The Feldenkrais Method
The Feldenkrais Method® is a unique and sophisticated approach to human understanding, learning and change. The effectiveness of the Feldenkrais Method® lies in its ability to access the nervous system’s own innate processes to change and refine functioning. It is of benefit to everyone wishing to move and lie more comfortably, and to such diverse groups of people as those with restricted movement, chronic pain, psychological and neurological problems, performing artists and athletes.
Through personal experience we adopt patterns of physical and psychological behavior to assure our biological and social survival. These patterns are deeply embedded in our nervous system and often become outmoded or dysfunctional. The Feldenkrais Method® utilizes functionally based variation, innovation and differentiation in sensory motor activity to free us from habitual patterns and allow for new patterns of thinking, moving and feeling to emerge. Movement is utilized to explore the biological as well as the cultural aspects of attention, intention and cognition and to delve deeply into how human development, learning and movement interrelate.
The Feldenkrais Method® is an unusual melding of motor development, biomechanics, psychology and martial arts. It was developed by Moshé Feldenkrais, D.Sc., who synthesized insights from physics, motor development, bio-mechanics, psychology, and martial arts to develop a powerful, effective, and practical application, demonstrating the inseparableness of thought, feeling, perception and action. It is recognized for its demonstrated ability to improve posture, flexibility, coordination, self-image and to alleviate muscular tension and pain. It consists of two compelling and versatile applications: Awareness Through Movement® and Functional Integration® modalities harness the nervous system’s ability to self-organize towards more effective and intelligent action.
Awareness Through Movement®
Awareness Through Movement® (ATM) consists of verbally directed, gentle exercise lessons involving sophisticated movement sequences. The lessons directly engage our natural intelligence in a gentle and pleasurable way. ATM accesses the sensory motor processes of the brain and involves attention, perception, imagination and cognition. There are hundreds of lessons, addressing every joint and muscle group in the body and every human function.
Functional Integration® (FI) is a one-to-one approach to working with people. Learning, change and improvement are achieved through the use of specific skilled manipulation and passive movement. Functional Integration® is painless, effective and widely recognized for its ability to successfully address serious muscular-skeletal and neurological problems.
Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, D.Sc., (1904-1984) was a distinguished scientist, physicist and engineer. He earned his D.Sc. in Physics from the Sorbonne and was a close associate of Nobel Prize Laureate Frederic Joliot-Curie at the Curie Institute in Paris, where they conducted research together.
He was also a respected Judo instructor and author of many books on the subject. Living in England in the 1940s, Feldenkrais found himself unable to walk after suffering a serious injury. He began an intense exploration into the relationship between bodily movement and healing, feeling, thinking, and learning. As a result, he restored his ability to walk and made revolutionary discoveries, culminating in the development of the method that now bears his name.
Before he passed away in 1984, in Tel-Aviv, Israel, Feldenkrais personally trained a small group of practitioners to continue his work. Today there are nearly 4,000 Feldenkrais® Practitioners around the globe. His insights contributed to the development of the new field of somatic education and continue to influence disciplines such as the arts, education, psychology, child development, physical and occupational therapy, sports enhancement and gerontology.
Books in English by Moshe Feldenkrais:
- The Potent Self. Berkeley, CA: Frog Press/Somatic Resources, 1985, 2002
- The Master Moves. Cupertino, CA: Meta Publications, 1984.
- The Elusive Obvious. Cupertino, CA: Meta Publications, 1981.
- Body Awareness as Healing Therapy: The Case of Nora. Berkeley, CA: Frog Press/Somatic Resources, 1977, 1994.
- Awareness Through Movement: Health Exercises for Personal Growth. New York: Harper Collins, 1972.
- Higher Judo: Groundwork. New York: Frederick Warne & Co., 1952.
- Body and Mature Behavior: A Study in Anxiety, Sex, Gravitation and Learning. Berkeley, CA: Frog Press/Somatic Resources, 1950, 1980, 2005.
- Judo: The Art of Defense and Attack. New York: Frederick Warne & Co., 1944, 1967. Out of Print*
*All books listed above are available from Feldenkrais® Resources, except for Judo: The Art of Defense and Attack.