Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Feldenkrais Method® of Somatic Education?
The Feldenkrais Method is a form of somatic education that uses gentle movement and directed attention to improve how you move. With this Method, you can increase your range of motion, improve your power, flexibility and coordination, and rediscover your innate capacity for graceful, efficient movement. Students become aware of their habitual patterns of thought and movement, and then learn to move in new, more efficient, and often less painful ways. More information can be found at www.feldenkrais.com.
Who Benefits from the Feldenkrais Method?
Anyone can benefit from the Method. The Feldenkrais Method helps those experiencing chronic or acute pain, as well as healthy or athletic individuals who wish to enhance their power, speed, coordination and/or flexibility. The Method has been very helpful in dealing with central nervous system conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and stroke. Through movement linked with awareness, musicians, actors, designers and artists can extend and enhance their skills and creativity. Seniors enjoy using it to retain or regain their ability to move without strain or discomfort.
What Happens in a Feldenkrais Method Session?
In group Awareness Through Movement® lessons, the teacher verbally leads a class through a sequence of movements in basic positions: sitting or lying on the floor, standing, or sitting in a chair. By moving with increasing awareness, you will discover your habitual patterns of movement and thoughts, and develop new alternatives. There are hundreds of lessons, varying in difficulty and complexity, for all levels of movement ability. A lesson generally lasts from 45 to 60 minutes.
Private, one-on-one Feldenkrais lessons, called Functional Integration® lessons, are tailored to each student’s individual learning needs. The teacher guides your movements through gentle touch and words. The student is fully clothed, lying on a table or the floor, or in a sitting or standing position. At times, various props (pillows, rollers, blankets) are used in an effort to support the student, or to facilitate certain movements. The learning process is carried out without the use of invasive or forceful procedures.
How Does Feldenkrais Differ from Massage or Chiropractic?
While all of these practices touch people, the Feldenkrais Method is unique. In massage, the practitioner is working directly with the muscles, in chiropractic, with the bones. These are structural approaches that affect change through changes in structure (muscles and spine). The Feldenkrais Method works with your ability to regulate and coordinate your movement, which means working with the nervous system and the whole person.
How Does Feldenkrais Differ from Yoga or Pilates?
Awareness Through Movement classes are similar to yoga or Pilates classes in that they are group classes lead verbally by an instructor. However, Feldenkrais is a self-education modality and the classes are lessons rather than exercises. Each lesson is designed for you to learn more about how you do things, and discover new, easier, more efficient or effective ways of doing them. What you discover is thus, uniquely your own.
Who was Moshe Feldenkrais?
Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984) was an accomplished physicist and Judo expert who escaped the Nazi occupation of France and worked for the British military doing anti-submarine research during WWII. In addition to his scientific work, he taught Judo and self-defense classes. Injuries to both knees led him to develop what is now known as the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education. Click here for a concise bio.
How are Feldenkrais Practitioners Trained?
All Feldenkrais practitioners must complete at least 800 hours of training over a 4 year period. Newtonian mechanics, kinesthesiology, physics, neurophysiology, movement development, biology, non-violent communication and learning theories are all presented within the training program.
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