The Feldenkrais Method®
Body and mind are indivisible -- the tangible and intangible aspects of your experience. Integrated functioning requires self-awareness -- internal understanding of who you are and how you use yourself. The Feldenkrais Method uses gentle movement and directed attention to facilitate self-awareness, activating your inherent capabilities for self-healing and transformation.
You live at a fraction of your full potential. This is as true for the athlete or performing artist as for someone limited by stroke or cerebral palsy, and for everyone in between. The Feldenkrais Method works with your nervous system to help you to gain access to more of your underlying potential -- to enhance well-being, improve flexibility in all aspects of life, and to become the person you really can be.
Who Can Benefit
Everyone can benefit from the improved self-awareness and increased functional efficiency the Feldenkrais Method makes possible. Many come to the Method as a form of self-exploration, to know themselves better and to enhance their general well-being. Others come to find better ways of dealing with specific problems, including
- neuromuscular disorders such as stroke, cerebral palsy, or spinal injury.
- back, neck, or other muscular-skeletal problems, including chronic stiffness and pain.
- stress -- such as that resulting from job pressures, childhood abuse or other emotional trauma, or the stress of day-to-day living
The Feldenkrais Method does not "treat" these conditions in a medical sense. Rather, it helps you to discover better ways of responding to them. The dysfunction and discomfort you associate with such conditions often result as much from your response to the condition as from the condition itself. Learning a new response can lead to greater ease and comfort than you previously experienced. (I discuss this idea in my tape "A Feldenkrais Perspective on Human Limitation", and in my article "An overview of the Feldenkrais Method").
The Method is taught in two formats -- group classes and workshops in Awareness Through Movement® and individual lessons in Functional Integration®.
In Awareness Through Movement you are guided through gentle non-strenuous movement sequences, lying on the floor out of the field of gravity. Attentive repetition of these gentle movements helps you to discover how to move more comfortably and efficiently. Students often experience rapid improvements in posture, lightness of movement, and freedom from chronic discomforts.
Turning your head with ease is a simple Awareness Through Movement lesson you can do at your computer. It takes 15-20 minutes to complete.
My Awareness Through Movement Tapes contain other lessons on audiotape. ATM Tapes and RSI discusses the relevance of these tapes and some of the articles available on this website to people with repetitive stress injury.
In Functional Integration the teaching is done primarily through touch rather than verbal direction. As you lie on a low table wearing loose, comfortable clothing, the practitioner gently shows you new patterns of neuromuscular organization and movement -- allowing the unbalanced to become balanced, the disordered, ordered. Each lesson is adapted to your specific needs; there is no set sequence or number of lessons. For more information on Functional Integration, see my article "The Process of Functional Integration").
As human beings we possess an enormous capacity for self-correction and self-improvement. The Feldenkrais Method can help you utilize that capacity to reduce the effects of physical or emotional stress; to rediscover good body use after traumatic injury or chronic disability; to increase the efficiency of your movement in athletics, dance or music as well as in daily life, and to live your unrealized dreams.
Results vary with each individual. Improvements in posture and in range and ease of motion are common. Many people are able to reduce tension and live calmer, more relaxed lives. Chronic discomfort and pain may lessen, sometimes disappearing entirely. Those with limiting conditions such as stroke or cerebral palsy may find their limitations reduced, as they learn to function more efficiently in spite of those conditions. The lessons learned can generalize, leading to enhanced flexibility in all areas of life.
Benefits are usually apparent quickly, so that you can generally tell after a few lessons if the Method is working for you.