The Feldenkrais Method®
How can the Feldenkrais Method® nourish your soul?
The Feldenkrais Method® guides a person towards more effective action, posture and breathing through gentle movements. A non-invasive modality, it involves being assisted through a series of movements to explore which is the most effortless or efficient in order to shift unhealthy movement habits. The instructions or touch aim to improve balance, cognition, coordination and flexibility.
The belief behind this method is that when we change our movements we can enhance our emotional regulation and mental capabilities. The movement patterns can be learnt in group classes where participants are taught mindful movements which often involve actions from daily life to promote strength and flexibility. Private sessions can assist a deeper practice, where practitioners use non-invasive touching to help the participant explore new, personal movement possibilities.
This system was devised by Russian scientist and black belt Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais in the 1960s. In order to overcome a chronic knee injury, Dr. Feldenkrais combined his knowledge of physics, body mechanics, neurology, learning theory and psychology to create an innovative system of mind-body integration.
A qualified Feldenkrais practitioner must complete three to four years of training and are held to internationally recognised training standards, and required to maintain certification by fulfilling annual education and professional practice requirements.
Benefits of the Feldenkrais Method®
The aim of The Feldenkrais Method® is to enhance awareness, movement and overall wellbeing for a more fulfilling life.
The modality has some high-profile advocates who found it eased pain, supported rehabilitation and improved performance.
Studies suggest the Feldenkrais Method® may benefit a variety of issues. These range from improving physical conditions such balance and mobility for the elderly or in people with Parkinson’s disease, to assisting with perceptions of poor body image. One study also found that using the Feldenkrais Method® to apply touch engaged brain activity in participants.
The Feldenkrais Method® may assist in relieving symptoms related to:
- Back pain
- Balance, stability and coordination
- Flexibility, endurance and strength
- Mobility and movement
- Muscle spasm, tightness and cramps
- Neck pain
- Nervous system and neurological conditions
- Posture and spine issues
- Sports injuries
- Sprains, strains and ligament injuries
- Stress and tension
What to expect from a Feldenkrais Method® session
The two types of Feldenkrais Method® sessions are guided exercises (Awareness Through Movement®) and manual bodywork (Functional Integration®). Both are practiced fully clothed and take 30 to 60 minutes depending on the practitioner.
Awareness Through Movement® classes typically involve participants being led through slow, mindful movements that emulate actions in everyday life. These could be activities such as working on posture and gait, or the safe lifting of objects. The instructor guides you through easy sequences of thinking, sensing, moving and imagining. These aim to increase awareness to adapt the most effective movements and posture.
Functional Integration® entails the Feldenkrais practitioner instructing you to explore movements either verbally or through gentle touch. You may either lie down, sit or stand for these solo sessions.
As with any exercise or wellness program, please consult your medical professional before commencing The Feldenkrais Method®. If you have any concerns at all, also speak to your therapist, who will be happy to address these and evaluate whether The Feldenkrais Method® is a suitable treatment for you.