The Feldenkrais Method is a form of somatic education developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais. It uses gentle movement and directed attention to improve function, to enhance one’s ability to think and move in domains in which one wants optimal or enhanced performance. It is especially beneficial for those with high quality performance demands and for those whose performance may be impaired because of particular health conditions. The Feldenkrais Method has benefited people with a wide range of neuromuscular conditions–from cerebral palsy, stroke, multiple sclerosis and dystonia to repetitive stress injuries (RSI), chronic back pain, scoliosis, Temporal Mandibular Joint (TMJ) pain, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) and other conditions. Actors, musicians, singers, conductors, athletes and other high performers also use the method to improve and refine their performances.
Feldenkrais ® work is done in two formats:
GROUP CLASSES, called AWARENESS THROUGH MOVEMENT ®, the Feldenkrais teacher verbally leads you through a sequence of movements in basic positions: sitting or lying on the floor, standing, or sitting in a chair.Each movement lesson addresses a functional movement skill. These lessons bring about enhanced awareness and expansion of movement patterns, greater mobility and flexibility, fuller breathing, more freedom and choices in movement and an increased sense of well being.
PRIVATE ONE-ON-ONE Feldenkrais lessons, called FUNCTIONAL INTEGRATION ®, are tailored to each student’s individual learning needs; In a typical Functional Integration session, you lie or sit fully clothed on a low table while the practitioner touches and moves you in gentle, non-invasive touch. All lessons are designed for step by step improvement in movement abilities. The intent of this touch is to explore your neuromuscular organization – the way in which you respond to touch and movement – and to have tactile communication with your central nervous system about how movement is directed and controlled. You learn to reorganize your neurophysiology in new and expanded functional motor patterns that result in improved movement.
Practitioners of Feldenkrais use small gentle movements. These are given either by verbal instruction or through gentle, non-invasive touch. The method helps students explore and develop self-awareness and intentional control. The method focuses on the central organization of movement—the image in the motor cortex of the body in movement. The teacher presents some novel stimuli which the student then explores and attempts to incorporate into an action image. This is done without the intention of a particular outcome. Thus the student is free to explore the sensory images and motor responses without forcing a particular type of response. Students develop a clearer image of how movement is controlled and performed. In this way it is possible to change old movement patterns and learn new ones. Because the work engages the student in a cognitive, sensory way, it gives the student the means to take charge of his or her own care and self-improvement.