldenkrais Method: Teaching by Handling. Basic Health Publications.  
  • Alon, Ruthy (1996). Mindful Spontaneity: Lessons in the Feldenkrais Method. Berkeley, Calif.: North Atlantic Books U.S.  
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