Through deep application of learning theory and principles of Neuroplasticity, as well as recognizing many basic functions of general system theory, we help the student and their nervous system to find improved ways to function.
What is unique about the Feldenkrais Method?
Two ways that I find that a practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method is different from other approaches are the practitioner's thinking, and their touch:
- the practitioner's thinking/approach: a practitioner will look at the student's way of functioning, looking for patterns of less functioning and better functioning. This is done visually, and also through touch. The practitioner looks at movements in terms of total body movement and thinks about various ways that a similar function can be done, some more globally, some more precisely (which is the overall goal). Then the practitioner will invite the person to follow a process to find a way to act with more precision, less effort, and more elegance.
- For example:
Sit comfortably in a chair with your feet flat on the floor.
- Turn your head to the right without forcing it. Notice how far you turn. Return back to the center. Repeat, confirming for yourself your comfortable range of movement.
- Take your left hand and put it on your neck just below the right ear. Press or squeeze the big muscle below your ear (the sternocleidomastoid) on the right side with the left fingers to limit its action.
- Breathe out while slowly turning your head to right toward your hand and then to the left. Repeat 2-3 times.
- Drop your hand and turn to the right. Notice the change in range of rotation.
- Bring your left hand up and again hold the muscle. This time, as you breathe out and turn your head, keep your eyes to the front. Repeat 2-3 times
- Drop your hand and turn to the right again. Notice the further increase in range of rotation.
Change sides and repeat. Is the change the same on both sides?
- The practitioner's touch. Practitioners pay particular attention to the quality of their touch, for the intention is for touch to be informative, for both the practitioner and the student. The informative aspect could be asking questions such as, "how tight is this muscle, and can you sense the degree of tonus?" or, "Can this bone move easily in this direction?" or "Is it safe for this limb?" or, "How could this limb experience safety?"
What is your personal experience with the Feldenkrais Method?
I had my first experiences in 1981, and was so intrigued, I kept contact, finally starting a 4-year training from 1987-1991. I do Feldenkrais-related activities every day. The perspective infuses my daily activities.
Why do you practice it?
I find it to be the most meaningful activity that I can engage in. It helps me resolve any number of musculo-skeletal challenges; the associated metaphors are meaningful in my personal psychology and also with groups. It is an excellent precursor to all physical activities, as well as helping in spiritual practices, whatever it may be.
What can patients expect in their treatment?
"Treatment" can be either group classes, or one-on-one sessions. The one-on-one sessions use more the special Feldenkrais touch and thus have more direct results. However, the group sessions called "Awareness Through Movement" allow the student to experience themselves in a different way, and as many are recorded, the student cn go back to the lesson to deepen their learning.
Can Feldenkrais address specific ailments?
I have a list of some of the essential aspects of living that are addressed by the Feldenkrais Method. Click here to read them.
Many articles have been written about the Method with specific ailments. Some are referenced on the Feldenkrais.com site (click here). I also compiled a list of some on my website (click here)
Are there any misconceptions about Feldenkrais Method?
Most people try to categorize the Feldenkrais Method in categories related to Physiotherapy or Massage, or within conceptual frameworks that are used by these disciplines. Others try to categorize the Method within a reductionistic Medical model (such as, "Use treatment protocol 'x' for diagnosis 'y'"). Still others try to define the Method within a Physical Education/Kinesiology model. There are certain aspects of the Method that informs these area, but it is a much larger framework.
The Feldenkrais Method is a new paradigm, with which many helping services/treatments find resonance. It is a bit like the story of the four blind academics positioned at each leg of an elephant trying to describe what they have encountered. Each description is perhaps accurate to that leg, but no overall "elephantness" is achieved. Thus the Feldenkrais Method is still unique, after 50 years of practice.