What is Feldenkrais?
Feldenkrais is a method of movement re-education. The work is gentle yet precise in the way that it stimulates change in the nervous system, improving ease of movement and coordination in the body. Feldenkrais provides a means of altering unconscious, dysfunctional patterns which cause the body to work against itself.
What is the Origin of the Method?
The Feldenkrais Method was developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984). Engineer, physicist and Judo instructor Moshe Feldenkrais was one of the foremost pioneers in somatic education. It was in this relationship between bodily movement and the ways we think, feel and learn that Feldenkrais made revolutionary discoveries. He applied the rigour of his scientific training and his understanding of the martial arts to the study of human learning and to our capacity to relearn the way in which we function.
There are Two Approaches to The Feldenkrais Method:
In these individual sessions the practitioner utilizes gentle touch, movement, verbal directions as well as support and movement of the limbs and torso in order to release restrictions and to offer the body alternatives to chronic muscle contraction, or ‘holding patterns’, which create pain and limit mobility. A session is tailored to specific needs and is about an hour long. Because these sessions `teach’ the nervous system, changes often continue to take place over a period of days.
Awareness Through Movement
For information on classes in Halifax Nova Scotia go to: http://kinesophics.ca/feldenkrais_2013/
In this group approach the lessons are verbally directed and each class develops a different function. Through attentive repetitions of simple movements, undesirable patterns of muscle tension are ‘unlearned’. In working with one’s kinesthetic awareness within the range of comfort, flexibility is increased, not through stretching, but through exploring alternatives and increasing one’s consciousness of how the body works. By engaging the whole organism – the nervous system, the musculature, and the skeleton – in harmonious and focused movement, the exercises become easy and pleasurable.
Applications of the method
The Feldenkrais Method is practiced in many countries around the world. The method is used in clinics and in teaching institutions by health practitioners, psychologists and educators. Feldenkrais is a part of the curriculum of many physiotherapy training programs and there is a Feldenkrais Clinic in The Ottawa General Hospital. This method is also widely used by actors, dancers, musicians, and athletes. Feldenkrais is effective in dealing with trauma as the stimulation takes place below our usual threshold of discomfort and awareness. It thereby avoids evoking the body’s habitual defence mechanisms which are resistant to change.
Who would benefit from The Feldenkrais Method?
Feldenkrais would be of interest to anybody wishing to learn to use their body with greater ease and mobility, and specifically to those with posture or movement diffculites or those experiencing muscular-skeletal pain. The method can be helpful at any age. Kelly has worked with clients or students aged 8 months to 80 years. Feldenkrais promotes change in chronic tension patterns caused by long term stress or injury. Feldenkrais is effective in relieving muscular-skeletal, and neuro-muscular pain, and in improving movement dysfunction. Feldenkrais promotes relaxation and is a useful tool in stress management. Feldenkrais facilitates better muscle balance and a more relaxed and aligned posture.
“Feldenkrais has studied the body in movement with a precision that I have found nowhere else.” — Peter Brook, Film and Stage Director
“This is the most sophisticated and effective method I have ever seen for the prevention and reversal of deteriorization of function.” — Margaret Mead, Ph.D., Anthropologist