THE FELDENKRAIS METHOD®

Through the first years of life, we organize our entire system in a direction which will forever after guide us in that direction... What is more important, we find ourselves capable of doing only those things that we already know.
—Moshe Feldenkrais, D.Sc., founder of the Feldenkrais Method®

Moshe Feldenkrais, 1904-1984

The Feldenkrais Method is named after the distinguished scientist and educator Moshe Feldenkrais, 1904-1984. Dr. Feldenkrais earned his doctorate in Physics at the Sorbonne and later was an associate to the Nobel Prize laureate Frederic Joliot-Curie in Paris. He was also the first European to earn a black belt in judo and is credited with introducing the sport to the West. Upon suffering a serious knee injury, Feldenkrais was faced with a 50 percent chance for recovery and the possibility of confinement to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

Unsatisfied with the prognosis and conventional treatments available, he embarked on exploring new relationships between the mind and body to improve physical movement and function. For 40 years, Feldenkrais developed an ingenious method for effective neuromuscular reeducation. He shared this special knowledge among a select group of students worldwide.

Feldenkrais focuses on function rather than form and does not have a goal of attaining an ideal body type or physical construction. The Feldenkrais Method is intended to improve the sensibility, awareness and quality of movement through one’s own body feedback rather than teaching predefined or static forms. Most people have difficulty feeling their body and try to move better without improving their sensory skills. This has absolute limitations. A musician can’t play music unless they can feel and hear the music and make fine distinctions. Feldenkrais does not have a goal to achieve “correct” positions as with yoga, but rather seeks to develop a more dexterous, painless and efficient body in motion.
Feldenkrais is not intended to cure disease or disabilities. Instead, the Feldenkrais Method is an effective way to learn about and improve physical limitations through freedom of movement. Because the Feldenkrais Method provides relief from many ailments caused by various neurological or physical disorders, Feldenkrais enhances the quality of living. To see a list of some of the therapeutic applications for Feldenkrais, click here.
Feldenkrais techniques are widely used in physical therapy and occupational therapy. From common problems such as muscle injuries, back pain and arthritis, to more complex cases involving learning disabilites, pediatrics and gerontology, the method offers a highly effective form of co-therapy. Sports medicine and nursing are also discovering many remarkable benefits for their patients.
Learning through movement Feldenkrais is relatively new. It has only existed for 50 years since Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984) originated the method and began teaching it directly to a small number of students, including Frank Wildman, PhD. Today, the Feldenkrais Movement Institute has steadily increased awareness of The Feldenkrais Method through its certification training programs and workshops offered in the United States, Europe and Australia.

On its basic level, the Feldenkrais Method improves posture, coordination, flexibility and suppleness. Moreover, Feldenkrais alleviates pain by minimizing physiological and psychological stress associated with restricted functions. Patterns of inefficiency, compromised self-expression, and forgotten ways of feeling can all be improved.

The positive integration of the mind and body through the Feldenkrais Method enables people to live more comfortable and rewarding lives. With improved efficiency comes greater enjoyment and pleasure in daily living. Ordinary problems associated with the work place or caused by aging are remedied. Persons with orthopedic or neurological problems experience wonderful therapeutic benefits. Meanwhile athletes, actors, dancers and musicians substantially improve their performance skills through the Feldenkrais Method.

Feldenkrais has far-ranging applications in biomechanics and neuromuscular function. It addresses the goal to achieve more efficient movement as well as the desire to alleviate pain. Therapeutic uses include many common disorders, recovery from injury and problems associated with aging. In this regard, it is as much about improving the condition of one’s life as it is the body. Changing the way we think about these subjects is the first step toward unlocking the benefits of healthier movement.

Today, Dr. Feldenkrais’s teachings are recognized as a dynamic methodolgy to improve neuromuscular control and biomechanical efficiency. There are nearly 3000 certified practitioners of The Feldenkrais Method worldwide. The largest number have been trained by the Feldenkrais Movement Institute of Berkeley, CA, under the direction of Frank Wildman, PhD.

The Feldenkrais Movement Institute training programs are certified by the Feldenkrais Guild of North America. The institute provides the two parallel forms of classes known as Awareness Through Movement®and Functional Integration®. Students who complete the curriculum are entitled to all rights and privileges granted by an approved Feldenkrais training program.